Monday, January 31, 2011

It's About Time

This weekend I decided to ignore my messy kitchen and forget about the toy explosion in the living room.  Instead, I've been working on the wingback chair I found on craigslist.  I had been holding off on starting the project because I wanted the office to be completed so I could work in a peaceful, toy-free, kid-free environment.  With staples, tools, and tacks flying everywhere, it's really not a great place for kids.  Once they were sleeping the party started!

Doug graciously offered to be my assistant this weekend.  We started by measuring every piece before the chair stripping began.  I handed Doug my cloth tape measure-- he took it with some apprehension.  I guess it's not as manly as the tape measures he's used to using.  But by the end of the night he was throwing it around his neck and talking about how much the guys on the job site would love it (although I don't think he took it with him this morning).  I put up with his antics because he really is the best person for the job.  As Doug measured away (very precisely-- let me tell you)  I recorded the measurements of each piece so that I will have an accurate idea of how much fabric to purchase for the chair.  I'm a rookie at this, so I am not about to guess at how much to order-- better to be safe than sorry!

Next step-- picture taking.  I pulled out my camera and took detailed pictures of how the chair is put together-- every seam, tuft, and tuck has been thoroughly photographed.

And as the pieces came off, I kept taking pictures and took detailed notes to document how it was put together.  Doug did a great job as my assistant.  When my hand and shoulder grew weary of staple removal-- he took over with much enthusiasm.

Up next-- finish stripping the chair (I figure it's about half done), calculate how much fabric I'll need and then make a decision on what to order!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mixing it Up

Today we pulled out one of my favorites... the cute little plaid number (previously seen here).

We decided to switch it up a bit with some ruffle bottom tights.

And now we're wearing this...  Hooray for Sunday nap time!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wide Eyed and Mystified

Just like her Mama... in Home Sense.

In other news, this blog really needs a makeover.  Who even titles their blog "Our House" anyways?  How's that for original?  I've been tinkering with the blog design... sure hope I don't do something I'll regret... and can't undo!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Now we're looking better...

The work in the office is officially done!  Over the weekend we moved all of our junk back in.  These bookcases are quite the upgrade from what we had in here before!  (see here)  I've spent the last few afternoons in the office staring at the bookcases, moving things around-- basically trying to make our not so attractive books and office stuff look as pretty as possible.  After a bit of shuffling and re-organizing (and hiding the really ugly books and picture albums) it looks alright.

The bead board wainscoting is painted and makes that crazy half-wall looks 10 times better than it did before.

Now let's get up close and personal with those bookcases.

As you can see, Billy got a bit of an upgrade.

The ugliest books of all have been stashed in the baskets.  Sometimes I wonder why I don't get rid of those old, ugly, outdated, and for the most part useless textbooks.  When I say useless-- I mean today and also 10 years ago.  But then I remember how much money I spent on those crazy books.  That's why they're still on the shelf.

As you can see here, we put three of the Ikea Billy bookcases together and then trimmed them all out in MDF strips cut to size.  Once it was all sanded and painted it looked like one unit-- not three.

And the bead board on the back instead of the cardboard panels looks so much better.  Gotta love the cardboard tri-fold...  good try Ikea.  Good try.

Doug had to customize the last bookcase so that it would fit around the bumped out wall.  He also made a few adjustments that allow us to hide our router and wireless modem on one of the shelves-- I think that's what they're called.  I really have no idea what they do-- all I know is that I'm not supposed to touch them.  What I do know is that I hate the way the look (all those cords and flashing lights drive me crazy) so I'm currently hiding them behind the picture until I can think of a better solution.

And on the other side of the room is my desk!  Finally, it's back where it belongs.  Let me take a minute to tell you about my great deal of a desk (because that's what us ladies like to do-- find great deals and tell everyone we know about them).  I found it in Pier One a couple of years ago-- regularly $699-- but the floor model was on sale for $150.  Why?  Because the drawer front was cracked.  I showed it to Doug, he assured me that it was fixable, so we brought it home!  All it took was a bit of glue, a couple of clamps, and one of those stain pens and the desk looks as good as new.

I have an entire blank wall that needs some sort of artwork.  I have no idea what I'll do with it yet.  In the meantime, I framed one of Caleb's paintings in a frame I found in the clearance bin at Home Sense.  I actually think it looks pretty great.

The far wall also needs some help as you can see.  And I'm on the hunt for the perfect area rug.  That closet is also crying out for an organizational makeover.  Doug, please build me some custom shelves like you did here!

And the window also need some help.  I'm currently working on some curtains that might work-- the built out half wall might make the floor length drapes look funny... if they don't work in the office I'm sure they'll work on some other window.

So, in summary:

Bookcases look good.
I have ugly textbooks.
My desk was cheap.
Caleb in an aspiring artist. At least him Mom thinks so.
Area rug needed.
Too much wall-- not enough art.
Please Doug, help the closet!!
And curtains, what to do...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Prepare yourself for a Wii-diculous post

Don't tell me I didn't warn you.

Here's a little recap of our weekend.  It was Wii-eally exciting.

1.  I taught Caleb how to use the computer.  He has 2 bookmarked tabs with games that he can play (CBC kids and Boowa & Kwala).  He's quite excited about it.  At first I was going to hook up our wireless mouse for him to use, but then I remembered how experienced he is with our ipod.  It can still be a bit tricky for him, but he's picking it up quickly!!

It takes EXTREME concentration for him to move the arrow across the screen...

Doug and I took the kids to Red Robins for dinner.
We were extremely disappointed to discover that they no longer have Dr. Pepper on their menu.

The boys took in the bike show this weekend.
For some reason this picture scares me just a little bit.

Progress was made in our bathroom.  Doug put up a new toilet paper holder (the old one fell off since the previous owners had only screwed it into drywall).  He called me into the room to see it.  I was very excited.  Actually, I shouted: "it's BEAUTIFUL!!!!".  Bet you didn't think you would ever be reading about something like this on a blog.  Ever.  

As of this weekend our downstairs office is FINALLY finished!  Those bookcases were a real pain.  Literally.  I learned a pretty tough lesson last week-- I should never attempt a painting project on my own.  I was getting really anxious to have it finished, so I put the kids down for their naps and spent a few hours painting one afternoon.  Usually I'll just help Doug with the painting by doing the taping and by working on the baseboards-- anything that doesn't require me to lift my left arm above shoulder height.  But that afternoon I was so desperate to get it finished that I pushed myself a bit too far.  The next day I could barely lift my left arm-- and it was like that for THREE days.  Never again.  Doug finished things up in the room over the weekend and we started to move our stuff back in.  More pictures to come shortly!

As you may have guessed, we bought a Wii for the kids... and Doug.  We took some of the kid's Christmas money, emptied Caleb's piggy bank (he takes all the pop cans to be recycled with Doug and gets to keep the money) and headed out to Walmart to pick up a Wii.

In the car we told Caleb what we were about to purchase.  He seemed pretty excited.  Then we told  him that we could stop at McDonalds for a snack afterwards.  Screams of excitement, dancing, and high 5's took place.  If only we would have known that a happy meal and toy would have been sufficient.

Once at Walmart, I was quite dismayed surprised to discover that the bright red Wii was the one being put into our cart.  Apparently it's the only one that comes with the Super Mario Brothers game.

But now that it's in my living room I really don't care.
What I do care about is the fact that Caleb can beat my at golf on Wii Sports.

As I was saving the pictures used in this post to our computer I titled the album:

"Wii really need to get a life."

Friday, January 21, 2011


Happy 5 months Miss Emmy!

And now... check out the scene from this morning.
I know what you're thinking... crime scene.

We call it breakfast with blueberries around here.

Yes, my three year old still sits in his high chair on occasion.
With a mess like this, do you really blame me?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Blog Stalking Pays Off...

Like many of you, I read my friend's blogs.  I also read the blogs of complete strangers.  One of my favorite 'stranger' blogs is Aubrey & Lindsay's Blog.  I saw it featured in Style at Home a while back and decided to check it out.  I've been a faithful follower (and non-commenter) ever since.  They've got some pretty great DIY stuff going on in their house-- check out the before & after's of their basement and master bedroom.  Amazing.  So back to my blog stalking.  A while back Lindsay had a series titled Mommy Week on her blog-- and there were several awesome giveaways.  I decided to break my non-commenting streak and enter a couple of the giveaways.  And what do you know, I totally won this fabulous ERGO Baby Carrier!

Gotta love the mirror assisted photos.  Classic.  Reminds me of those pregnancy photos from a few months back.

Emerson and I have been trying it out lately, and we're loving it.  When she's in the carrier, Emerson will tilt her head way back and look up at me with this intrigued look on her face.  So cute.  I was a bit worried about how the shoulder straps would work for me (for the blog newcomers out there-- I have a pretty messed up left shoulder due to a car accident a few years back) but I find that most of Emerson's weight rests on my hips so it's been pretty comfortable for me to wear.  And the best part is... it's an adjustable carrier so Doug can use it too!

Thanks Lindsay for the awesome carrier :)

But that's not all!  Erica, a friend of mine from the good old Bethany days also had a giveaway on her blog-- first one ever.  And what do you know, I won that one too!  I scored a cute little handmade toque for Caleb.  Thank you Erica and Odd Duck Creations!

After much coercing and threatening on my part, I managed to get Caleb to stand still long enough to take this picture of him modeling his new toque last night.  It's not a great picture-- but it's not blurry and I can actually see his face.  Mission accomplished.

So there you have it folks, blog stalking totally pays off. 

Now it's back to the basement to put in my time with those crazy bookcases.
Sometimes I wonder who's winning the painting war-- me, or the bookcases?
Nope.  The kids win every time.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Non-Nap Weekend

Hey Chubby Cheeks.

Yup, she's my chubby baby.  
At her 4 month shots, Emerson weighed in at 15 lbs 12 oz.
Today she was wearing a bit of a fancy dress, so we decided to casual it up with some jegs and a cute little toque.  Look at how excited she was about her outfit.

This weekend was the non-nap weekend.  Our choice, not Caleb's-- we were out and about for most of Saturday and Sunday.   He actually asked if he could go to sleep a few times.  Funny kid.  He still naps for 2-3 hours each afternoon... I'm not about to tell him that it's abnormal for a 3 year old.

But we were busy this weekend!  While we were at home Caleb enjoyed working on his letters.

We decided to make an impromptu trip across the border for some shopping.  Caleb ate a piece of pizza that was bigger than his head.  He has a big head.  It was a very large piece of pizza.

We spent this afternoon at our friend's farm.  Caleb visited the cows.

He also got to drive a tractor.  With help.

And now we're finally home and the kids are sleeping.  Bliss.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Our Current Project

I think this is the first time I've done a post on an in-progress project!  I guess it's because I've been playing catch up for the last few months.  Well, Doug and I decided to tackle the office.  Our office is located downstairs-- it's the first downstairs room we've tackled.  This project has got to be one of the longest most drawn out project we've ever attempted.  We tore the office apart after Emerson was born and once Doug was back at work, but with two kids and busy schedules-- things tend to move a little slower.  But finally, the office is in its last stages!  I thought I'd share it with you all.

Like most people, we have lots of books and stuff that needs a spot (boxes in storage doesn't count!)  So, we decided to put in some custom bookcases.  Here they are-- in the priming/filling/sanding stages.

We put in new laminate (had a few extra boxes leftover from the upstairs reno) and installed new mouldings.

There is this awful bumped out half wall along two sides of the office that are terribly uneven.  To disguise the fact that it is really out of square we decided to cover it in bead board and cap it off with a built out ledge.  I think it's going to look awesome once it's all painted.  The half wall no longer sticks out like a sore thumb!

Here's the "before" shot.  Please excuse the blurry picture quality-- I can't blame this terrible picture on Caleb, I totally took this one myself.  The green isn't a bad color-- it just made the room feel pretty dark.  As you can see, the shelving situation has received a bit of an upgrade. 

Let me tell you,  I am SO anxious to finish up in this room so that I can move all my files back in and get organized.  The state of our files are pretty embarrassing-- especially coming from someone who once was in charge of coming up with a system of converting a entire university's paper admission files into electronic files.  Every time I have to find some sort of document I am absolutely horrified at how disorganized things are downstairs.  Once this office is done-- I will be putting an end to the chaos!

Wanna know a secret?  The built in bookcases are actually from Ikea!  I've seen people convert Ikea's Billy bookcases into built in custom-looking shelves in magazines and online-- so we thought we'd save ourselves some work and give it a try.  

They received a bit of an upgrade-- bead board on the back instead of the flimsy cardboard Ikea sells you with the bookcases, we built up the base, added a substantial header and crown moulding, the one exposed end gable received a customized panel, and we trimmed out all the joints to make it look like one unit, not three.  The jury is still out as to whether or not this was a better option than building the shelves ourselves...

Once the priming and painting is finished, I'll show you how it looks!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lego my Lego

As I've mentioned before, Caleb loves lego.  LOVES it.  He got a few new sets for Christmas and we have spent hours building trucks, planes, helicopters, tow trucks, semi's... anything and everything with wheels.  Since Christmas, however, Caleb is determined to build things all by himself.  Nowadays I am only needed to dismantle his creations so that he can rebuild them, and to help him find the odd missing piece.  If I ever try to help him put on one little piece, he rips it off and puts it back on himself.  It's actually pretty cute.  He sits in the living room for hours each morning pouring over the "restructions" (instructions) working on these masterpieces...

Yesterday he created these...

This morning he build a massive helicopter-- we lost the instruction booklet so I had to find an online version.  Gotta love lego building in the 21st century.

Emerson happily watched from the sidelines.

Here's his (almost) finished helicopter.  Each day he proudly tells me that lego is for kids who are 5 and up-- and that's he's still 3 :)

Now, if only he could figure out how to put his own clothes on in the morning... you'd think that would be a walk in the park compared to this!!