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Trying the blog thing again

I am an avid blog reader. I have a long list of blogs I read on a daily, or at least weekly, basis as I sip my morning coffee. I even read blog criticism sites. For as much as read about writing, I do so little of it myself. I really just want to document our lives for my family to look back on-- a place to record the things that we're up to and a few pictures. I'm going to try to post just a weekly round up every Friday.

Since I've not written on this blog in over 2 years, let me catch you up a little. 

In June, we had a baby boy! B's birth story is not what I would have liked. I was induced due to a spike in my blood pressure. First they tried a foley induction, then pitocin, then breaking my water. My body didn't really respond strongly to any of these options. And in the end, the baby didn't handle contractions well. So after about 36 hours of labor, he was born via cesarean. Turns out he had the cord wrapped around his neck and I probably had excess amniotic fluid. But regardless! He's here, and 6+ weeks later, we're adjusting to a new family member. 

A and N are 3 1/2 now! I am amazing every day with how they are learning and growing. N is taking gymnastics and is actually pretty good at it. A has said she will take a class when she is older. 

If you remember my previous post trying to choose paint colors for the living room, we FINALLY painted the living room this spring. We went for Nasturtium by Martha Stewart. Things are still pulling together in this room, but I'm feeling much better about it. If I can get my gallery wall finished up, I think it will be at a good holding point while we get a few more rooms accomplished.
Baby B and me in our living room. You can kind of see the new paint job! Photo by Megan Edwards Photography

We've done a variety of other things around the house in the past two years as well. The master bedroom is mostly complete. I am looking for a mirror to go over the bed and I need to move the rocking chair currently in that room to the baby's nursery when B moves in there. Hopefully I can find some time to take a few pictures in coming weeks. 

We've also started replanting the backyard. There's a previous entry here about how we removed all the old beds the previous owners installed. We seeded that fall and are now slowly filling in [much] smaller new beds. There will still be plenty of grass for the kiddos to play! 

In August, our plan is to get the playroom organized and maybe a little decorated. I'm not sure I can commit to painting it right now with a newborn, but we do need to get it organized and get ourselves into a good picking-up routine before B starts to crawl! 

I'll share more pictures next week! 

Update: I found an even better picture of the new living room decor!
Again, by Megan Edwards


Long awaited updates

So you guys have been sitting on pins and needles for what... 6 months now just WAITING for a new post, right? Ok, maybe for the first week and then you forgot about this little blog. No worries, I forgot, too.

We've accomplished just a few things in the house over the summer and fall, which is primarily why I haven't been posting. Small things here and there that have made a big impact, but just seem too small to post about. This, obviously, is ridiculous and completely defeats the purpose of a blog. Blogs are where you SHOULD post the little things that happen daily. I'm going to do a few catch up posts between now and Christmas to get everyone back up to speed before we (hopefully) start doing some more winter work around here.

Here's a photo of what I'm contemplating right now.

That's right, coral paint in the living room. Risky? absolutely. Cozy and beautiful and getting me excited to be in this room more? Absolutely times two! What do you think? Is it too bold for our little cottage?


Aaaaand Reality Sets In

I've heard in the past, mostly on TV but through a few friends, too, about how long redecorating and renovations take. Not "can" take or "might" take. Just take. I was in denial. Yes, I know we have a 10 year plan for this house. But that's really about budgeting and saving up for the big things we want to do. I know gutting a kitchen is a several month planning & doing process. But I'm redecorating a bedroom. SURELY (famous last words coming...) I can get it all pulled together in a month. I have a vision! I already know what I want!

So we're nearing the end of month #2. I had true, good, honest intentions of having 2 posts in March. The first would be "Acquiring Stuff" where I'd tell you all about my fun and oh so very productive shopping trip in and around Cincinnati. I'd show you pictures and we'd talk about all the lovely directions our modern cottagey bedroom would be going in. Then my second post at the end of the month would be The Final Reveal! (!!! added for emphasis and excitement). Well.

That is not reality. The reality is that I ordered our bed the first Saturday of March (more on that later, I am really excited about it!) and it was a 6-8 week time table. Unfortunately, that was delayed by a death in the woodworker's family (totally understandable. I am horribly sad for him and not irritated or impatient. Only a small part of the lack of impatience is because I've not done anything else that needs to be done before install). So he just started our bed this week. We're looking at another 4 weeks from now to get that done.  I still need to do painting and staining and general re-doing on 3 pieces of furniture that are going into the room. And I need to buy a duvet and sew curtains. And general do everything but buy stuff. So the entire project is on a long delay. But it will be ok. Because it will be done soon(ish) and it will be lovely and wonderful. Eventually.

I will be back over the weekend with a recap of my Cincinnati shopping trip and a few other pieces I've found along the way. I really did have a good time at IKEA and other places all by myself!

So what had taken longer than expected for you? Anyone else have dramatically unrealistic expectations about how long a project is going to take?


Goals for 2012

I know most people like to start each new year with resolutions right out of the gate on January 1. I tend to be a little slower with honing  in on my goals. I want to take the time to really look at how the year is shaping up, get beyond the chaos of the holiday season and really hone in on where I'd like myself, my family, and our activities to be at the start of next year.

My overarching goal this year is to become more healthy in all areas of my life. Yes, this does include losing weight and being more healthy physically but beyond that I want to become more healthy mentally, spiritually, financially and relationally.  I don't just want to watch numbers on a scale decline, I want to eat nutrient rich food; I want to get stronger; and I want my body to feel good. Mentally, I just want learn more about myself and how I work and how I would LIKE to work. I have issues, dudes; we all do, and I just want to be more conscious of them and learn how to deal with them in the best way possible. Spiritually, I want to have a healthier relationship with God. I'm not setting some numbered goal like "reading my Bible every day for 30 minutes". Though, that's a great thing to do, and setting measurable goals like that are very helpful for some people. However, I'm going for an overall healthy spiritual relationship. I am doing a Bible study with a group of women, so I want to stay up to date with that and I want to have a consistent prayer life. Our financial goals are going well, too. I've read several personal finance books already and learned A LOT. And we just paid off our last credit card! Yahoo! And relationally, I just want to continue investing in other people and developing deep and deeper friendships with people I have just met here in Delaware as well as long time friends who I know I should make much more of an effort to communicate with. This also includes just taking more time to really develop mine and Scott's marriage. We'll hit 4 years married this year, which is exciting, and I just want this 5th year to be amazing.

Now, on to our house goals, since that's what this blog is really all about. I have 3 main goals for this year.
1. Completely do our master bedroom. There really is no "re-do" about it. It's just a hodge podge of left over items from the past few years and an uncomfortable full size mattress. We'll be tackling this project in the month of March, so look out!
2. Purchase a new couch. Our current couch pretty much didn't make it through our last move. I was in denial for awhile, but truthfully, it's in sad shape. It's uncomfortable and sagging in the middle, and pretty hard to get out of. So by the end of the year, I will research and find and purchase the perfect couch for our family and home.
3. Finally finish the girls' nursery. I need to buy, paint and purchase 16 drawer pulls. I need to hang some art, and decide what to do with the 2nd closet for now. Maybe a reading nook? Or a craft desk? Who knows. Ideas are welcome.
4. Some mini-projects that come along. Basically, I'm keeping my eyes open, and I have a few things already at the house and ready to be finished. I'm not going to turn down the perfect pair of accent chairs in the living room just because my goal is to finish the bedrooms.
5. Plant some flowers in the backyard. And maybe some vegetables.
6. We're going to save up money to do a knock-down-a-wall renovation in the next 2 years.
7. And I may or may not put the finishing touches on Scott's office. We'll see.

So there's the plan this year. Slow and steady wins the race, right? Oh, and a final goal. I want to post on this blog at least twice a month. That was the original plan, and last fall I got mired in the "what do I post??" conundrum. From now on, I'm just going to post twice a month about life in this cottage. If I've done a project or hung some art, I'll include that. If not, well, I'll include that, too!

What are your 2012 goals? I'd love to hear them!


Oh My Gosh... I found them

I know there's been a lack of posts since... October maybe? Sorry about that. The truth is, there has been a lack of projects. Lots of holiday travelling and then sickness, but I'm getting back on track now.

I just had to do a quick update because I am so very excited about what I just found thanks to pinterest. If you would remember back to this post in May of last year, I've been on the hunt for very specific pulls for the built in drawers in the girls' shared room. I found 8 on ebay and thought the other 16 would be easy to come by, since those 8 just fell into my lap. It was not so.

But today. Oh, beautiful Groundhog Day, they have come to me. Long story short, I'm looking for other hardware for 2 furniture re-dos coming up in the next two months and Camila from Effortless Style posted some pieces I was interested in for those new projects. I decided to browse around Ansaldi & Sons hardware after finding several awesome options for the new projects and I found these:

 The EXACT same as the 8 bail pulls hiding in my office cabinet. I am so excited. Next month, the money for 16 of these is going to be in the budget!  I still plan to paint the white porcelain backplates something fun like turquoise or hot pink, but I haven't quite decided what yet. I'm just so excited to have found them!

Thanks for sticking with me. In a few weeks I'll [hopefully] be back with our new media cabinet!


Scott's Office, Phase 1 Complete

I mentioned back in August in this post that I wanted to decorate Scott's office so he felt organized and ready to work in his new job. I definitely made a lot of progress quickly, and now we're stalled out while I search for some fabrics. But let's talk through what's already done. As you look through, I obviously having 'styled' the room yet. I had an extra 20 minutes while the girls napped, so I ran up and took these pictures. When I show you the final product, it will be much more put together! Remember, this is just Phase One!

First, I found this amazing antique kilim rug at a local store (I mentioned it in this post). This was actually my second choice, but the dealer for this rug was at the store at the time and would negotiate with me. I literally got it for a third of the price of the other rug. And I loved the colors and pattern on this rug anyway. Score.  So the rug became the jumping off point for the entire room.

Next stop: HomeGoods. I went here searching for bedding for the twin sized guest bed we keep in this room. I knew I wanted one pillow for the bed that would tie everything together, and low and behold Ralph Lauren came through for me. I found the striped, kilim-inspired pillow on sale there as well as a cheap neutral to just add some height since the bed doesn't have a headboard. Once I found the pillow, it was easy to choose a solid brown coverlet and crimson sheets.

See, crimson was necessary in the room so that we could hang Scott's Ph.D. diploma from the University of Oklahoma. It's just not an office without a diploma on the wall. The other two pieces of art are photos from a calendar that I Mod Podged onto some art canvases. First, I spray painted the sides of the canvases black so they looked finished and then just glued the photos on. If you ever do this, do NOT freak out like I did when the calendar ripples. I freaked out and ended up creasing the paper. I really think if I had just left it alone to dry it would have been much smoother.

In this corner, there is a message board, Scott's current calendar and a bookcase. This bookcase is actually a hutch from an IKEA desk I got off of craigslist. The desk is in the basement. I want to paint this or otherwise refinish it, but that will be in phase 2.

So what's left?
  • find a side table for the bed. We just need something small where we can set a glass of water and a book for guests. I think guests would also want a table for a cell phone or alarm clock so they don't feel weird about using Scott's work desk. 
  • fabric on the roller shades. I have one chosen, I think. I just need to determine how many yards I need and the best way to attach the fabric. I think this will really add another lay of texture and warmth and make everything look more finished. Not to mention that Scott has discovered that on really bright days, these shades do basically nothing for the blinding light on the south side of the house. 
  • fabric to cover the lampshades. There are 2 lampshades in the room. I haven't decided if they will match or not. I guess it depends on which fabric I choose. 
  • paint/refinish the bookcase
  • accessorize as necessary. Always the most fun, and for me, the most challenging part of a room. I know I'd like a throw or some sort of patterned blanket on the end of the bed. And probably nifty objects on the bookcase and side table, too. 
Have any of you combined an at-home office with a guest room? Any essentials I'm missing? What do you think about matching lampshades? 


Quick Backyard Update

Wow, Autumn has just flown by! I can't believe our twins will be ONE YEAR OLD in less than a week! There have been some pretty exciting things going on around here that I plan to share with you all over the next month or so. Hopefully I can play catch up and get everyone up to date with the changes that have been happening around our cottage.

Taken the day before all the beds were dug up.
Very pretty, but very high maintenance. 

This update is about our backyard. I don't think I've mentioned it much here, because, honestly, it wasn't anywhere near the top of my punchlist until mid September. One Friday I walked outside and was just completely overwhelmed with the state of the yard. I knew when we bought the house that I wanted to pull up the majority of the beds and lay some grass down. See, the former owners of this house were retired and GREAT gardeners (so it seems to me after seeing their work back there!). But I have neither the time nor the knowledge to keep up with everything they had done. Not to mention that our grass was literally a 4 foot by 2 foot patch. That, my friends, is not enough grass for two little girls to have picnics and play times!

another angle of  before
Back to September. With this overwhelmed feeling, I realized that next spring and summer, our girls will definitely be at an age where toddling around in the grass will be an amazing way to spend a morning. Honestly, I kind of panicked.  So I borrowed a page from the Young House Love book and made a post on craigslist-- You dig it up, you can HAVE it. I figured it was free labor for us in exchange for some plants that I had no intentions of transplanting somewhere else in the already full yard. We had a couple and then a young man, Kenny, come by. It took them two hours,but they removed about 40 hostas, countless ferns, bushes, grasses, stones and bricks. The next weekend, my parents visited and my dad helped us dig out a forsythia, 2 boxwoods, and what felt like miles of winter creeper vine. Our yard went from the overgrown mess that you saw above to this:

where the beds used to be!! This is after the initial craigslist posting

Big transformation, right? But there were still those huge evergreen bushes and a spindly pine tree that constantly made me nervous as it leaned against our power lines. So, we hired the aforementioned Kenny to come in and clean it up back there. He (and his dad, it turns out) came out last Sunday and chainsawed all the monster bushes down. They also added a little top soil, feathered it out and put down a ton of grass seed. Now our backyard looks like this:

no more monster evergreens or shaggy pine tree!
Yes, that fence is unsafe and pretty awful looking. We knew it would need to be replaced, but now that we've taken down the bushes hiding the worst of it, it's looking as though we will need to replace is next spring--before we have babies playing out there. Next spring we'll also add a butterfly garden alongside the garage, some honeysuckle, hydrangea, and other shade-loving flowering plants along the back fence, possibly a weeping tree of some variety, and, if I'm feeling REALLY brave, a tiny piece of a vegetable garden with a rosemary bush. We use a lot of rosemary around here; I think a bush is completely necessary.  And maybe I'll try to refinish some of our existing outdoor furniture to make a nice place for some barbequeing with friends next year!

So there you are. We've started a new project that only adds more bullets on our to do list! But I am so very excited to watch our little shoots of grass pop up and then to see our little girls playing in it next year!

How about you? Have you done any fall landscaping this month? What are your plans for the spring? Do you know of some pretty bushes that love shade and attract butterflies?