Grateful.

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How annoying is it that I’m not consistent? I mean really…you can be honest.

Recently I was forced to remember that I can’t count all my blessings on two hands or sets of toes, and that’s not me bragging, that is me being grateful. It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily grind, to disregard the simplest moments and to take your loved ones for granted.

Life is hectic, but it’s also fleeting and from what I can tell the point is to love and be loved.

On that note I’ve got nothing for ya this week-nada. I’m only going to halfway blame this on my Photoshop issues I’m having, but the other half is just us being busy. September is oddly jam packed with stuff. Some good, some great, some just obligatory. I will say that I’ve got good material in the pipeline for you, like posts that are actually worthy of you even visiting. But bare with me as I touch base casually in between these so-called revolutionary blog posts.

So in an effort to give you folks some reading material, I have tracked down a few things that have kept me going (inspiration-wise) this week!

Have you guys heard of Chatbooks? It’s a pretty great way to get your Instagram photos off your device and into your hands and honest to God it’s $6 for 60 pages and free shipping. I’ve been playing around with trying to make some seasonal ones (spring, summer, fall, winter)-how would you organize yours?

This children’s book makes me giggle-you should get a copy.

This kitchen has given me a new appreciation for oak. Which is helpful seeing as how we live in the Midwest and all…

Need a photographer? Carpet installation? Kitchen counter tops? Plumber? Thumbtack is a neat website that allows vendors to come to you with their quotes, based off your job. It’s a great way to source pricing of projects, and they are all local to your area. It makes it so much easier for hunting down quotes. We’ve used it numerous times since buying our house.

One of the better hair tutorials I’ve seen to get great, natural and effortless waves with your curling iron. I even bought the Garnier Fructis De-Contructed texture tease. #Dontjudge 

The recipe to the pie that I made last week, which I highly recommend! I need more practice with the graham cracker crust and overall presentation but the taste was beyond amaze.

 

 

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Skipping Rocks 101:

A few weekends ago we had a pretty stellar Saturday, on accident. It was one of those days that unfolded organically and left this mom with a big grin and much perspective. I had been wanting to visit Lake Calhoun, just one of the many, many lakes Minnesota has to offer but this one happens to be the largest in the Minneapolis area. It’s a good 3.1 mile walk around and we quickly found out that this is where all the fit people come on their weekends! There was tons of people biking, running, walking and enjoying the last few weeks of hot balmy summer weather we have left. There is an amazing eatery on the lake called The Tinfish that serves everything from wine, to crab cakes and lobster rolls to fresh served ice-cream cones. Also on the lake is a fantastic children’s park where we stopped and let Oliver play but quickly fell into a rock skipping tutorial that lasted a good half hour, or more. It was really one of those precious moments as a parent where you sit back and watch your child learn something new. He was having so much fun and it was really gratifying to experience something as simple as skipping rocks through his toddler eyes. It was the perfect “Wasting Time Wisely” moment and the entire afternoon I felt elated from our few hours around Lake Calhoun.

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Bye-Bye Brass

4557742a-e965-40b9-857d-31ff24ed8bbb_zpsb4ce4cdf With the completion of Oliver’s planked wall, Chris and I agreed to put the woodworking projects on hold for a little bit and focus on “warming” up the place by making small changes that have big impact, and buying a lamp or two. We are also in desperate need for some rugs. We’ve both agreed things were looking a little bare, and to be honest, we could both use a break from the mayhem some of these larger scale projects come with. While we were working on Oliver’s room the dresser sat out in the hall for a good two weeks and it drove me crazy.   We had been wanting to replace all the door knobs in the house for quite a while and last weekend finally got around to switching them out from brass knobs to chrome levers. We tackled it in about an hour and it has made all the difference! It was also nice to start and complete a project in just one day. We have to get more of those on the docket.

What other changes are quick and easy that you’ve done in your home?

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The Great Wall

For the past few weekends Chris and I have been working on Oliver’s room, and I’m relieved to say that I think the most labor intensive parts are done! We’ve sanded, we’ve painted, and re-painted and re-painted and built one heck of a planked wall, which I posted on Facebook and Instagram and a lot of people seemed to have an interest on how we did it and ask for more pictures. I took a few through our process and so this is how Chris was able to “nail” (pun intended) this Pinterest inspired accent wall.

There are still a few weeks worth of finishing touches, but hope to post the final room reveal by the end of the month! But for now, here are some glimpses of the “before” photos!

d18fc804-0aae-424d-b695-b332f3552cf0_zps5a3e97c2 When we first moved in we knew we were going to paint so we didn’t hang anything or really decorate. We sort of just moved in Ollie’s stuff and kept things pretty minimal. #sadroom

IMGP8190 IMGP8193 The painting process is the worst! I’m so glad we are almost done with the rooms in our house, the dark navy color we picked didn’t make things any easier. It took several coats and of course, we are continuing to paint over the oak and turn our trim white.

f1063dbc-09f4-4314-93dd-2326dd537bc7_zps4cc15599 440dd338-5c7b-41c9-aa03-318b3d3adc15_zps0ccbc761 The white fan that came with the house had horrendous lighting and wasn’t really our style so we replaced that in the process.

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0cc73987-7c67-46d4-812b-b25aee435a45_zpse10d27e6 We purchased roughly 40, 8-foot pieces of pine wood from Home Depot, totaling around $100. Chris used his miter saw to cut the pieces in sections of 4-5 feet. Using a level and brad nailer, Chris started building the wall on top of the drywall. Once the wall was up, we used the same stain from this post, and thankfully only needed one coat.

59182548-b5cb-4d1d-bf3a-faef61892072_zps8bb4db0c eaceddb3-77b2-414e-b392-63dde532efd1_zps55127a0e 1ba7a6e3-3775-4f80-adb4-e33eba0cc954_zps33122cb9 51411e4a-05ce-4958-afb2-2d3042bee51d_zps457a2799 So there you have it. Probably one of the easier projects we’ve tackled, but more time intensive than we originally thought. Let me know if you have any other questions on how to do your own and I’d be happy to help!

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House Envy

 

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You guys, I have serious house envy. Dana from House Tweaking is a damn genius. She documented decorating her first house on her blog, but her second house, the one she and her husband dub “the underdog” is something pretty magical. The kitchen alone makes my heart ache because I will never have the chance to whip up a meal in it or play cards on that island. The workspace is a little  place of homemaker heaven and the open floor plan she’s got going on is perfect for a family. I love how she manages to keep such clean lines, but also nothing looks too perfect, or cold, or modern but yet there is a lot of mid-century modern influence. This woman has totally made me reconsider my aesthetic. She’s really cornered the market on being able to create a space that is light and airy while still managing to have the impact that dramatic colors can bring. It’s perfectly balanced with natural elements and industrial trends and I’m loving every detail she divulges. Eating it up like a kid in a candy shop! Just check out the pictures below and if you want more, there is plenty to uncover on her blog!

kitchen-after-12 living-room-2014-5 mudroom-after-6 mudroom-after-4 master-br-5 (Images via)

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Summer date night

2b9bfa65-07e7-4d76-8d69-7804c3d0d42a_zps88b554c2.jpg~original What an awkward looking photo you say! It IS an awkward photo, but I felt the moment had to be captured. Last weekend (and I’m just getting around to telling you guys this) Chris and I got all gussied up and went out for a fun dinner night out with one of our favorite couples to Burch steak and pizza , which has gotten rave reviews, and we have to agree, the food was delicious. I got to eat with both hands and leisurely too! Our amazing, trusty babysitter, my sister in law, allowed us for a real grown up night out and it WAS amazing, filled with pre-dinner cocktails, during dinner cocktails and what I would call dessert wine- it was so good.

How rare is it these days that us parents get out and when we do I think we both feel like a million bucks. I put on a flirty romper, he put on his dress shirt and while the week of normalcy has brought us back down to earth, for a long while there we were feeling like kids again.

Please refrain from ogling my whiter than white legs. I need to work on my tan and fast, the month of August is here and in Minnesota these warm summer months don’t last long!

Here is to reliving last weekend, when in actuality we’ll be doing mundane things like household chores, building a ceiling to floor wood pallet wall (don’t ask) and I’m pretty sure trying to understand the mystery that is HBO’s “The Leftovers.”

PS. This romper is F21 (the struggle to outgrow that store is real) and was seriously $17. $17.00! Who cares if it lasts only ONE wash at that price. Am I right??

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Hale Navy.

IMG_0162_REV (Images from The Nesting Game)

When we first moved to Minneapolis, and had our townhome, I was able to decorate Oliver’s nursery but I wasn’t able to paint. Well, I could’ve painted but I was too pregnant to care to and since the walls where neutral, I didn’t see the need. Going full force on a nursery was one of my main priorities when we moved into our new house. Although now Ollie seems less and less like a baby and more like a little kiddo these days, so I’m having to keep in mind that one day (fairly soonish) we’ll be transitioning his room from a nursery, but still trying to keep it childlike. But let me catch you up to speed since I was an absentee blogger….we’ve done a lot to the house in the few months we’ve lived here. We have painted every room on the main level, as well as the trim. We’ve painted the upstairs hallway, guest room and now Oliver’s room (just finished that beast this weekend!) We’ve painted the kitchen cabinets white, replaced the hardware, painted the fireplace, replaced overhead lighting to recessed fixtures and Chris has somehow managed to build our dining room table , outdoor table and a guest bed. So to say we’ve been busy is an understatement. But back to Oliver’s room, it’s officially been started and I couldn’t be more excited to pour my heart and soul into it! It’s the only room I see clearly in my head, from the blinds, to the rug and I’m hoping it will be done by the end of August. Generally we’ve been jumping around from project to project due to what makes sense in terms of cost, season, sales etc. but since we have such a distinct vision for Oliver’s room we are just going for it. All other projects are on hold till we get his little oasis complete. Let’s cross our fingers that the outcome is good, otherwise I’ll be forced to show you my whoops project and how embarrassing would that be? The inspiration pictures below are what jump started the idea for his room. Maybe it’s because the color “Hale Navy” by Benjamin Moore screams “boy” to me, or maybe because I painted the vast majority of my house “Accessible beige” but I needed some dramatic color in my life. After putting it on his walls this past weekend, we have no regrets!

Full-Room Navy-Nursery-Rocker-Crib

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Any given weekday

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Yesterday morning Ollie woke up at 5:30 a.m. A good half hour before my alarm was about to go off, ya know…just the right amount of time to where I couldn’t get back to sleep once I had tide him over with his weight in cheerios and put about every toy he owns in his crib to keep him occupied till I could finish getting ready. Once out of the shower and dressed we start the dance of getting him dressed. Which pretty much takes me straddling him on the bed to get his t-shirt and shorts on. These days he thinks it’s so funny to roll off his changing table and run away from me while laughing hysterically and so we’ve reverted to the bed, where I can properly restrain him. You’d think this would annoy me, but it doesn’t. You have to see his roll, it’s damn near acrobatic and done with such a fantastic grin that I can’t help but laugh.

After getting him dressed I take him (and Henry, his bunny of course) down stairs to get his shoes on. Thankfully I am prepared with another to-go bag of cheerios to distract him,  both while I lace his shoes up and the five minute car ride to daycare where he may scream for my keys which are IN the ignition in order for us to get from point A to point B. Lately I’ve realized that if I ask him questions he will refrain from trying to gravitate towards every object he can not have and I’ve really grown to love our morning conversations. Especially since “yes” seems to be his favorite word. So I can pretty much ask him anything I want and the answer will be “yes!”

“Ollie, are you excited to go to school today?”  “Yes!”
“Ollie, what are you going to do at school?” “Yes!”
“Will you miss mommy?” “Yes!”
“Ollie, will you sleep in tomorrow?” “Yes!”
False promises.

We arrive at school and I punch in the security code to get in, well actually, HE punches the code or rather I HELP him push the code to get us in. Once in, I pretty much look around feeling like the worst mom ever for having to leave him at daycare for an entire day of his life. He looks up at me like he gets it but wishes the same.

Work goes by and it’s finally time to pick him up from daycare. It is my favorite time of day. I pull up and he’s already in the window smiling. He watches me as I walk towards the entrance and by the time I go to open the door to his classroom he’s standing there with arms wide open (and Henry usually dangling out of his mouth). We embrace and then it’s generally a tough ride home as he’s cranky and in need of a snack and already over my presence. I do all but speed (OK, I speed a little) to try and get us there as quick as possible but still in one piece.

I give him a yogurt or banana or anything BUT cheerios to keep his little belly full long enough to where we can get dinner cooking. Chris grills some chicken and invites him to help. He is adamant about bringing “Dada” the plate he needs outside and walks it so carefully over to Chris, I’m pretty sure it took 20 minutes. Ollie is a pretty good eater for the most part, but he is getting pickier. I’m forced as a mom to walk the fine line of avoiding forcing him to eat and you know, keeping him from showing bone. So if you are wondering what that looks like, it’s usually me running around with food on a fork making airplane noises and sputtering about and basically looking like a fool in my kitchen to get this kid to finish his beans and chicken. He does eventually and I’m so happy with him I give him a spoonful of Nutella. He loves it and cries for another. I give him a small second serving because he basically owns me (and he DID eat his dinner).

Bath time is usually given by daddy but this particular day Chris had to coach a Lacrosse game. Ollie is usually very excited about bath time initially,but it takes a good 2 minutes in there till he’s realized he’s done. I’ve got to conjure up energy to distract him with his toy boat and Captain Jack and mommy ducky and Fred the Dinosaur all while trying to scrub every square inch of his body. We are trying to learn “put your head back” but mostly I end up just having to drench him a few times to get the shampoo out of his hair, he’s a pretty good champ about it actually. Of course there is the every other second “sit down” instruction as to avoid a SECOND trip to the ER due to him slipping in the bath. I may have well been in the bath too as I’m somehow drenched.

Time for hair brushing and teeth brushing. Hair brushing isn’t a favorite in our house because of tangles. When it comes time for teeth  brushing he’s on a “do it his own kick” but I’m pretty pleased because I have actually taught him to stick his toothbrush out and get toothpaste, then to put water on it and stick it in his mouth. He mainly sucks on it and I have to pry it away and really brush his teeth for a good few minutes, but then it’s story time.

Story time is the best example of how little focus a toddler has. He brings me Goodnight Moon every night first, like it’s his favorite…I can’t even get “red balloon” out of my mouth (which if you aren’t a parent it’s like the third line) before he’s off to grab another book. Generally I will read aloud three books to myself as it’s apparent that he’s over story time and has moved on to Legos before I grab him, Henry, Giraffe and blankie and put them in bed. I tell him I love him (because I do more than anything) and give him a bunch of kisses. Then I start to close his door but only slowly because I know he’s a bout to go Mmmmm, which is what he does when he wants another kiss. I bust back in the room for a few more smooches and he laughs and the routine continues about 5 or 6x before I call it quits and tell him it’s absolutely, positively night-night.

It’s 8:00pm and it’s my time. I watch tv for an hour or so and then it’s time to do it all over again tomorrow. I crawl in bed and think about how lucky I am to have my little family and how I would l be so lost in this world should anything ever happen to them. What I don’t have is a lot of free time, but what I DO have is a lot of small magical moments that happen throughout the day that add up to one giant relationship that I cant imagine my life without.

On any given weekday that is what our life could look like. Plus or minus a few home projects, errands or obligations. I figure when I’m not posting I might as well convey what is going on behind the scenes, this way no one has to wonder. I know a lot of that sounds like work, but it’s such a beautiful life. I wouldn’t have it an other way.

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Office Space Progress…

office1

So here is the office as it stands now. We are pretty pleased with how it looks with how little time and money we’ve spent on it. Other than some curtains, paint and that stellar pouf I found on Target on MAJOR clearance, we pretty much have used everything we already owned to try and pull something together. Right now we are still using the furniture we bought in college but we were pleasantly surprised by the exact fit of both Ikea Expedit bookshelves side by side, giving the room a sort of “built in” look. Eventually we’d like to move the bookshelves down in the basement to Oliver’s play area and build wood shelving similar to these baby’s!

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We’d also love to find a standalone desk, but purchasing new office furniture is low on the priority list. I rounded up any book, organizational bin or sentimental chachki we owned and just spent a Saturday toying around with the décor. It was one of the first rooms in the house to feel “lived in” and I absolutely love the color. Depending on the time of day it can look grey, green or blue. The color is Benjamin Moore, Templeton Gray.

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So what’s left on our to-do list?

First up is to replace the cieling light fixture and swapping out the brass door knobs for black levers.  I’m on the hunt for lighting that is natural, some sort of bamboo drum pendant or maybe burlap, but contemporary. Also, we want to put a rug in here (I have a specific one picked out but it’s pricey so we’ll have to save for that), as well as replace the computer chair, purchase or build a barcart, replace the blinds and eventually, the floors. We’ll get it fine tuned eventually, but for now it’s functional and works for us while we tackle other projects around the house.

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I’ll keep ya updated as we score some hopeful deals and evolve the space…

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The Office-Before

996cb7eb-b979-4795-a5f7-401abf0630ee_zps2c929bd5 (listing photo)

When I was looking at our home for the first time I was happy to see that it had a designated office. As in, on the main floor, no closet, closed off by french doors. A friend of mine always laughs that we have had an “office” in every house we’ve lived in, as I guess it’s not traditional in the sense that everyone has their laptops these days and is on the go. Or maybe it was humorous because neither of us worked from home or really needed that kind of space. But I always liked having it to pay our bills, surf the internet, blog, etc. and whether it was a bedroom that was turned into an office or a loft space in our most recent town home, it’s nice to continue the tradition in our first home.

There is nothing completely terrifying about the before picture, although there was a lot of mallard decor (note the bird on the ceiling). It had a large window and beautiful french doors already so really all it needed was a fresh coat of paint and some of our own furniture. Phase 1 was to paint the ceiling, trim and walls, replace the outlets and light switches, swap out the door handles and get our own furniture in there.

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With that being said, I’ll show some pictures of where the office stands next week! We’ve realized that this house isn’t going to come together in mere months and that there is going to be multiple stages. Right now all our efforts are on on updating the basics. Getting all the rooms painted, replacing hardware and light fixtures, etc. You will see there was a lot of oak in our home, which is typical in the midwest. Unfortunately for us, we are accustomed to white trim and so we’ve had an uphill battle in terms of painting all of it. This house will be a work in progress but what I can show is our “transitional” office. It’s not a finished product by any means but completed enough to be deemed “done” for the time being. I’ll talk more about our future plans next week…

Hope you all have a great weekend!

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