Saturday, January 23, 2016

Selling and Buying: Home Edition

This is the year! This is the year we list the house, and hopefully sell it quicker than I can imagine. I'm so nervous about living in a house that I'm trying to sell, with six kids! I'm thinking we may have to go the "open house" route. Most stuff will be packed away in storage when we list the house. But first we are finishing up some projects.

I knocked out a few projects last year. Obviously did the exterior work (see previous post). Before Thea was born I got this major itch to redo our master bedroom. I knew she'd be sleeping with us for at least the first few weeks (she's still in there with us at 4-months-old!) so I wanted it painted and given enough time to air out before she arrived.

I don't have a real good before. I just found some random shots of my room. The walls were dark green, the trim was painted brown. Blech! Dark on dark. The room felt like a dark hole, and not in a good way.


 We went with Sherwin Williams paint. I usually use pretty cheap paint. I did not realize how expensive Sherwin Williams was until after my paint was mixed. I'm so glad I went ahead with the purchase because this paint is amazing! We went with Sea Salt in matte finish for the walls and semi-gloss Alabaster for the trim. The exterior trim on our house was also done in Alabaster. It's the Sherwin Williams color of the year for 2016. We're so hipster.

Progress Shot! Rooms are so much easier to paint when you just have to do the walls. The trim/woodwork is so tedious. Especially as I was using oil-based paint so it was just so so so sticky and stinky! Why oil-based for the trim? It is strong enamel and easier to wipe clean. I wanted durability. The walls were latex but we're not touching walls like we touch door frames and window frames.
 Ta da! The effort was all worth it. My room went from dungeon dark to light and airy! This picture doesn't do it justice and still looks dark but that's just a bad pic. It's gorgeous in person. Such a calm, serene color.

 I was still cleaning up, but the painting was done, and yes our bed is on cinderblocks. We sold our bed frame and cinderblocks are a cheap alternative until we upgrade to a king-sized bed, from queen-sized. Notice the ugly light fixture and ceilings: that is what is left on my To Do for the master! Painting the ceiling white and maybe replacing the fixture (we may not and let new homeowners pick out a light they want).

Okay another part of our master was the little extra room. It's been many things. Now it's our walk-in closet. It's big, it's beautiful. Check it out!

"Closet" BEFORE (our AC broke twice last year so we got a window unit and everyone slept in our room until the AC was fixed, hence all the extra people and clutter here).

After! I love coming in here to sit. The nursery glider is in there right now and it's a cozy nook.

Daniel and I bought a pine board and a pine pole, cut them each in half. Then we used white closet brackets to attach it all together into the studs in the wall, creating an inexpensive and open closet system. The little white bookcase fit, on the left, perfectly between the wall and the shelves we built. I need to redo the white bookcase but it's not attached to anything and can be taken out and painted any time I get the urge to paint yet another piece of furniture.

While I had the stinky enamel trim paint out, for our bedroom trim, I started in on the downstairs bathroom trim. The door and baseboards came primed from the store, but they were never painted. I learned my lesson with painting the baseboards in my bedroom: use tape! Latex paint, no big deal. But oil paint? Tape, tape, tape.

 Our downstairs bathroom was gutted and done for us by our brother-in-law. He did a fantastic job and we just love it. The walls are Tranquility (a paint from Lowe's but I forget brand) and the trim is Sherwin William's Alabaster. At this point, all that is left to do in this bathroom is to put the vent plate in and touch-up  a little ceiling paint.

 I was so done with painting by the time I got to this door. But I'm so proud of it every time I walk into the bathroom and see how clean and glossy it looks now. Before it was painted it got extremely dirty from the kids' hands and it couldn't be cleaned off! You can see toward the top of the door that it is yellowed and stained looking, yuck. The primer just soaked all the dirt up. Now the door is wipe-able and beautiful. Taking the doorknob off was such a good idea. I was able to paint much quicker without it in the way.


Thanks for checking out my updates! I realize the pics are mostly dark and not the greatest but I'm not a photographer and used my phone for most of them, ha! The rooms look way better and brighter in person.
There are only two major projects left to do before we are ready to get the house appraised and listed. Those would be the upstairs bathroom (I'm actually in the middle of painting it right now) and gutting the kitchen.

Upstairs bath: finish painting, new sink faucet, new toilet.

Kitchen: replace all the walls, paint walls and ceiling, put in new cabinets and counters.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Fourth Month

We have been back-to-school from winter break but today it's been very relaxed. Today it is snowing these big fluffy snowflakes. The baby and Silas are napping while Abigail bakes Snickerdoodle cookies, Zoe and Judah attempt to clean up Legos that were dumped everywhere and Elaina is playing on her Kindle. Almost 2pm and we still haven't started a lesson, oops.

I could get frustrated about it, or I could let it go and start something momentarily. It was a three-cups-of-coffee kind of morning for me. It's going to be a leftovers-for-dinner kind of night. Because baby kept me up all night with her restlessness and first cold. And because I've been busy selling used books online and just trying to play with the kiddos. Sometimes I just need to stop and really look them in the eye and say, "I hear you. I see you. I love you."

So Miss Thea turned 4-months-old this month! She is still such a sweet and happy girl. Lately she has wanted to be held, seemingly constantly. She's been suckling and chomping on her fingers. Only mommy will do, for the most part. She's smitten with her daddy and I've been able to leave the house solo a few times for quick errands (usually my exclusively breastfed babies go everywhere with me because we don't have bottles).

 Four-Month Beauty

Roly-poly with the prettiest almond-shaped eyes.
Thea is trying really hard to roll over now. She makes this whining-shrieking sound when she gets tired (I have jokingly referred to the sound as a "stuck pig" because that is what it reminds me of). She has lost almost all of her hair and has some lovely cradle crap. She's really liking this Peek-a-Boo game that Mommy started playing with her lately. She thinks it is hilarious when we jiggle her arms and make her dance. Her laughs are mostly silent but I can get some good sounding belly laughs from her when I tickle all her chins (ha) and behind her thighs. 

One of her favorite things is diaper changing time. I've never known a baby to be calmed down, from crying, by simply laying them down and taking their diaper or clothes off. She's never had a rash so it's not seemingly discomfort. She just likes being undressed. She will stop crying and start grinning (like the B&W pics above). Her newest thing is to lift up both legs and crash them down together, over and over, when I change her. Not so fun if she does it before I can move a dirty diaper out of the way because it gets on her feet, ew!

She also loves the television. If it is on she will crane her neck to try and see it. Her biggest entertainment comes in the form of five big siblings, though. She loves all of them and gets delighted to see them. 

I love waking up to her sweet, sleepy grins and shrieks. She's such a wonderful blessing!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Better Every Year

Each Christmas that passes gets better and better. The kids really get into the giving spirit now. They are remembering Christmas past. They still get sparkly eyes and are full of wonder at all the festivities. It really is a wonderful time of year!

At Nonna and Poppy's house on Christmas

We're all sugared out from all the goodies we've baked and we are enjoying playing games. We are still waiting for snow, though I'm not personally in any hurry. It sure feels cold outside! Perhaps we will ring in the new year with some flurries.

We hope you had a Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Photo Dump December

So not a whole lot has been going on over here. We are back to homeschooling, after Thanksgiving break. One more week until we are on Christmas break. My brain looks forward to these breaks. I'm one of those people who strive to be organized but sometimes it backfires real bad. These breaks allow me to get my act back together. School is one of those areas where I'm constantly fine-tuning. There are so many kids and personalities and needs... and only one me. I seriously think teachers are amazing souls. If you teach I applaud you. This gig isn't for the faint of heart. You have to be flexible to change but stern about making sure you meet the goals.

Homeschooling this year has been interesting. Things that I thought the girls would really enjoy were met with pouts and the grumps. I have to tell you that when you work overtime to make something special, it is really hard to not take it personal when they could care less. It stings. And makes me question my abilities. And then I tell myself to stop having a pity party and keep at it. They almost always come around! For instance, I wanted them to each pick a planet in our solar system to research in depth. Oh the moans and groans! You'd have thought I asked them to eat sardines. I let them have their fit and let them mull the idea over and then we got 'er done. They end up having fun and learning a lot. They love to share what they learned, which is the best part.

 Thea usually sleeps through school time. <3 p="">

This season I've had so much time to craft because I'm not creating hundreds of jewelry orders, as in the past. I don't sew but I took a stab at making my own hand-sewn ornament. It's definitely got that ''handmade charm'' look to it and is not perfect. I took an old shirt, put it in a embroidery hoop and sewed on some white felt for snow and then sewed on six little snow-people to represent my six kiddies. I stuffed it with cotton balls so it's like a little ornament pillow. The perfectionist in me is trying really hard to not take it all apart and try again, lol! I'm learning that art doesn't have to be perfect to be good. It definitely doesn't have to be perfect in order to be cherished.

And then I decided to make some trees for my mantle. I have a somewhat long fireplace mantle and always throw up random Christmas knick-knacks. I wanted to go for an actual theme. My mother-in-law made these big snow-people to represent each family member and so I made trees to be their Christmas forest.

The tree on the left was made with a cardboard cereal box, jute twine and hot glue. That's it! Both of the other two were made with styrofoam cones that I found at the dollar store. The center one I used lace ribbon, carefully wrapped around and pinned into the foam, and a votive candle for the tree base. The one on the far right was burlap ribbon and these old decorative pins that I removed from a chair long ago. I have added more trees since I took this picture: a raffia ribbon tree (handmade by me) and a tall, silver, glittered one I found at the dollar spot at Target, some bottle-brush trees found at Walmart, pinecones that my eldest and I painted.

I made a felt ball garland to go over the mirror. You can kind of see the snow-people here. I have since changed the trees up. This picture was taken long before I finished the forest but wanted to show the snow family! I'll try to remember to take an updated and better picture because all the trees look so cool together.

This week has been the Week of Perler Beads. I have been staying up watching TV and making fun things for the kids to play with. Mindless entertainment + crafts = fun! I made a Tardis and a ton of colorful Daleks (I've added 8 more to this lot). My kids are obsessed with Doctor Who. I'm going to make them Doctor Who ornaments, as I do make each kid a new ornament (or two or three) each year.

In baby news, Thea is reaching for toys now. Cue my cry face! I want her to grow but at the same time she needs to stay my little baby.

Caught her dimple! She has this big, precious dimple that flashes when she makes certain faces.

Thea and me just yesterday! Showing off her baby blues.

Miss Smiley! She is so joy-filled. She is a silent laugher but I've been able to get a few giggles out of her. It's funny because she giggles out loud like she's not quite sure what is going on and it sounds a little forced. Like when you subconsciously tap your foot to music and when you realize it you're like, 'Whoa, wth". Don't know if I make sense but it is hilarious!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thea is Two-Months

i love you mom from abbie zoe and elaina   [Kids snuck onto my computer and typed that and it's just too sweet to delete!]

My six babies

I feel our family has been in the pit the better part of the year and we seem to be coming to the other side of a lot of absolute junk that has been going on. Being pregnant for 9 months of it made small problems seem huge, too. I cried more this year than I have my entire married life (almost 11 years). And no, no marital problems. But dealing with life stresses can put a strain on even the strongest couple. Happy to say we're still best friends, lol.

Being pregnant is such a joy but it's also not an easy responsibility. It's very taxing on your body, on your mind, on your emotions. I'm absolutely and wholeheartedly grateful for my sweet Thea but being pregnant was difficult. I wish I could say I am at my best during pregnancy but pain, fatigue and hormones make me feel like an overstimulated, caged feline. Couple that feeling with being stuck at home (Daniel drove his pickup to work and that's the only car we've had for a year) and you get some mad cabin fever. I really struggled with some blues after she was born. I didn't miss being pregnant but I was weepy because I knew she'd grow so fast. She is my last baby so I didn't want her to lose all her newborn-ness so quickly. I'd kind of laugh-cry because I'm not a crier and I felt silly for feeling so weepy.

She's over two-months-old now and I've been feeling much better and more myself. It feels like she's always been with us. I keep forgetting she's still so little because she's growing so fast and she just belongs. She was meant for our family. She is cooing and super smiley. She is trying to reach for toys and staying awake for longer periods of time. She is a fan of mommy and Elaina holding her but may put up a fuss with others unless she has her binky. She doesn't really cry. She'll fuss but she hasn't really cried uncontrollably or anything (Silas, my sweet boy, cried a lot so maybe his babyhood being freshest in my mind is why I'm so shocked that she's almost always happy). She sleeps really well at night but I still wake up to check on her. She may go 6-8 hours without waking/nursing at night.

We have a family car now that fits all 8 of us comfortably. Yay for no more cabin fever! We got an Expedition XLT. It's like a circus act getting everyone in and out, though, ha! I'll be taking all six kids to the store by myself tomorrow and I'm super grateful that Elaina helps me out a lot.

Elaina and Thea, the biggest and the littlest

Thursday, November 5, 2015

One Month Old

It is still surreal to know I have four daughters and two sons. When Elaina was a month old I dolled her up in this pretty cream romper with soft pastel pink flowers and got a few pictures. When Abigail came along I pulled the same romper out and ended up with a similar photo/pose for her one-month photo. So I continued the tradition and have a picture of each of my girls sleeping in the romper at the same exact age. They all look so different and yet you can tell they're sisters. My first three girls had a little fuzz for hair but Thea had a lot of hair! She's lost quite a bit of it but still has more than her sisters did at their first birthdays.

Sweet sleepy girl. She has tiny storkbites on her eyelids. She sleeps so well for a new baby! One month at 10/13/15.

She's wondering what the big flashy thing is that I keep pointing at her (camera).

This is the end of her grin. She has these HUGE, silent grins. Seriously the most joyful baby.

Some cute shots. At first she wasn't sure about sitting propped up, then she saw me, smiled and about fell over with her full body grin. Swoon!

I waited a long, long time to bathe this beauty. I wiped her neck and underarms when necessary but otherwise she didn't get a bath until she was over a month old. I have only washed her hair with water and thus far no cradle cap (I swear even the eco-conscious stuff can cause that junk). I don't have an infant tub so we used the sink. She was unsure at first but was okay once she adjusted to the water. Just check out those delicious chunky rolls! She's got rolls on top of rolls. She's even more roly-poly since this pic was taken a few weeks ago.

Fixer Upper

We have been working on our house exterior since March of this year. Replaced wood rot, scraped and painted and replaced the roof. Our house was built in 1909. We've had a lot of things we've had to fix, upgrade and replace on this old house. The exterior was no exception! So let's go on a little journey... you get to see it all in one post but it took months (and a LOT of tears on my part) to get from this first pic to the last!

Replace wood rot.

Unfortunately these guys didn't hang the gutters back up correctly after they replaced rotted wood. Wood that rotted due to poorly hung gutters. So if you recall this was a very wet year for the Midwest. It rained almost an entire month after we got the wood replaced. I bawled my eyes out every time because water would leak between the gutter and house and it would leak into the house. The new wood itself did look good and all ended up being well! Just wish they had hung the gutters up better.

STEP TWO: Scrape and paint!
Colors are Lagoon and Alabaster (Sherwin Williams)

The painters started in September when Thea was one-week-old, giving us only a few hours notice that they would begin work. Daniel started a new job where he was up all night. I was up all night with the baby. Painters started early, right as the sun came up, for 10 business days. Due to lead paint I actually took all six kids over to my in-laws' house for the first couple days while scraping was done. It was insane!

I was so nervous when I saw just the blue on the house with all the old brown trim. But the white trim started balancing it all out. This paint company was overpriced and underwhelming, very sloppy. We complained and got some money off but overall I would not recommend the company. I'm going to have to fix some things on the first level. I hate hiring people to do work, have I ever mentioned that? The end result is still beautiful overall...

Ta da!


Our roof was 100% free to us and they did a phenomenal I-can't-complain job. Funnily enough we had issues with the contractors who replaced the rotted wood and the painters, both of which were paid by us. Go figure! I assume their good job was due to the fact that the city inspector inspects the work when they're done. Can't beat free and can't beat a job that is done well.

So how was the roof free?! I saw that a grant was available for weatherization and roofing on our city website. I applied to have our roof replaced. We were approved!

The city sent out their professional inspector and he measured everything and wrote up the work order. The city hired the roofers and paid them from the grant money. We picked out our shingle color (dark charcoal) from a limited selection. Roofers came out the week after the painters left and got the old roof removed and the new one laid in just three days. They kicked butt and our roof looks amazing! They caulked, put in new flashing, and properly replaced rotted wood around the chimney stack where it would leak (the contractor we hired and paid to do that, back at Step One, didn't do it right and it still leaked).

I was so ecstatic for the first rain to fall after the roofers were done. I had to wait several days and finally it rained... and NO LEAKS. Roofs are so expensive. We would never have been able to afford it after all the other work we had done. I am so grateful for the grant. I am grateful that I don't have leaks inside anymore. If the roofers hadn't come and done the work, fixed the gutters... we'd be causing more damage and making more expensive fixes later on. THANK YOU ROOFERS!


If you've followed me for a long time then you know we've been waiting for this moment for several years. She's finally painted up and all pretty! The porch needs attention but at least the major, major work is done.