Wednesday, October 31, 2012

More tricking than treating and an 'I'm alive' update

Since Sandy blew through this week I had to take down my amazing haunted house that I painstakingly put up in our front yard for fear of it ending up in the next county.

Please.  We all know I'm using the hurricane as an excuse for plopping some pumpkins on the front porch and calling it a day.  To be fair, I had intentions of putting up actual decorations this year, but I kept putting it off till 'next week'.  Well 'next week' turned into this week, and this is all I have.

And Hunter's Halloween costume?  Non existent   My friend Cara and I had this great I idea to dress up her daughter Jenna as Raggedy Ann and Hunter as Raggedy Andy-- I even offered to make the costumes.   

Fun fact:  I do not own a sewing machine.  All sewing I do is by hand. 

Lesson learned:  when making any sort of clothing item,  I should probably use a sewing machine.

Long story short, the costumes were a mess.  But then Cara started a new job and wouldn't be home until well after 6 pm and I actually looked at a calendar and realized I was on the night shift so we scrapped it.  

Then Hurricane Sandy came along and our township has pushed back trick-or-treating to Saturday.  BOO.  YAH.  I am totally scoring a costume at Old Navy on the super cheap tomorrow.  Pictures to follow.  Those pictures will probably be on Instagram and not an actual blog.  #lazyblogger.

The good news is, all is well at Falconhead after the storm;  we never lost power, we had no wind damage and we had very little flooding in the basement.  Much like Irene from last year, we did a whole lot of worrying for nothing.  But this time there was less shelf-building on the front porch and more of me boozing #ilovenotbeingpregnant

Dang, did I just use two hash tags in one post?  

On that note.. how is your Halloween?  Any cool decorations?  Costumes?  

Always & Forever,

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I've gotten a bunch of questions via e-mail and comments.  Since I'm horribly lazy, I figured I would answer them all in one fell swoop.

Where exactly do you live?
  I kid you not, people have asked this.  Do you want my address?  Well, you aren't getting it.  But we do live just north of Philadelphia in a town called Norristown.  It's a strange little area.  Don't get me wrong, I love love love our neighborhood, but it is nestled between stone mansions and the ghet. tooooo.  BUT, we are five minutes from the King of Prussia Mall-- and that my friends, is a good thing.

Why the hell do you call your apartment/house Falconhead?
  This is really not that interesting of a story, which is probably why I haven't addressed it earlier.
Before JEGs and I moved in together, we went and saw a comedian named Brian Regan.  This dude is hysterical, you should totally check him out.  Anyway, one of his jokes was about people being pretentious and naming their houses and the punchline was someone naming their studio apartment Falconhead.  I DIED when I heard that, and it was something that stuck with me.
  Fast forward a couple months, JEGs and I are touring this 900 sq ft apartment.  Being the smart ass that I am, I made the comment that we should refer to it as Falconhead-- and it kinda stuck.  Besides, when you are blogging, writing "my apartment" gets kinda boring.  I like to sass it up a little.  FALCONHEAD.  When we bought the house, I felt that it should be differentiated from the apartment, thus Falconhead Cottage was born.  The next house will probably be something grander, like Falconhead Estate.

Where did the nickname JEGs come from?  and how do you pronounce it?
  It's not  "Jay Eeee Geees" (*cough* Shannaigans) it's pronounced like legs or kegs.. but with a J.
My adorable husband's initials are J.E.G.  When we started dating, I was introduced the to world of cars, car parts and car part commericals.  One of them was a company named JEGS.  Their commercials are hysterical and the first time I saw one, I excitedly said to him "THOSE ARE YOUR INITIALS!!" He gave me this look like "durrr".   So every once in a while, I would mimic the commercial and say "JEEEEEEEEGSSSS". 
  Well, he apparently didn't like it ( I can't imagine why).  One day he said to me "I don't have an 'S' in my name."  Not one to let a small detail get in the way of being a smart ass, I started typing it out as JEGs.  And that stuck.  And now he is JEGs.  And I am Mrs. JEGs.  And yes, I call him JEGs to his face.

Do people call you LB in person? or (to those who know me not-from-the-interwebs) why is it LIZZIE in progress?
  This is the deal:   My first name is Amy, and it is the name I go by to most people.  My friends  call me Amy (or Amers), JEGs calls me Amy, and in the general world, I am Amy.  When I started this blog, I wanted to have a a shred of privacy.  Yes, I am sharing some personal details of my life, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to have it ALL out there.  So I went with a moniker my mother calls me: LizzieBeth.   LizzieBeth is a nickname for Elizabeth-- which is my middle name.  Most of my family calls me some form of Liz or Lizzie (or I'll get the occasional 'ELIZABETH!' from my mom, if I've gone too far).

How did you crazy kids meet?
 You can read all about that here.  While you are at it, stop by here and read how he proposed to me!

When are you having baby #2
Little known fact:  as soon as you get married, you are expected to start reproducing. STAT.  No one ever asks if and when you plan on buying a house, or if you plan on staying with your job.  No.  It's kids and only kids.  Once you have your first kid, you are supposed to immediately start working on the next.
  Right now, we are just enjoying our little family of three (four, if you count Winston).  If we decide to have another, it won't be for another couple of years yet.  Financially, we aren't prepared to have two kids in day care, and I work crazy hours, which is hard enough on me with one child, I can't imagine two.  So let me put it this way:  don't put your money on Hunter being an Irish twin ;)

What do you do for a living?
  What, this blogging stuff isn't enough for you?  I've hinted that I work in aviation (I've even shared some of the crazy shit my pilot says) but my official job title is camera operator for a local news helicopter.  That's right Philadelphia area-- when you see a chopper live over the house fire or accident on the Schuylkill, there is a 1 in 4 chance that it's me.  I love my job, I love the people I work with, I don't love the crazy hours I work, but I consider myself very blessed to be here.

Wow!  How did you land that job?
 I totally fell into it.  In 2004 a friend of a friend of a friend..etc knew someone who worked for the local NBC affiliate.  They needed someone to fill in as a back up person and with my connections, I got an interview.  I worked there part time for about 6 months, before landing a full time gig in an office building.  Three years later, a guy I had met while working for NBC called to say they had a full time position at FOX and wondered if I would be interested.  I jumped on the opportunity!  I was there for about a year, went part time for another station and in September 2008 I became full time at my current station and I love it.  BUT, to be fair, I do have a Bachelor's degree in Video Communications and a minor in Photography.  So technically, I am trained to this.

What is your living room/kitchen/bedroom/nursery/etc wall color?
One day I'll get around to putting up an entire source page, but for now this will have to do:
Living Room-  Valspar Jekyll Grand Dining Sea Mist
Kitchen/Mud Room- Sherwin William matched to Benjamin Moore Weston Flax
Stairway/Hallway- Valspar Luna
Nursery- Glidden Navajo Sand
Guest bedroom- Buzz Blaster Blue (painted by previous owners)
Bathroom- Glidden Navajo Sand
Master Bedroom- unknown (painted by previous owners)

Where did you get your couch/kitchen table/ dresser/etc?
 God's honest truth, about 75% of the furniture in this house are hand-me-downs from our parents and I would say 24% are thrifted/yard sales/ trash picked.  The only real item we have purchased is our couch.

Are you still cloth diapering?
Yes, technically   Our new daycare does not allow cloth diapers, so we have to diaper him part time at home.  Here is more on my original cloth diaper post.

Dude... Downton Abbey?
  I KNOW RIGHT?  I totally heart Matthew Crawley.  And Branson, a little bit too...

So there are some of the biggest questions that your inquiring minds want to know.  Any others?  Go ahead and ask!  I answer them-- but I can't promise it will be in a timely manner.

Always & Forever,

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Spin Spin Sugar

The Sneaker Pimps are pretty much the soundtrack to me doing laundry.  Every time I look at the spin cycle on the dial, I can't help but bust out some awesome 90's club music


As we were painting the kitchen, we decided to just go ahead and paint the mudroom the same color as well.  The mudroom is an addition right off the rear of the house, and can be clearly seen as you walk into the kitchen.  I really just wanted all of that hideous green gone from my life.

The only 'before' picture I have of this space is on our House Tour page, and it was before we picked up our washer and dry, but let me paint you a visual of this room:  there is a washer.  and a dryer.  And a bunch of shit (cleaning supplies, paper towels, trash bags) shoved between the wall and the washer.  Since it is the main thoroughfare to the backyard, I needed that stuff hidden.

We desperately needed more storage in this room, and I had this great idea of using Billy bookshelves on either side for storage with a shelf above.  I even spent time mocking something up in Photoshop to aid in my presentation

When I presented my idea, JEGs was all "We can't do that" and I was all "Says you, dream killer" and he was all "No, seriously, we can't do that.  The floors are so uneven that the bookshelves would tip in".

 ..and I was all "Dammit, we can't do that".

We decided that no matter what, we needed to level out the washer and dryer.  The center of the mudroom its its lowest point, so anytime I opened the dryer door, it would swing closed again.  It damn near gave me fits everytime I had to flip the laundry.  In order to level the washer and dryer, JEGs  had to adjust the four feet on the bottoms of the units.   He did that by simply screwing the feet to their highest point, and adjusting them from there until they were all level

 Since the feet are hard plastic and the tile is slippery, he cut out non-skid padding so that the dryer wouldn't walk with a heavy load in it. 

JEGs agreed that we needed to add some sort of storage in this room, so he made his own mock up.

..have I ever mentioned he is a draftsmen by trade?  Yeah.  A little nicer then my shoddy Photoshop picture.

Anyway, so JEGs sends me this picture and after some consideration, we decide that it would probably be better to have the lower cabinet between the washer and dryer.  Since we can't just verbally agree on something, JEGs made another mock up.

Show off.

We started stalking Craigslist and found some amazing deals.  First off, we got a bottom cabinet for $10 (similar new ones from Lowes are nearly $175!)  It was so cheap because it didn't have a top, and it didn't have any hardware, but we knew we could easily fix that.

We stopped at IKEA and looked around in the old faithful AS IS section and found a piece of wood that fit the width of the cabinet perfectly for $2.99.  It was too long, but we figured that the leftovers could be for the shelf next to the upper cabinets in the mock up.  Knowing there would be an unfinished edge after JEGs made the cuts, I snagged a sample size of Valspar's Dove White (an almost identical match to IKEA white) for any touch ups needed.

I desperately wanted upper cabinets that matched the beveled look of the bottom cabinet, but we couldn't find any that were A. affordable, or B. wasn't an entire kitchen set.  JEGs found a set on Craigslist for $45 that matched our needs perfectly, but were flat paneled.  I fought him hardcore because I didn't think they were pretty enough.

Yes, I am that vain.  I will balk at cabinets that are not pretty enough.

I eventually came to my senses and JEGs snagged them.

When it all came together, this is what we had:

You may notice there is an extra shelf above the washer and dryer that was not in the original plan.  This is because as JEGs was bringing the top to the lower cabinet up from the basement, he dropped it and it split.  So another run to the IKEA as is section and another $2.99, we had a new top and extra shelving to play with.  That, my friends, is lemonade from lemons.

JEGs was able to notch in the shelf so it sat flush with the wall and the window sill, and the cabinet didn't over hang-- unlike my brilliant Billy Bookshelf idea would have.

The shelf next to the upper cabinets holds laundry detergent, bleach and the basket holds all our winter gear (hats, gloves, scarves, etc).  Since we don't have a coat closet in the house, the hanging bar is a perfect place to hang our coats and store Hunter's stroller below.

I would like to get some sort of hook to hang the ironing board and iron on the wall, but it just has happened yet.  Eventually.

The frame is hiding the washer and dryer hook ups because I thought they were ugly.  I haven't set on what I'm going to put in there yet, but I promise it won't be sideways ballerinas.  It will be something a little more laundry appropriate.

Remember all that shit that I said was sitting on the floor between the washer and the wall?  Well now it is stored away in cabinets.  And I love it.

In an attempt to bring the two set together (and to make the cabinets seems less garage-like), we replaced the hardware with 3 inch satin nickle pulls and the matching knob.

Total cost breakdown:
Wall paint-  Free (already had)
Curtains-  free (made from fabric I already had)
Shelving paint- $3
Upper cabinets- $45
Lower cabinets-$10
Selving- $6.33
Brackets (for shelves)- $3.88
Hanging bar- $8.98
Hardware- $12.82

Total: $90.01

For under $100 we transformed that horrid green box of hot mess, into a tidy and pretty laundry room that I am not ashamed to have people walk through.

Always & Forever,

Monday, October 1, 2012

Hunter: 12 months

At 10:16 AM today, my little boy turned a year old.
I know every parents says this, but seriously, where did the year go?

There were a couple big events this month Bubs.  First off, we switched your daycare.  Since you were six weeks old, we had you going to an in-home daycare with a woman named Susan.  As much as we loved Susan and appreciated how much she worked with our schedule, we decided that it was time for the Bubs to be in an environment with more structure and learning.  We found a great place near our house willing to work with our schedule and kids your own age to play with.  I was a little nervous about leaving you in a new place on the first day, but you took it like a champ

Since starting at the new daycare, we have seen a huge improvement on your motor skills;  you have learned how to use the sign for 'more'-  even though sometimes you just use it to let us know you are hungry.

And... as much as it scares me to say this... you took your first steps on September 17th.  It shocked the hell out of me because I didn't think you would be walking before your birthday.  You were standing at the coffee table, turned around and took 4 steps over to me.  You had the biggest grin on your face too, like you knew you did something great.

In other news, we went to East Norriton Day with your future wife, Jenna, and her family.  You were not as interested in the tractor as I thought you would be.  However, you did discover hay, which I'm pretty sure you think is the most amazing thing everrrrr.

I stopped breastfeeding this month.  I stopped pumping at work soon after we got back from vacation in July and ever since I have been slowly weaning from breast to bottle.  Around mid- month whole milk was slowly introduced into the formula, and I am so so so SOOOOO happy to say that we bought (and finished) our last box of formula last week.  You are 100% on solids now.  Grilled cheese sandwiches and strawberries continue to be your favorite food, but you pretty much nosh on whatever Mom and Dad are eating (especially if it's dipped in ranch dressing) #don'ttellJamieOliver

Otherwise it has been a pretty quiet month.  We have been enjoying your silly faces, slimey high fives, and sweet hugs

Here is a round up of all Hunter's monthly pictures.  What do you think?  Has he changed a lot?  Or does he pretty much look the same?

Always & Forever,