Archives For On a Personal Note…

We bought our house at the very end of March 2010 and moved in a week later. The Monday after we moved was my birthday and I took the day off from work to finish unpacking and organizing. I was so happy! Four years later I still love this house and tomorrow I’ll turn 29. It seems like the older I get the faster time flies, but I’m still grateful to be yet another year older. Fingers crossed that this is a great one!

Do not regret growing older

Have a lovely weekend, my friends, and thanks for reading!

I intentionally designed Jack’s nursery so that it could easily transition to a “big boy” room someday. I can’t believe that he will be two this summer. Time flies!

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I’m really in no hurry to get him out of the crib, but he is a climber and after seeing him put his foot on top of the rail a few times I asked my mother in law if her offer still stood to gift us a pair of twin beds that she purchased in the early 90′s. They’re solid wood and can be used as bunk beds or side by side. Since they can be bunk beds they also include a set of matching guardrails that we will try installing on both sides of one bed to make it more toddler-friendly; or maybe we’ll push the bed into a corner so that we only need one rail. Regardless, the pieces are currently piled in our junk room, I mean guest room, while I take my time sourcing linens and a mattress.

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I know people hate when you paint wood blah blah blah but I’m gonna do it. I’ve been dying to paint a bed kelly green ever since I saw this photo and I think it’ll look so cute in Jack’s room. In addition to the painted bed, I’m envisioning a fun patterned pillowcase, basic white sheets (bleachable!), and a lightweight comforter. There’s lots of color going on and some additional pattern on the nearby rocking chair so I don’t want to go crazy with big patterns. I’d also like to avoid getting locked into a “theme” that he’s likely to outgrow.

boys bedroom inspiration

1. Classic Gray by Benjamin Moore (wall color) 2. Ball Game by Allen + Roth 3. Geometric Squared fabric 4. basic white sheets 5. Circo Basic Quilt Set – Green

I’d love to put both beds in there, but he can’t be trusted with a ladder so that rules out bunk beds and I’m not sure there’s enough room to put both beds on the floor. It’s the smallest room in our house and the layout is limited by several architectural elements (our baby has a fireplace in his room, like that’s not weird at all). I’m not in a hurry to move him but it does make me feel better to know that we at least have the bed. That way if I come in after naptime to find him playing on the floor I can just go ahead and get a mattress right away. I’m just so nervous that I’ll hear a thump followed by wailing instead! I know that every kid is different and there’s no magic age to move them out of the crib–you just have to use your judgement based on your child’s development–but I was expecting to have a while longer. Next thing I know he’ll be asking to borrow the car!

These last few months with Jack have been a lot of fun. He’s finally walking all over the place, he’s picking up new words every day, and his little personality is just sparkling.

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His physical therapist comes every week and he loves her. She helps him do fun things that will also make him stronger, like climbing steps, carrying things around, and walking over the old sidewalks in our neighborhood–they’re riddled with tree roots and the extra challenge is good for him.

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He is so sweet these days. He says please and thank you and still loves to be held. He wants to read books and play outside all day.

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He’s really into opening and closing doors of all kinds. He loves walking out to the sidewalk and closing the gate to our picket fence behind him, then continuing on his mission to make it to the neighbors’ yard before I reach him.

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He’s also still a big fan of his swing. His PT told me that this kind of stuff–swinging around and even going upside down–is actually really good for developing his sense of balance. Something about fluid in the inner ear. And those bucket swings in the park are even better because they work the core muscles. I’m really enjoying getting to pick her brain every week while she works with him.

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I’ve got to say, I am loving the toddler stage. My personality is much better suited to chasing after a toddler than tending to a demanding infant. I can see little bits of both Nick and myself in his personality–he’s stubborn and bookish like me, cuddly and sports-loving like Nick. And of course every kid has that certain je ne sais quoi that is theirs alone.

My undergraduate studies took me through a wide range of the social sciences and liberal arts. I was an English major with a concentration in Secondary Ed, but I took sociology classes every chance I got and I even took five semesters of German (guten Tag!). Anyway, in one of my sociology classes I learned about the broken windows theory of criminology. It’s controversial and I’m not sure I agree with its implications, but the gist of it is that petty crime and disorder create an atmosphere conducive to more serious crime. One broken window that doesn’t get fixed leads to more broken windows, which leads to a sense that nobody really cares and that it’s okay to treat the neighborhood and the people who live in it with disrespect. This theory is great when it motivates people to clean up blighted neighborhoods, not so great when cops start cracking down on petty crime in the hopes that it’ll scare away the big fish (but that’s just my opinion). Anyway, I broke this pane of glass on our front door on Christmas Eve as we were rushing out of the house. We taped some cardboard up over it and figured we’d deal with it after the holidays.

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Super classy.

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We put off fixing it for three months and in that time:

  • our washing machine broke
  • our new washing machine broke and we waited more than a month for the part to repair it
  • our pipes froze and sprung a leak
  • unrelated to the freeze, the pipe that drains from our kitchen sink corroded and the plumber had to cut away a section of our exterior to replace the whole operation (which was really peculiarly installed and prone to clogs, so it’s much better now but that didn’t make it any easier to drop $700 on something we can’t even see)

The good news is that this is a part of the house that nobody ever sees. I actually had to walk around to the alley and between two fences to get here. Literally nobody can see this unless they are in this difficult-to-access spot on purpose. The bad news is that the plumber just temporarily put everything back in place and it’s up to us to actually repair the siding.

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Two different types of siding meet just a few feet away from here. Note additional chaos: weeds and filth (algae? mildew?). And I see another spot of messed up siding over there in the corner.

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Old houses are so charming and full of character, but you’ve got to stay on top of them. One neglected problem can quickly snowball, just like disorder in a troubled neighborhood. Things seem to have been getting away from us lately and to distract ourselves from the expensive new roof that’s looming in our future we decided to finally tackle the front door. It was actually so much cheaper and easier than we’d anticipated! The glass was only about $4 and cut to size for free at Lowe’s. Not pictured: a hammer to help us use the flathead screwdriver as a chisel and remove old nails.

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Step one: use a utility knife to score the paint over the moldings. This is about as far as Nick got before I kicked him out and took over.

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Next, I used a screwdriver and a hammer to gently, carefully chisel the very old wood molding loose. I tried not to let it get too torn up but a certain amount of damage was inevitable. I’m pretty sure these doors are original to the house and thus nearly a century old.

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The nails holding them in stayed in the frame even after I’d tugged the moldings free. I waited until I had all the moldings and glass out to use the claw of my hammer to pull them.

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Bam. Moldings gone and we could carefully remove the broken glass. This was surprisingly satisfying.

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I could lie and say that I popped my new glass in and replaced the moldings and it was so easy! But actually even though I’d told the lady at Lowe’s “Well, I measured the opening to be six and a quarter by twelve and a quarter but it probably needs to be a little bigger to fit properly,” it turns out I should’ve been more specific because she cut it to exactly 6.25″x12.25″ and it was too small. I had to go back to Lowe’s but luckily they let me return it with no problem and I was back home in no time with a new piece. This time I asked them to cut it to 6.75″ by 12.75″ and it fit so perfectly that I had to carefully coax it into the frame, diligently removing any splinters or scraps that stood in its way.

Also, a piece of molding near the bottom right had always been missing (disguised previously with paint on the glass) so Nick cut a tiny piece of scrap beadboard to length and it was just right. I used some caulk and my brad gun to carefully tack all the molding to the frame and then filled all the gaps and cracks with caulk.

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After the caulk had dried I touched up the paint (luckily I just painted this door last summer) and still had the paint on hand). Now it looks not good as new, but old and charming and not broken.

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So, now that my front door no longer screams DISREPAIR maybe the rest of the house will get its act together? We’re working on the kitchen currently but next is fixing up the deck, then cleaning and repairing the siding, replacing the roof (gulp), and hopefully if things go well repainting the exterior trim. Home ownership is bittersweet.