Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Goodnight, Irene.

Apparently the apocalypse is headed for the East Coast.

Last Tuesday there was an earthquake in Virginia that Philadelphia could feel.  This weekend, we got hit by Hurricane Irene.  

What did we do to piss off Mother Nature?

I was concerned about three things during this hurricane:  A. loosing electricity  B. the winds knocking down this huge tree in front of our a house and C. Our basement is prone to flooding and we had  A LOT of boxes on the floor that have been there since we moved in.  Clearly these boxes were so important to us that we hadn't touched them in four months, but regardless, they needed to be saved.

On Saturday morning (the day the storm was slated to hit us), JEGs ran to Lowes and bought wood to build shelving.  

While everyone we knew was hunkering down in their houses with a movie and some alcohol, my husband was building the shelving on our front porch in the wind and the rain.  I have to admit, he did a good job.

We had planned to organize and make it look nice, but it took him till nearly 10 pm to finish.  We quickly Jenga'd the boxes on the shelves and I am glad we did.  About a half hour later we checked on the basement to find this:

After a quick shower, we sat on the couch and started flipping between the news channels to get the latest updates.  Anyone in the Philadelphia area catch Adam Joseph on ABC?  Poor guy looked like he was about to have a meltdown.  He started the broadcast out with a full suit on.  Quickly the jacket came off.  Then the tie was loosened and the sleeves were rolled up.  Finally the tie came off.  JEGs and I kept flipping back to see if he would be completely naked at any point.  Chill out dude.  You are broadcasting the weather, not creating it.

Around 11:00 they started  talking about tornadoes for Norristown.  Not our county, but our specific town.

Fun Lizzie Fact:  I am terrified of tornadoes.  I have never lived through one and I am scared to death of them.  When they started broadcasting tornado warnings I put on shoes, grabbed a cat carrier and sat next to Winston ready to grab him at the first siren.  I'm not even kidding, I was shaking.   To make matters worse, they kept popping up over and over again.  Seriously with this crap?  Are they trying to make me go into labor?

JEGs did a quick interwebs search and found streaming audio of our local police and fire radio to see if there was any mention of tornadoes.   We decided that with the threat of the twisters (and the potential crashing of the tree into our master bedroom) it might be safer to sleep in the living room.  JEGs blew up the air mattress and by midnight I passed out from sheer exhaustion.

God bless JEGs;  that man stayed up till nearly 4 am keeping an eye on the tornado warnings, sump pump and electricity.  He tried to snuggle next to me on the air mattress, but being as pregnant as I am, it  wasn't comfortable so he relocated to the couch.

The next morning I woke up to electricity, the tree still standing, and minimal water in the basement.   We celebrated with a breakfast of blueberry pancakes.

Our general area really made out ok.  There were a few branches in the streets, but no serious flooding.   We were really blessed.

We have officially made it through two natural disasters in our home.  What's next?  Locusts?  I hope not, because the cicadas in our neighborhood are annoying enough.

Always & Forever,

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Place to Hang Our Hats... and Everything Else.

One thing I knew when we first looked at this house was that creativity was going to be key for storage.  Even though we had a full basement and attic, we had very little usable closet space.  

We knew eventually we would have to do something with the closet in the master bedroom.  We figured that our walk-in closet would hold us for a couple years until we could afford to knock out the existing closet and built ourselves something that Trish Surh would be proud of. 

When we decided to use the walk-in as a nursery, it was obvious something needed to be done with our closet, and fast.  Since we didn't have the budget to do the full-on closet demo that we dreamed of  (along with the rest of our big ass To Do list), we decided to find a NEW temporary solution.

After moving the longer dresser out of our room and into the baby's room, we have a little nook for us to use
(Please pardon the first five or so pictures-- they were taken with JEGs camera phone at night).

We jutted out to Lowes and snagged two bars to hang our clothes from:  one higher for JEGs (since he is so much taller) and a midget one for me.  To maximize the space, we also grabbed a white-washed board from IKEA's As-Is section to use as a shelf.

We wanted to conceal our clothes from the rest of the room, so we decided to hang some light and airy curtains, ala YoungHouseLove.

Our first idea was to use tension rods to hold up the curtains, but we ran into two problems:  1. we couldn't find a tension rod long enough, and 2. the placement of the rod would have made the hangers poke into the curtain.  And I just couldn't have that.  Then JEGs came up with the brilliant idea of using a curtain rod we already had.  I confess I was hesitant about the idea, but after some visualization, he convinced me.

On the left side of the closet he secured the bracket just outside of the nook

Since the right side of the nook came out farther, he attached the bracket some same distance from the back wall and swiveled the hook 90 degrees.  We had to remove the finial, but I don't think anyone will notice.

When the brackets were secure, we tested out the rod and curtains

We transferred all our clothes in and I hemmed the curtains  and TA DA!

All of JEGs' clothes have room to hang, and he has plenty of space for his watches, cologne and shoes on the shelf

My wardrobe is happily hanging about hip level and I can comfortably see everything.

I wanted to do a better storage for shoes, but this is good enough for now.  One day, when we completely renovate the closet and do fancy shelving, we will find a better way to store my shoe collection.

We are really really happy with the way it turned out, especially for such a "this will do for now" kind of project.

For all you number crunchers out there, here is the budget breakdown:
(numbers are approx. because I lost the receipt.  Dammit).

Clothing rods: $8 each-- however one was returned and scuffed up so we were able to get it for half off.
Brackets for rods:  $7 for a two back (x2 rods is $14)
Shelf:  $6 from IKEA's As-Is section
Brackets for shelf: $3 each (x 2 is $6)
Box of screws:  $10
Curtain rod:  Free (already owned)
Curtains:  $15 (IKEA's Vivan)

Total Cost:  $63.

Not too shabby considering the fact it A. got all of our clothes in one room and B. cleared up some space in the storage guest room.   The box of screws was a big expenditure- especially since we only used about 5 or 6 of them, but they are made to go through brick, and when we do fully renovate the closet, we are going to need them.  So it's like an investment.

One more thing checked off our TODO list.  Boo.  yah.

Always & Forever,

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pregnancy: Weeks 34 & 35

That's the guest room on the left.  I should really do a post tracking it's progress of messiness.

My Stats:
Twenty-six pounds gained.  My dream of only putting on 20-25 has been crushed.
Waist is about 43 inches.  ::stink eye::

Little Monster's Stats:
Our little guy should weigh about 5-6 pounds and measures a total of 20 inches.
Pretty much all of his organs are developed, now he is just putting on weight.

Pregnancy Fun Facts:
Blah blah blah hormones.  Blah blah charlie horses. Farting.  Pimples.  Big scary nipples.  Are you sick of listening to me bitch? I know I am.

Things I Miss:
 Bending over.  My fabulous shoe collection.  My wedding rings.  Not grunting.  Breakfast sandwiches with sausage.  WINE.  Cuddling with my husband.

Energy Levels/Sleep:
  My sleep really varies from night to night.  If I can find a comfortable position then I am good. to. go.  If not, then expect a night full of flipping over (which includes synchronized movements of two pillows) and charlie horses.  JEGs is loving it.  Really he is.   There has been talk of setting up an air mattress in the guest room, but I'm afraid to ask if it is for me or him...

Other Stuff:
  You guys, I am so freakin' pregnant.  Like, really pregnant.  35 weeks in and 35 days to go.

  I only have three more weeks left at work; my last day is September 16th.  I am hoping this little guy will wait until at least the 23rd to show up so I can enjoy that first week of maternity leave by having quiet time, sleeping in, and just getting things ready.  Basically, I want one more week of selfish-Lizzie-time.  Sue me.

I've had a lot of people ask how I am doing at work.  For those that don't know my job involves me climbing in and out of a helicopter.  It wasn't as difficult as I thought it was going to be, but the last week or so has been getting a little harder.  I just keep reminding myself that I am in the home stretch.

  We had the first of our two birthing classes about a week ago.  We may or may not have gotten scolded for giggling too much, but you know what?  If you are going to make me suck on a Lifesaver to show dilation and pronounce centimeter "sonnameter", then I am gonna giggle.  A lot.  Because JEGs and I are 13.

PS.. other Momma's out there... did you pack a tennis ball in a sock in your hospital bag?  Apparently it's vital to bring along and we cannot figure out why.  Can someone please shed some light on this?

Always & Forever,

Friday, August 12, 2011

Update: Baby's Room

Hey guys!  Just popping in to give you all an update on what's been going on around the halls of Falconhead Cottage.

Now that the carpet is finally installed, we've set our sights on other projects.  Most recently, I engaged in what I referred to as DresserGate Twenty Eleven; I moved the tall dresser out of the baby's room into the master bedroom, and moved the long dresser out of our room and into the baby's room.  It took some finagling, but I was able to snuggle the taller dresser next to the radiator in our room.   And by the grace of God, I was some how able to fit the contents of both dressers into one:

 I gave him the upper drawers because I'm a good wifey :)

I took the mirror off of the longer dresser and moved it into the baby's room for him to use.  It is also going to act as our changing table.

 Pardon the mess.  We had our second shower this past weekend, and it looks like Babies R Us threw up in that room.  I have some organizing to do.

JEGs also installed some quarter round along the baseboards to fix that horrendous gap between the floor and wall that was totally skeeving me out:

 We were also gifted the Jenny Lind crib I have been dreaming about ever since I saw the first ultrasound.  I. Love.  It.

Finally, I added our TO Do list from Operation: Baby Drop with links to the finished projects.  You know, because I know you all are dying to know.

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!!!

Always & Forever,

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pregnancy: Weeks 32 & 33

Once upon a time I could button this jacket...
My Stats:
*Twenty-four pounds gained.  I would say a good 20 of it is from cake.
*Waist measures... let's just say I "lost" my tape measure.  Yeah, yeah.  I... lost it.

Little Monster's Stats:
*Our little guy weights about 4.5 pounds and his total length is nearly 19.5 inches.
*He is now keeping his eyes open when he is awake
*Neurons and synapses are developing in huge numbers allowing him to master things like sucking and swallowing while breathing.
*..and for TMI of the week:  his testicles are descending from his abdomen into his scrotum.  Awww.
*This week we have become a honeydew on the Fruit-O-Meter

Pregnancy Fun Facts:
Last week karma decided it would be a fun joke to give me third trimester morning sickness.  I spent every morning sitting next to the toilet, cursing the good fortune of my (unknown) first trimester.   By the end of the week I was feeling better, but I was still getting what I call "yucky burps".  Basically, the baby is running out room in there and is starting to press on my organs-- including my stomach.  There have been times when I have 'burped' up the last thing I ate.  It seems to happen mostly at night, riiiight before I am about to fall asleep.  It's really... awesome.  

Energy Level/Sleep
   The baby has made it very clear he only likes it when I lay on my left side.  Aye- aye capt'n.   If that's what you want, that is what I shall do.  
  Let's talk about his energy levels for a second:  good lord child-- are you trying to escape through my bellybutton??  That is not an exit!  He doesn't really kick anymore, but he does push on my sides.  A lot.

 At this very moment, I would sell my mother for a roast beef sandwich and a root beer.  (Sorry Mommacita).     Recently I have been wanting a lot of peanut butter- in milkshake form is bonus points.

Other Stuff:
  I ditched the wedding bands weeks ago for a plain ring I had laying around.  However that won't fit anymore either so I have been commando on the ring finger.  Earlier in the week I had a woman in a doctors waiting room inform me that "the Lord looks down upon unwed mothers".  I posted this on my Facebook wall, and my favorite of the 25 comments I received was from my friend Mike's sister Beth: " You should have told her it was your 4th- all to different Daddys. Then asked 'You think the big guy's okay with that?' ".  My actual response to the woman was "Well thank goodness I waited five months after the wedding to get pregnant".   Really, the nerve of some people.  But I do believe I might invest in a cheapy ring from Kohls.. just to be on the safe side.

My mother hosted a second baby shower for us this past weekend and again, friends and family were so generous.  We have been so blessed, and we are so thankful for all the gifts we received.  Now I just need to organize it all.

Our good friends, Cara and Rob, recently found out they are having a little girl in December.  Clearly this means that their precious angel has to marry our little monster.  We've already started to draw up the paperwork.  Here is Cara and I introducing the bride and groom wee ones to each other:

Finally, I think we are getting closer to a name.  Maybe :)

Always & Forever,

Monday, August 8, 2011

Wedding Crashing: Casually Simple

On July 23, 2011 my dear friend Megan got married.

I met Meg back in 2003 when she was just 17.   We worked together at Applebee's for years and we were killer on Sunday night expo together.  The two things I love most about her are: you know exactly how she feels about things, and she is not full of pomp and circumstance-- this girl likes to keep it simple and her lovely wedding reflected that perfectly.

The wedding was held at a beautiful, 200-year-old meeting house in Southampton, PA.

I won't even lie to you, I was contemplating how to steal this chandelier.  It would look gorgeous in our boudoir.  But JEGs put the kibosh on it.  Something about being too big to smuggle out.  Whatever.

It was insanely hot the day of the wedding-- I think the mercury hit between 98- 100 degrees.  Since the meeting house was two hundred years old, they didn't have modern conveniences like electricity for air conditioning.  But Meg was on top of that.  As soon as you walked in, you were handed a fan to keep yourself cool-- complete with adorable sayings:

When Meg entered, I gasped.  She looked amazing in a dress with a satin wrap bodice and a skirt of pleated net over silk organza.  At her waist was a crystal and pearl embellished belt that folded twice in the back and had more crystals at the tapered ends.

She carried a bouquet of sunflowers wrapped in yellow ribbon.  She opted to go with out a veil, and instead her naturally curly hair was swept casually into a side bun and accessorized with white silk flowers.

Her shoes (which I didn't get a picture of until later in the night) were glittery and blue.  

I'm not even going to lie, I was pretty proud and impressed with her for getting shoes this fabulous.  She is usually very understated, and these were pretty... kung pow!

God bless them, they kept that ceremony short-- fifteen minutes we were in and out.  They had a few readings, a sand ceremony, Kevin- do you? (he did)  Meg- do you? (she did too) , kiss the bride and be on your way.

The reception was held at the nearby Maggio's Restaurant.  As we entered we found our place cards propped up on wine corks that Meg had collected from her part-time gig as a bartender (..and maybe a few bottles she partook in as well ;)

The centerpieces were mason jar filled with sunflowers and river rocks with and adorn with a yellow ribbon

Can we talk about her cake for a second?  First off, it was adorable with a cake topper of a bride and groom on a motorcycle.

The most important part?  The taste.  Holy mother of pearl, it was like everything that was good in one cake.  First off it was yellow cake (my fav) with chocolate chips.  Then it had a strawberry jam filling between the layers.  But wait.. there is more!  The icing was-- wait for it---- peanut butter flavored.  It was basically a pregnant woman's dream.

I had such a blast at the wedding, I even got my booty out on the dance floor-- proving that at seven and a half months pregnant, I am still gettin' my Cupid Shuffle on.

LOVE my AppleBitches

Meg, I wish you and Kevin nothing but happiness in the years to come.  Love you so much girl!

Always & Forever,

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Fabulous July

How I Met Your Mother
Robin, did I ever tell you I was vomit-free since '93?

 This show is Legon---wait for it------- DARY. How did I go six years without watching??   Barney Stintson is by far the BEST character on TV.  JEGs and I would catch this on syndication every once in a while and thought it seemed pretty funny.  Once we moved into the house, we cut our cable down the basic channels and realized something:  basic cable sucks.  So we decided to hunt down the first six seasons of this show and  marathon watched it.  I have never laughed so hard at a TV show as I have with this one.  Seriously, the writers of this show are doing a fantastic job, not only keep with the continuity of the show, but keep the characters fresh.  We are all caught up and are itching to start the seventh season.


I have always loved anything that was lemon-flavored;  it's one of my favorite tastes.  With the pregnancy (and summer) in full swing, I am always A. Thirsty B. Craving sugar and C. Craving sour.  DING DING-- we have a winner in lemonade.  We always have a half drank gallon of Turkey Hill Lemonade in the fridge.  I'll mix it with other beverages too!  Iced Tea, a little in my water, any my new favorite, with Trop 50's  Pomegranate Blueberry juice.  Ommm nom nom.

adidas Zeitfrei sandals

Here is the thing about pregnancy:  your feet always hurt.  ALWAYS.  I had gotten in the habit of as soon as I came home from work off came my shoes and on went my slippers. However, I ran into two problems:  my slippers made my feet hot (and I am like a human oven as it is right now) and after a while, I had worn then down so far, they didn't have any padding left.  Then one day I noticed JEGs had a pair of adidas flip flops with padding on the soles.  I slipped my feet in and it was like heaven and I never wanted to take them off.  Apparently, JEGs felt the same way about these shoes and was quite annoyed when I would put up a fight if he wanted to wear his own shoes.  Whatevs man.  So I broke down and bought my own pair.  And I loves them.   


I know you haven't been formally introduced yet, but this little guy has brought a lot of fun and love into our life this past month.   And that's pretty fabulous.

Alrighty July, August is officially here, and it is jam packed with weddings, showers and renovations!  We gotta get to gettin!!

Always & Forever,

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Carpet Does Not Match the Drapes

...because don't have drapes.  But we have CARPET!

In April we ripped out the old carpet.
In June, we replaced the subfloor.

It took us three months, but we finally have carpeting.  Oh happy day.

JEGs mentioned in the subfloor post that he had decided to rip up the grey slate tile in the entry way to replace the flooring underneath.  I was totally down with that because I had a deep hatred for that tile.

One  week while I was on night shift, JEGs got to work on replacing the tile.  We picked out a lighter and brighter Topaz Ice by Marazzi at our local Home Depot, with the Bone grout.

 The very first thing he did was dry fit the tiles on the wonder board WITH the spacers in place.  This gave an actual measurement for how to cut the board so that everything fit and lined up.  Once he was happy with the layout, and knew where to cut, he went ahead and trimmed the board to fit. He centered it with the doorway, and tucked under the threshold just a bit to make it cleaner.  Once he was happy with the position, he screwed it down with drywall screws to the subfloor.

 Next up was mixing the mortar.  Anyone who has messed with this goop knows that this can be a pain in the arse.  Adding JUST enough water so that the "mud" isn't too runny, but isn't too dry is a trial and error type of thing. Mike Holmes makes it look so easy.

 Once its mixed, it is time to spread it out over the wonder board.  Starting in the center, he worked his way out and forward, using 3/16" spacers to keep the grout lines nice and even.  It's good to check your progress with a level as you go to make sure things are lined up. 

Once satisfied with the tile positions, it was time to let them set. The tiles had to set overnight before they could be grouted.

 Since I am super preggers, JEGs decided that instead of making me walk around to the back door when I got home at midnight, he would build me a bridge out of material leftover from the subfloor replacement-- a "temporary wife bridge" as he called it.   So thoughtful <3

 The next day the mortar had set up enough to start grouting, so JEGs mixed it up and spread it around with a grout float.  He also used some left over and spread it in where the tile meets the threshold to make it look seamless.  I should note that he could have used caulk, but he had left over grout so he thought, why not? If it cracks or chips out, he can caulk it later. 

About a week or so later, the carpet guys from Lowe's came out and installed the carpet.

I know what you are thinking; Lowe's carpeting?  Home Depot tile?  We don't discriminate.  Well, we do a little.  Shhh, we secretly love Lowe's way more, but don't tell the HD.

Anyway, let me tell you-- these guys did work.  In a little over an hour they showed up, installed the tack strips, put down the carpet padding, installed the carpet AND ran the vacuum.  LOVE THEM.

When it was all finished, I took the opportunity to do something I haven't done in this house: lie down on the living room floor.

..and I may or may not have attempted a carpet angel.  

So let's take a trip down memory lane and gander at the progress this room has made.

Before (with previous owner's furnishings):




One more view:

Clearly we have a lot more to do (maybe some art on the walls?) but the transformation with fresh paint and carpet alone has made me so happy.

So, what do you think?  

Always & Forever,