Has it really been just two years?

It feels longer.  Its hard to believe we’ve only owned this little house for two years.  We’ve done alot, and I do mean A LOT to this house in that short amount of time.

When we bought it, it was a nice 4 bedroom 2 bath with potential.  The gardens were overgrown with weeds, the lawn needed a cut, and the interior… Oh, the horror! Someone had painted almost every room in a drab ugly brown that matched the paneling throughout the main living spaces.  The end result was that it all looked dreadful, to the point that we even briefly considered ripping out the paneling.  Three different types of carpeting, scratched up laminate flooring, & linoleum with rips and gashes in it, combined to make the flooring a hot mess.  One shed had a huge whole in the door, the other shed had a hole in the roof.  The deck was in bad shape, as was the fireplace.  Overall, it was a nice place that really needed a whole lot of work.

When we bought it

In the two years since, we have completely repainted every room in the house. Bright & cheery colors, complimented by a few darker tones, and the whole color scheme matches nicely since we have a fairly open floor plan.  The colors have really brought out the beauty in the paneling.  We also replaced the carpets & linoleum in the whole house.  The now uniform carpeting has really made the difference, coupled with a beautiful tiled linoleum just pull the whole look together. We had the fireplace fixed, and my handsome husband ripped out part of the deck and the shed that was falling apart, as well as built new doors for other shed we wanted to keep.  The fence had to get replaced after some kind of critter broke into the back yard and left us “presents” all over the yard.  The gardens have been weeded, and, although I don’t have flowers in them right now, they look much better now, empty, then they did when we bought the place.  And my awesomely talented & hardworking hubby replaced the mailbox.  No more pathetic looking scraggly mailbox for us!

It looks so pretty now

It’s been a busy two years, but good.  The change from “a nice house with potential” to a “home” has been astounding.  Like everyone told me when we first bought it, home repairs never truly end, but I think we’re about done with the “remodel” phase, and have nicely transitioned into routine maintenance.  It’s really a nice place now.  It suits us.

Two years.  It feels like forever. Like we finally have that little place in this world that fits us to a T.

Happiness is warm banana bread

thePinkDiva wanted cinamon rolls this morning.  I don’t have any in the house.  I did have a box of banana bread mix though.  She was ok with that so we mixed it up this morning.

Oh, my word!  I have forgotten how good Banana Bread is!  Seriously, Bread is my weakness, well… one of them… We ate the whole loaf today.  And by we, I mean thePinkDiva had a slice, BigBoy had a slice, and I devoured the rest.  Nom, nom nom, banana bread good!

So banana bread is my number one for tonight.

Obama’s teleprompter is number two. Seriously, this blog & twitter account has had me laughing my rear end off all day.

Number three is sunshine.  Finally!  Today we had a day of sunshine for the first time in a week! And, well, yes, the rain started again tonight…. but the kids were able to get out back and play in the yard mudhole.  Much fun was had by all.

Laundry.  Because even though it is the bane of my exsistence most days, it measn we have clothes on our back, and a washer and dryer to make the job easier.  So, yea…  number four.

And just to throw you all a curve ball, number five is Carpet Fresh.  But not for the fresh lilac-y smell it leaves in the carpet for months.  Rather Carpet Fresh makes the list for it’s unique ant-killing capabilites.  True, the smell gives me a headache, but if you’ve got ants in your carpet (and no, I have no clue how they got in this time.  The bait seems to have been a dried flower petal stuck behind the DVD cabinet.), spread a layer of Carpet Fresh down.  Give a few hours, then vaccuum the carpet.  Ants all gone!  And, it works much better then those stupid traps.  Carpet Fresh, FTW!

So that’s my five.  How about you? Tell me five things that made you happy today.

God's Protection Evidenced

Last Friday we had our hot water heater replaced. (A testament to how busy my life has been lately, I’m just now blogging this!)  We were blessed.  Very blessed.

For most of the month of January, I was having trouble with the hot water.  It seemed to only have two temperatures: Boil-Your-Skin-Off HOT! or Freeze-Your-Fingers-Til-They-Fall-Off COLD.  There was no in between.  I remember reading somewhere about using a hot water heater blanket to help keep the tank from losing too much heat & help keep the water warmer.  So… DH bought one, and headed up into the attic to place it.  That is when he found it.

Water in the drain pan.  Normally, I’d call my dad and ask what it means, but that option is no longer available.  So I turned to Google. Google informed me that this was a bad bad thing.  This article over at Popular Mechanics was pretty helpful in my quest to learn more about hot water heaters.  We decided to put in a service call to our home warrenty company**.

So the plumber was sent out. At first he suspected a problem with the thermostat, but once he had the thing opened up to check, he found the leak.  A small pinhole, located scarily close to the electronics. When he left to pick up the replacement hot water heater, his assistant informed us that we were very lucky it hadn’t started a fire.

This is the second time I’ve been told that by a contractor.  The first time was when the electrician rewired the light switch in my daughter’s room, noting that a couple wires were crossed, and we were very lucky it hadn’t burst into flames.

Luck has nothing to do with it, my friends. Not a thing. God is watching out for us.  Of that I am sure.

**Sidenote:  The home warrenty has saved our butts so many times in the two plus years that we’ve owned the house.  We use AHS, so each service call only costs us $55. Seriously. This time, a 400$ Hot Water Heater installed, parts & labor, all just $55. Awesome. It is the best house-related investment we’ve made.  I thank my dad every time we use it, because he was the one who told us it would be worth it.

one year

It has been one year since we officially joined the ranks of homeowners. So at what point did I stop calling it the “new house” and start calling it “home”? Probably sometime around month 8 of our being here. In our first 7 months in the house we basically remodeled everything but the bathrooms. (click here to see the before and afters) We did some landscaping, but not much. We did some work outside, but not a lot, mostly focusing on the inside, so that it would feel like home. Then, we took a much needed home improvement break.

But, yesterday was our one year anniversary of owning the home. And you know what that means…. Time to kick it into gear and finish off some projects, start new ones. Focus on landscaping now, so the lawn will be nice come spring and summer. Work on the little things around the inside on rainy days, and get some of the major projects done this spring. We’ve already started one. We, and by “we” I mean “DH”, ripped out the second shed. I listed the scrap metal on Freecycle, and a guy and his son showed up to cart it away. Not only did those wonderful people take all the scrap metal, they took all the ancient paint – about 10-15 cans worth – with them too! Bless them. Seriously. I had no idea what I was going to do with all that old paint. They apparently run a salvage business, and have the means of disposing of the paint. God bless them. A thousand times over. A true answer to prayer. So after those Angels-in-disguise took away all the junk, the kids and I went out there yesterday while DH was at work, and started raking up the weeds and whatnot (the kids mostly dug holes in the dirt) to get the area ready for grass seed. Which is why I did not get around to posting this yesterday. By the time the kids went to bed, I too dang tired to do any blogging. Anyway, here are the pictures:

second shed - 2007
The right side of the yard – February 2007

Demo!  the best part of any H-I Job!
Demolition! The best part of any Home Improvement Job! – February 2008

second shed - 2008
Right side of the yard now – February 2008

Wow. It looks so… so…. open. *S* The tree, as you can see, is slowly coming down. That is part of Phase Two of this project. I know, I know! People keep saying, “Why?!? Why take down the tree?” Well… It’s a berry tree. And as such, it draws bees when it flowers. Those bees keep finding ways into thePinkDiva’s bedroom (that’s her window there, next to the tree). Not fun. Especially not with the the screaming and the hysterics that always goes along with a bee in her bedroom. Ugh. Once the flowers are gone, the berries drop, and get mashed onto the bottoms of shoes, which then run through my house, leaving a tracks of brownish-red everywhere on the nice carpet. The shoes must love to run out there and then track berry yuck through the house all on their own, because the kids never admit to it.

For those of you who have been following along will remember the deck.

deck 2007
The deck – February 2007

deck 2008
The deck – February 2008

The more observant ones will notice that the bottom piece is gone. Not only that, but the grass has already grown in there, nice and thick. I do need to get some hedge trimmers and shape the bush next to the deck. I’ve found the stumpy remains of another bush on the other side. What to do with the the bush is up in the air, but I kind of like it.  I’m thinking of digging up the remains of the old one and putting in a new one on the other side.  Symmetry people!!  It’s not just for art! The Tree though. It has to go. I know! I know! what is it with me and getting rid of trees?? Right? Well, this is another Berry tree. Not only does it draw bees and shed berries which get tracked through my house, but this one gets the honor of a “Guard bee” all summer long. A HUGE bee that literally dive-bombs anything that gets near the tree, birds, bugs, squirrels, small children. Yea. So not fun, and not conducive for getting my kids to play outside in the summer. Thing is, I like the thought of having a tree there. So… part of the Tax refund/rebate money will go towards getting the tree replaced. I really want a Flaming Maple. I think it would be awesome, and less bee-attracting, but I’ll settle for anything non-flowering. Of course, I need to start making the calls to local nurseries now, to see if anyone has a partially mature flaming maple or other non-flowering tree that they can come out and replace this one with, before it starts flowering.  And with our wacky weather, it’s already budding.  UGH!   The deck itself is showing the effects of several years of no one taking good care of it.  Most of the wood is splintering.  So that is also on our “to do with the tax money this year” list.  We love the deck the way it is right now, so we want the same thing, but built out of composite, or whatever they are calling that new stuff that looks like wood, but isn’t really, therefore extremely low maintenance.

But to celebrate our first year, here’s the pics of the house, then and now:

Feb 07 - house
The house, February 2007.

Feb 08 - house
Same house, one year later – February 2008

This entry was posted in Mi Casa.

Merry Christmas ya'll!

** Just a warning, my host is in the process of upgrading or something, so if this post suddenly disappears, I’m sorry. I’ll try to get it back ASAP. Now back to your regularly scheduled tour.

Welcome to our home. This is our first Christmas in our new home, so I’m a bit light on the decor for two reasons. Number one, it’s the first year, and it’s it been a rough one. Seriously, if not for the kids, I probably would not have put up anything ‘cept maybe the tree. and Number two, I haven’t been in this home long enough to figure out all the unique, fun, and festive ways to decorate yet, and I just don’t have the heart to try to figure it out this year (see number 1). so here we go!

First, as you walk up the drive, you are likely to be greeted by this:

Mary, the single mom?

For some reason, Joseph seems to have rebelled this year, or maybe he’s just got a touch of the stomach flu. Who knows?

Once inside, you will no doubt notice the totally fab door hanger on the coat closet door.

Reindeer Door Hanger

My mom made a whole lot of these years ago, and I inherited two when I got married. The other one floats around the house, hanging on whatever door the kids have decided would be cool, until another child snags it for a completely different door. It’s almost like a fun game, Where’s the door hanger this hour? *S*

Once you have overcome the awe at what is the totally awesome door hanger, you would probably notice the fireplace, festive as it is.

Fireplace decor

Yes, the frames are still empty. Trust me ya’ll, it’s on my to-do list: Print photos for frames. I may even get it done next year. I hope. The teddy bears are part of a long standing tradition in this house of decorating with stuffed animals. Those bears are actually the Walmart 2006 special or something like that… The prints over the fireplace were made by me, and in just a little break from the Christmas theme here, I’d like to explain that each color represents a different child, each one is decorated with different items specific to the child, and the blue and tan stripe throughout represent mom & dad as a constant presence in their lives. I know, totally awesome right? Mad props to DH for building the custom hidden frame for each one. *S*

Continuing on, at this point in your tour, each of my three children will no doubt insist that you must see their room “right now! Come on! Over here!” So, since we are in the living room, will do a quick hustle past the tree, and into GeekBoy’s room. Each child gets their own tree, and manager scene, so this is what you see in GeekBoy’s Room:

GeekBoy’s Decor

And of course, I so would point out the totally awesome tree skirt I made for his tree this year.

GeekBoy’s tree skirt

Yes, we also have the disco ball ornaments.  I know.  I almost always hear the BeeGee’s  when I see these ornaments, but the kids love them.  And GeekBoy will for sure show you the pride and joy of his tree this year, that Jawa stunning R2D2 ornament you see in the background there.  Yup.  My Geek is a Star Wars nut.  We don’t call him “GeekBoy” for nuttin’ you know.

Moving on.  By now the other two will have grabbed your hands, and hustled you back through the living room.  With nary a glance at the tree, you will be subsquently torn in two, however thePinkDiva will win, and you will be ushered into her room to see her pink princess tree that has pink and princesses on it, and did I mention it has a baby ornament, and pink?  and Princesses?

tPD’s tree

And while she has you as her captive audience, you will be required to look at the Baby Jesus.

tPD’s decor

Did you know that He was a baby?  At this point, she will attempt to distract you with her collection of baby dolls and pink Princesses, but do not fall for it.  After all, Lil’Chicano is patiently waiting for his turn to show you his room:

Lil’C’s decor

And yes, I said each kid has a manger scene.  I wasn’t lying.  The problem is, we found all the pieces to the Veggie Tale Manger that should go in the little guy’s room next to his tree, about a week before Thanksgiving.   I even put it all into a baggie and put it somewhere so it wouldn’t get lost.  Uh huh.  You see where this is headed right?  I figure we’ll find it in July sometime, and it will subsequently be put in another location “where it won’t get lost” only to go missing again just in time for next Christmas, at which point I will most likely break down and buy another nativity to place in Lil’C’s room, only to find the Veggie one two days later.

So, you are finally able to get back to the kitchen and enjoy the wonderfulness that is the decor in the kitchen.  Really,there isn’t much here.  Just this:

sink decor

and our advent calendar (idea for it found through In the Trenches):

advent calendar

and the main source of decor in the kitchen, the baker’s rack:

Bakers Rack Christmas

See!  Remember the Poinsettias on the mantle?  This is where the idea comes from. My Baker’s Rack came with alternate tiles for Christmas (and yes, I think I put 4 of them upside down because I like it like that.  honest!  but dude.  that thing is wa-a-a-ay to heavy to try to change it all now.  so it’ll stay that way this year. *S*)  Also note the pile of white paper on the shelf.  That is the snowflakes we made the other night.  I had grand plans to hang them from our dining room light fixture, but…  It hasn’t happened, and I’d probably smack my head on them all season long.  Oh well.  Best laid plans and all that crap.

Now your finally ready to see the tree.  On the way back to the living room, you might notice the nifty countdown bear on my entertainment center:

Countdown Bear

And finally, the tree:

the tree

There is the large collection of Angel ornaments, as well as the handmade ones from the years my mom made ornaments for everyone, the angel on the top is one of these.  There’s also a small collection of ornaments that my Grandpa & Grandma F. made for me when I was little.   Then there is this special one, added this year:

In Memory of Dad

You might also notice the tree skirt, which I found in the 7 day the year we married (dude…  like 9 years ago now.  wow!):

Tree Skirt

And since you’re looking down, you couldn’t help but notice the Fisher-Price Nativity and the Geo-Trax Train.  Cuz this is how we roll.  *S*

FP Nativity


That’s it folks!   Glad you could join me on this little tour of my home.  And Really glad you made it out in one piece despite the kids.  So grab a sugar cookie, and head on over to BooMama’s for even more Christmassy Fun and Tours.

Sugar Cookies

Our home, 7 months later.

I know it’s been a while since I updated our progress with the home repair, remodel, whatever you want to call it.  so I have a new gallery for you!  Click here to see a before and after gallery and get a better idea of what we’ve changed so far.

Dh just put up the shelves in my pantry last Saturday.  Yea!  I have shelves now!  Next weekend, we tackle the main bathroom.  Only rooms left in the house to fix up are the two bathrooms.   There are a few closets that still need work, and some trim to paint still, but that’s it!  After that it’s all outside stuff…  like fixing up the one shed, and replacing the shed doors,  tearing out the other shed, ripping out a few berry trees and possibly replacing them with something else..  We’re thinking of using next year’s refund to replace the deck.  The wood is all splitting and splintering, it obviously hasn’t been weatherproofed in at least two or more years.  We’re thinking of having the deck rebuilt using some sort of composite that will be low maintenance.  After that I’ll probably need to re-do Lil’Chicano’s room in something a little more neutral.  Eventually I want to give the kitchen a rag treatment, and probably do something with the archway.

But really, we aren’t all that far off from being done with the major work to make this “our home.”  And really…  It’s already feeling so much like home.  I still have to pinch myself sometimes, because…  DUDE!!  We bought a house!  How awesome is that??  7 months later and the newness still hasn’t quite worn off.  *S*

I'm melting! I'm melting!

So, our AC died like two days ago. Yummy right? I think it had something to do with a power blink, but I’ve been assured by a neighbor that over the last few years everyone on the block has had to replace their ACs. Fun-a-licious. So I’ve been passing the time trying to keep 3 children cool, while simultaneously not flinging them with Dana’s trebuchet because Oh My Freaking Word… You would think it was a “May-ja” catastrophe every time one child dared look upon another – and it didn’t matter which one was doing the looking at which. I swear I heard thePinkDiva scream at the mirror for looking at her.

You would think, easy enough, everyone in the pool! But. You forget. The pool is outside. In the heat. And it’s water is wonderfully warm now. Besides, “He splashed me!” “It’s a pool, that’s what happens in pools dear-child-of-mine.” Quickly followed by: “Mom! She hit me!” “What you do?” “Nothing!” “Why’d you hit him?” “Because he was gonna splash me.” Ugh.

Watching a movie results in three stir crazy kids who begin to randomly hit each other because, “He was thinking about hittin’ me!” Ugh.

Luckily, our home warranty to the rescue, and the repairman is due to arrive soon.
*Shout outs to my dad, for telliing us how awesome a warranty was and insisting we buy it. I miss my daddy.

one closet down.

As I type, DH is putting the finishing touches on the coat closet.  WooHoo!  In just a few minutes, I can put the shoes back in the closet, and hang the coats, and put the vaccum away.  WOOHHOO!  all this crap has been all over my our bedroom, the hallway, and even DD’s closet.  I will be soo glad to get it all put away again.

One closet down. 6 and a pantry to go.

Of course…  I also need to get off my rear and go hem some curtains.  ugh.  I’m sewing challenged.  so I’ve been putting this off…  but I really need to do this.  Esp since DH is going to put up the rod when he’s done with the closet.  (even though he doesn’t know that yet.  he he.  luv ya babe!)

**Photos of the improvements coming soon.  I promise.  *S* I was gonna wait til I finished the trim… but screw it.  After doing 3 rooms and a closet in the past 5 weeks, I don’t feel like painting anything right now…

A Home Improvment Weekend

All that was missing was a Tim the Tool Man Taylor marathon on TBS (and there may have been one, the TV was unplugged, I couldn’t check.)

DH started the Weekend Friday afternoon by putting up that shelf in DS2’s room to help protect the new CD player in there.  Then he hung a big plaque for me in the kitchen, and some other little things all around that didn’t take long, but they kept piling up, make the infamous “Honey-Do” list incredibly long.

Saturday, we sent the kids out to play in the pool in the backyard, and started on the living room.  Sanding the existing layer of spackle, and bleaching the walls before applying primer.  Together, we got two coats of primer and then two coats of color on the walls.  Yup.  Four times around the room in the space of about 6 hours.  But it looks awesome out there.  No pictures yet though, because I still have to do the trim, and since it’s the the same trim color as the hallway, I’m waiting until we get the little hallway done to crack open the trim color.

Sunday was a haze.  I was so out of it all day… I literally didn’t wake up until about 9pm.  Well, I was awake, but I was so foggy-headed, it felt like I was sleep-walking all day.

So today will be spent cleaning up the remainder of the mess from the weekend of fun in the livingroom, most of which is all over my room and my desk in the office.