Monday, May 30, 2011

Let's see what some paint can do - after

I have a question for you, but before I get to that, take a look at the before and after pictures. Keep in mind that this is still a work in progress. The furniture keeps getting moved around, and no pictures have been hung. (Not correctly, anyway. We put one up on some existing screws, but it's way too high.)

The living room, before:

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Notice how much the yellow tone in the walls brings out the pink in the tiles, something I wasn't particularly fond of. The previous owners had a European theme going, which was done well, but it didn't go with our style or furniture.

During:

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After:

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The family room, before:

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During:

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After:

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I haven't made it to the kitchen and the dining room yet. You can see where I stopped before the kitchen on the wall on the left in the picture above. I'm really excited about both of those room, the paint and hardware should make a pretty dramatic transformation. I'll be working on those spaces this week. But first, I have to tackle this:

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What? No volunteers to help remove wallpaper? Well, at least ones that are more than 3 feet tall?

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Okay. Here is my question. For shuttered windows -- do I hang curtains over them?

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I also need to figure out what to do with this space in the living room.

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I have this couch coming (thanks, Tom!), so it could be worked into this space with the chairs somehow.

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This would be a lot easier if our couch weren't an "L" with pieces that can't stand alone. The goal is to look primarily out the windows, not at the entryway/stairs. Any ideas?

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Update - The couch has arrived, as well as a long, low dark coffee table. Also, here are some links to the completed kitchen and dining room projects.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Speech therapy, anyone?

Those of you who have met my little four year old may have noticed that he has some language delays. He's about 6 months behind his peers when it comes to pronouncing words correctly. He is reaching the language milestones in a typical progression, just half a year behind. My then two year old started exhibiting delays when we moved and had a baby within an 8 week period. I think the changes were a little too intense for him to process all at once. Heck, they were a little too intense for ME to process! My inner hermit took over and when new neighbors would knock on the door, I would hide until they gave up and went away.

I found myself debating whether or not to get him professional help. His delays seemed to be right on the border between "he'll grow out of it" and "get him some help." I got advice from people advocating both sides of the argument. But when it came down to actually making a phone call, in my gut I felt that he would do better learning at home, in a comfortable environment, from his parents. I felt like he didn't need any more change or new faces. So, I decided to see what I could do at home, and if he didn't start catching up, I'd take him to a professional.

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Thankfully, he has been catching up. Since he will be starting Kindergarten in the fall, I've been working with my son on fixing some of his remaining mispronunciations. One of the most frustrating for me has been the "L" sound. Enter Lori, a great blogger who happens to also be a speech pathologist. I chatted with her a few times and received some great advice on how to help my little guy work through his delays.

Lori recently set up a website devoted to teaching the average mom the tricks of her trade with clarity and humor. I learn something new every time I visit her site, Your Child Talking.

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It has been incredibly helpful to see an explanation of why my child makes the sounds he does, the mechanics of how to make the right sound, and ways to teach it to him. A couple of weeks ago, something wonderful happened. My son started correcting himself.

"Mom, I want a wollypop... luh... luh... lollypop."

(Which I didn't give to him, for the record. But before you think I'm too mean, I didn't give him a lollypop because he had already consumed an entire bag of Skittles.)

He has been correcting himself ever since, and more often than not, he now says "L" the right way. Thank you, Lori!!

Now that we have once again moved a 2 year old boy into a new home, I'm anticipating the possibility of my youngest having some delays as well. But this time, I am prepared.

If you happen to have a child with a speech issue and find yourself debating whether or not he needs professional help, I highly recommend that you check out Your Child Talking. If nothing else, it will help you make the decision, make you laugh, and teach you a few tricks along the way.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Letting Go

Sometimes I can only see the end in hindsight. I look back and realize that it's been years since I've seen a particular face or walked into a familiar space. When the memory of the last time I saw that person or place hits, I accept that it was most likely a goodbye viewing that may never happen again. Like all those "stay cool, keep in touch, see ya around" entries scribbled onto the pages of my senior yearbook from friends that I never did see again.

At other times, I know that the end is coming before it happens.

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I've spent a lot of hours cleaning up and clearing out the house we lived in for the past two years. As I pack up each room, I can't help but think of all of the events that happened in those spaces.

This is the house that my husband rented for us when he got this job two years ago, an unbelievable upgrade from our small two bedroom dwelling of the previous nine or so years. He was so excited to show me our home for the first time. I was, too.

He had gone to the house a few hours ahead of me to unload the truck. I followed him up that evening, leaning forward in my seat in an attempt to read the little green street signs in the darkness. It's amazing how just one wrong turn could take me so completely off course. But I found the house eventually. Every light was on, and people were walking in and out of the glowing front entryway with large boxes in their arms.

My husband and I met each other with huge grins. The kids piled out of the car and proceeded to run around the house in excitement. Life was good!

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This is the house where my daughter, my oldest, stared school.

I had a great time decorating these spaces.

This is the house where I muddled through some long, painful, lonely times. Yes, Jillian Michaels, I'm glaring at you!!

This is the house where my youngest was born.

This is the house where I ate at a Sonic for the very first time, in an attempt to see what all the hoopla was regarding those cherry limeades. But really, it was the availability of diet Dr. Pepper that sold me. Oh, and the mozzarella sticks.

This is the house where my blog was created. Somehow, in all of the recent commotion, I failed to realize that my two year blogaversary was two weeks ago.

I'm sorry, blog. I didn't mean to forget.

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It surprises me that I have as much emotional attachment to this place as I do to our old apartment, considering how much less time I spent here. But I had a really hard time closing the door as I left this weekend. How is it possible that I will never again walk down those halls that I have become so familiar with, that I learned to navigate in the middle of the night when responding to a crying child? Will I truly never set the table there again, or celebrate another holiday? Not to mention the friends I'm leaving behind!!

It feels like I'm on vacation here at the new house, and at some point, I'll be returning home.

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But I just came from home, and it's empty and lonely there.

As the day wore on and the to-do list at the old house shrank, I couldn't stop thinking about the inevitability of the end. I felt a strong desire to stay there. My lonely house needed a friend. But my family and a new house were waiting for me. I had to break it off with the old place.

Goodbye, house. I'll miss you. I hope you find a new friend soon.

See ya around, stay cool! Keep in touch!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cool news, pork lovers!

In case you haven't heard, the USDA has reduced the recommended cooking temperature of pork to 145°.

Sweet!

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While I'm unpacking boxes today, I'm gonna pop a pork roast in the oven and enjoy it the way it was meant to be experienced, with a little bit of pink and juicy.

Okay, so really I'm going to pile the kids in the car and find a drive-thru, since I can't seem to make anything in the kitchen yet without burning it while frantically searching through every drawer and cupboard in an attempt to find where I put away that one thing I need.

You should have seen my "softened" onions last night. Sigh.

But maybe tomorrow I'll be brave enough to attempt to cook again. I've got to get back in there; I've got a Wookie Cookie recipe to share, for all of those cooky cook book lovers/Star Wars fans out there. I've also got some incredibly nice new neighbors that deserve something in return for these:

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Awww, so kind!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Keeping it real - the scene from the other side...

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The rest of the house looks like this. Or worse. I'm thinking I don't REALLY need the stuff in all those boxes in the garage, do I?

We're gonna have to do something about the long, exposing windows on both sides of the front door. They make it hard to effectively run and hide when someone knocks.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Scene from a partially finished living room

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Someone needs to tell that mom "no shoes on the couch!"

Things have been a little crazy here. But progress is being made, kids have new friends, the kitchen has things in the cupboards, and there's ice cream in the freezer.

Life is good!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Let's see what some paint can do - before

We're in!! And now, it's time to do some major renovations. Or, more realistically, I'll slap some paint on the walls while my husband salivates for the next 5 years over the possibility of putting a movie room in the attic.

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While he's figuring out how to build stairs, I've got some wallpaper to take down, and some paint to put up. The look I'm going for is a little less yellow and a little more sharkey gray. Here are some before shots.

Living room:


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We'll put the dining room in the space off the living room there, the one that currently has red wallpaper.

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My vision for the dining room is light walls, hard wood floors, and a fabulous chandelier in lieu of the ceiling fan.

Family room:

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And here's what they look like now:

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Here's me, sporting my own plastic covering:

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Awesome. :)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

"Honey, could you take a picture of the kids in their Easter clothes?"

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