sydney's sidewalk drawing...elijah, sydney, daddy, mommy, kezia

Thursday, February 25, 2010

We can do it ourself - Remodeling

Well, there are a handful of projects that we wanted to do around the house and my dad was anxious to come on up and help. So, Wayne asked 3 days off and away to work we went. We made a full page list of all the projects we wanted to accomplish…or at least attempt to accomplish.
The big ones were:
1. Put up pebble board in the upstairs bathroom
2. Build a cabinet for the upstairs bathroom
3. Take down the dropped ceiling
4. Paint Sydney’s room
5. Paint Elijah’s room
I posted this one ‘last’ so that you will read it ‘first’ on the blog. The posts below detail each project.
We really had no idea how to do a lot of the projects we set out to do. However, we felt confident that we would be able to power through the various tasks. I mean, how hard could it be? I’ve watched HGTV…I’ve seen remodel work…we can figure it out.
You’ll see how it went in the following posts.
(sydney decided to 'help' - she found a screwdriver and started trying to 'fix' the baby gate)
Elijah did such a great job...he spent most of the time hanging out in his little excersaucer.

do it ourself - Elijah's Room

Elijah's room was a little more work.

One of his walls had wallpaper on it that simply had to come off.

One wall had a particularly bad crack in it. it was actually on an outside corner and on an angled wall...nice and complicated.

But nothing a little (OK a lot) of mud couldn't fix.

so...the pattern goes. mud, mud, kilz, paint, paint. :)

And in the end, you get a lovely...I mean, MANLY room. the walls are a great great.

the observant observer will notice that elijah's room used to be orange and sydney's room was changed to orange. why not just switch their rooms?
#1 - sydney's carpet was just too cool and i could not come up with a masculine decor to match it.
#2 - i literally knew when we were looking at this house which kid was going where. the architecture of each room just fit the kids.
#3 - the oranges are totally different!

see, i even painted sydney's orange onto elijah's orange to show how different they are.

(sydney's orange is on the left)

i'm serious, sydney's orange is painted on elijah's wall!

the oranges were literally the same color...just a different finish!!! I picked out the perfect orange for sydney, was so sure it was so very very different...and it was the same.

oh well, elijah's room still rocks.

do it ourself - Sydney's Room

see grandma. see grandma paint. paint, grandma, paint.

Basically, Sydney’s room was an easy fix. I picked out a yellowy-orange color for the big walls and ceiling and a bright pink for the short walls and a window nook.

Nice bright colors. As if Sydney needs anymore stimuli.

Of course, it was easy in theory, but took quite a bit of work from my mom and me. Before my parents came, I mud-ed over several cracks in the plaster. The mud takes 24 hours to dry. Then I had to kilz (prime) the whole room, including the ceiling. Of course, while priming the walls, I found a few more cracks in the wall. Mud, paint the walls around the mud, let the mud dry…kilz and paint the next day.
Her room is so brightly colored. You can see the glow from her room out in the hallway.
To go with her great colored walls, Sydney has several bedspread options.

She also has several options for window coverings. I love this flower on yellow stripe fabric. Wayne’s cousin’s wife, (I know, complicated) Lisa gave me the great fabric and flower to match the quilt she made for Sydney. Super cute. I gotta finish embroidering the leaves and flower…sorry, Lisa, haven’t finished them yet…I know, I am so bad! :-)

Anyway, there are a few more decor items that still need to be put out…but her room is well on it’s way. It looks so great.

this is my favorite part of Sydney's room...this great little cut out window. it is such a beautiful bit of architecture.

i know, i know. the colors are very bright and bold. but you cannot go subtle that carpet.
i like it.

Do it ourself - Bathroom

ok, here is how it used to look -

And here are all the things we wanted to accomplish in our upstairs bathroom. (You will remember that for now this is our only ‘bathing facility’ in the house, other than the scary dungeon basement shower stall. We plan to have a large shower stall put into our main floor bathroom sometime in the next couple of months. Anyway…) The walls are covered with a paneling of some sort that is not waterproof, and it is even around the tub area. Besides being impractical, it is really brittle, old …and so not my colors. ;-) So, we planned to take that down, and the wallpaper, put up pebble board around the tub and build a little cabinet to fit at the end of the tub. The tub was basically placed into the room, and the end was left open with no wall…so the water splashes out and the hollow part under the tub was exposed with who knows what crawling around there…and I always imagined walking in and seeing Sydney trying to crawl back and into there. eww. The dropped ceiling was also on the ‘outta here’ list.
goodbye dropped ceiling....the bathroom seems so much larger now. taking down the 'dropped' portion freed up about 2-2.5 feet of air space, so the bathroom feels nice and open now.

Well, the old paneling came down fairly easily…revealing the walls which were in terrible condition. The glue that was used was placed right onto the walls in a gloppy coat that did not adhere to the paneling very well at all…which explained the huge screws all over the paneling holding it to the wall. I had thought that we could just sand down any residual glue, but this stuff was bad news. There were also several large holes and old grout lines from tile that used to be on the wall.
Hmm…challenge number one was what to do about the walls. The texture was too rough to put the pebble board directly onto the walls. So, my dad called a good friend of his in the construction business…and once he was done laughing at our attempt to remodel (just kidding) he told us the right way to do it was to bust the walls down to the studs and put up fresh drywall.
We don’t know how to put up drywall and we probably don’t have the time to do a complete tear down and build up.
We were then informed that there was a way to cheat. We were good with cheating, so we went with that option. We bought drywall and that went right over part the old wall near the tub. (I know, I know…anyone who does construction is probably cringing right now. But, we are doing this project for us, so it is all good).
two men in a tub

So, we thought cheating was supposed to be the easy option…it wasn’t! At least not for us. ;-) We incorrectly assumed that taking two measurements was all you needed (how long to cut the piece and how wide to cut the piece). Wrong. Our walls are not square or level and apparently our tub wasn’t either. So, poor Wayne and my dad had a lot of measuring and cutting to do.
Then when they went to put the pebble board up, we were not sure how to keep appropriate pressure on it so that it would adhere properly and tightly. Well, we are geniuses! A few 2x4’s, a couple gallons of paint and a tension rod…and voila! Pressure. We were pretty sure this was how the professionals do it. :-P
using boards and another tension rod for the opposite walls

Of course, we didn’t get that put up until evening, which meant no using the tub (the adhesive takes four hours to dry), which meant that only left …that’s right… the dungeon basement shower. I confess, I was freaked out to use it, but it was just fine. It was actually really nice because I could actually stand all the way up. (our tub is beneath the angled roofline, so there is little standing room in the tub.)
We also had an electrician come in and move an outlet that was dangerously close to the tub, remove a useless outlet, cut a new hole for a ceiling mounted light (the previous light was in the dropped ceiling, but the wires ran from the side wall, not the ceiling, so we had that fixed) put up a new vanity light, and run new wires for the main switch. The main switch wiring was scary. I was worried I would get shocked using it after seeing the inside. Behind a piece of wallpaper we found live wiring just stuffed into an old electric box in the wall. Exciting.
our cool new vanity light...yes the hole is still in the wall, no wayne and i don't know how to fill such a big hole, so we are going to put a mirror right over it.

Lets see…what else in the bathroom. Oh, because the glue was so stubborn and lumpy on our wall, I decided to ‘simply’ mud over the messy areas. But, because the messy areas consisted of half the bathroom and there was no way to make it super smooth, I textured the wall.
Oooh, I know, so professional sounding…’texturing a wall.’ It probably looks more like a bad plaster job, but I think it will look really nice. When I am done ‘texture-izing,’ I plan on painting the walls a muted yellowy-mustard color and then color-washing over it with a bright orange. (the washing will make the orange more sutle than the ‘bouncy ball’ orange – yes, the orange is literally called ‘bouncing ball’ by dutchboy paint.) it will look soooo cool with our tree frog shower curtain and lizard curtains I made. Since this will eventually be mainly used by the kids for baths and such, I decided to have a little fun with the design.

Whew, I think that is everything that we accomplished in the bathroom. Oh, the cabinet is painted black and I have yet to paint the walls, so I will post a picture when I get there.

It was a lot of work, but Wayne and my dad kicked the bathroom's behind. I just gotta say how proud I am of the men in my life and all their hard work to get the house remodeled and better suited to our family.

Friday, February 5, 2010

what a way to run a railroad

just craziness.
(ok, this is a long post...there are pictures in other posts below...this one is just lots of words)

so, we bought our first home back on Dec. 18th. (homeownership is great...we were even excited to get our first bills in the mail, just to see what our total monthly cost was going to be and so on.) our first montly payment was due Feb. 1st, and as the month of January rolled on, we debated how early to send out our first mortgage payment. not too soon, not too late

we had our mortage through 'company A,' but even before our first payment was due, our mortgage was sold to 'complany B.' no big deal, aparently that happens fairly often. we were pretty excited (about paying a bill!?! i know, what is wrong with us :P ) and we wanted everything to go well, so we sent the check out to Van Ives, CA as indicated by the paperwork we had received.

That was Jan 18th.

On Jan 19th we received paperworks from 'company B' again informing us of the address we were to send our check to...somewhere in TEXAS! umm...what happened to Van Ives, CA!?!

So, we were not quite sure what to do. We decided to wait a few days...surely the check would get forwarded to the correct fast can an address go bad?

Wayne checked our account online daily, and the check was not clearing. hmm...

After a week, he began calling 'company B' trying to figure out what happened/what to do about the check.

do we wait a little longer? do we send another check? do we stop payment on the first check and send different check? did the check ever arrive anywhere? is it just sitting on someone's desk? what to do!

we started to get just a little frustrated with not knowing what to do. our check was sent on time, to the place we were told to send it.

the payment was due Feb 1. well, that came and went, and the check did not clear. we are still ok because there is a 15 day grace period...but that is the whole reason we sent out the check early, so that it would arrive on time and we would not look like schmucks sending in our very first mortgage payment late!


again, we called company B...what do we do? where is our check? why did we recieve the wrong address?

we had looked into putting a stop on the check...but that cost 20 bucks. looks like that is what we are going to have to do.

Feb. 4th - yesterday - we have to put a stop payment on check...which we have to do in person...back in hartford an hour and a half away. yeah, we sent our first payment using a check from our old account which we still had some money in. i think we left it open because it was a verified account and address for our downpayment.

anyway, we had no way to recieve a scan/fax or way to send one back, so we decided that i would buzz down for the day, stop payment on the check and visit with my parents.

we also sent out a new check to the new address. overnight, delivery confirmation - $18.25...nice

Feb. 5 - today - so, i go to the bank..."hi, i have to stop payment on a check." the paperwork was already (we had called the day before) and so all they needed was a signiture...literally 5 seconds of work...after driving for 1 1/2 hours. oh well, at least we know that everything is going to be ok...
minus $20 to stop payment, $18.25 to send a new check, and $25 in gas

and then wayne calls me in hartford..........the check, the first one we sent out to California, is back at our house.

apparently the check went to Van Ives, as it was supposed to, and the office was no longer there! it had relocated to Los the check goes to LA. For some reason, they did not know whose mortgage the check was supposed to go to. (i wouldn't have thought there were that many wayne and naomi anderson combos inthe world, but what do i know). We had info with it indicating the house's address, our names, even the mortgage account number...but apparently that was not enough.
so, after sitting there for an indeterminant amount of days, they tried to return our check...but it went to our old address in hartford because that was the address on the check from our old bank account. so, then the post office had to re-route it to our current address...hence arriving today after a two and a half week tour of the country.

what a way to run a railroad........or mortgage company

visitors from MI

Wayne's parents came down to visit for a few days. (Happy Birthday Grandma A.) Sydney loves Grandma and Grandpa A and their dog Truman. Everytime the come, she looks for their doggy Truman...she loves to boss him around. Sydney is also very concerned about Grandpa whenever we go out together. She doesn't seem to understand that, as an adult, grandpa can wander away from the cart by himself. She keeps calling out to him, "grandpa, come back here!" while pointing to the cart.

cousin time

A couple weeks ago, the kiddos and I visited grandma and grandpa Fletcher, along with my bro Jonathan, his wife Abby, and their little girl Kaemi. Had some good talks, played some great games, and took a couple of nice pictures of the cousins.

Grandma had the great idea to give each kid a toy to occupy the hands, otherwise, Elijah grabs Sydney’s hair, Sydney pushes Elijah away, and Kaemi tries to touch Elijah’s eyes. Good times.

The girls got board with pictures and left Elijah behind.
He and his frog didn't seem to mind.

more cloth diaper

Let the record show, I love my cloth diapers…they rock!!! I had purchased other diapers off of (great resource for cloth diapering) because I was not sure if I would like the diapers I made myself…in fact I was pretty sure they would flop bad and I would not like them at all. However, I like mine so much better!
I’ve had a several people ask me about the diapers, so here is a little information. It is from a pattern I found online. It is called the Quick Snap Flap Wrap (QSFW).

(i don't put on snaps or velcro, i use a snappi)

The diaper is made up of just two layers of fabric (I use flannel) as opposed to some diapers that use 6 or more. Less layers means that it washes clean easily and dries significantly faster than other diapers. (some of the diapers I bought online simply refuse to dry; they have so many layers). The diaper is folded up to fit the baby, and then it has 6 layers, plus you can put an ‘insert’ in between the folded layers for more absorbency.
I added elastic in between the layers at the 'back' of the diapers, and some for the leg area...helps with 'containment.' (the elastic is pictured in the left pic...the black lines. I simply 'surface-mounted' the elastic for the legs, because the diaper gets folded around that area, so there is no exposed elastic to rub the baby's legs)

A cover goes over the top and voila! Great cloth diaper.

I had a pretty good stash of diapers, but I wanted a little more. So, I bought some flannel sheets at a thrift store (6.50 for two flat sheets, one fitted sheet, one pillowcase, and two t-shirts) and have cut out 24 diapers so far.

I think I still could cut out about 4 more and still have tons of left over scraps to make wipes or inserts.

These diapers rock!
Did you know that good cloth diapers cost any where from 18 to 25 dollars a diaper. Yes, that is per diaper, not dozen. I ven found a diaper that costs 48 bucks!! (sure it is an overnighter, and made out of bamboo, but good grief, charlie brown!) (good cloth diaper brands are FuzziBunz, BumGenius, Happy Heinies, gDiaper, Haute Pocket, Zany Zebra, and Kissaluvs to name a few). They are really good brands and I am sure they work really well…but hey, for about 40 cents a diaper, plus labor…I think I’m doing pretty dern good. way to save money!!

Elijah 5 Months - Jan. 25

The Boy Wonder just continues to grow and grow!

The Boy Wonder’s powers include:
Rolling over
Sitting up, semi-assisted
Eatin’ baby cereal like there is no tomorrow
Grabbing Sydney’s hair and
Desperately reaching for toys just out of reach on the floor…he so wants to crawl, but can’t get his legs and arms to work together

I believe I can fly!


Sydney wanted to get in on the pictures…she kept telling Elijah to ‘wook ober dere’ (look over there), but he didn’t seem to get the idea.

This is the best pic of them together that day…oh well.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

yes, i am still here

erg...i've got a ton of pictures and other things i want ot post...but i have no time to get to the library...other than now, when i have no time also. :)
will post soon