Tuesday, March 30, 2010

the things we do to get what we want

We hummed and hawwed for weeks over countertop material for the family room and mudroom cabinets. We knew what we didn't want (laminate) and I knew what I really wanted. I just had to talk Mark into it. And get a quote for everything else under the sun to see how it compared and justify the cost.My top pick was Cambria. (photo above is from the website's photo gallery, not our house) It is a natural quartz product that is completely non-porous (unlike granite) and extremely hard. It's the only quartz product made in the USA and (my favorite) the colors are more consistent (again, unlike granite or other mined stone where you can pick out your slab). And, because it's non-porous, it is resistant to stains and bacteria growth. Not a big deal in the family room or mudroom, but since we wanted the same material in the kitchen, that was very important to me. While making lasagna one weekend, I pulled out our Cambria sample (which is practically white) and put a dab of pasta sauce on it. After I got our dinner in the oven about a half hour later, I wiped it clean. No stains. Other people have tested it with fruit juice and felt tip markers with the same success.

The kicker is the cost. The granite that we chose was comparable in cost to Cambria but I wasn't feeling the love with granite. We even quoted Corian just to see where the price was at. Less expensive, but the look is so much different too. From paint to tile to cabinets, we are very lucky to have connections with industry professionals and get great discounts. Even so, we started cutting back on some other renovation expenses to start 'saving up' for Cambria countertops.
  • We saved $150 by changing the depth of our mudroom closet shelving from 20" deep to 16" deep. We didn't realize until after the fact that the extra 4" was completely unnecessary.
  • We saved over $200 by opting for a Home Depot closet organizer in our bedroom instead of Ikea.
  • We saved $150 by changing the size of our bathroom tile from 6" x 24" to 12" x 24". This savings was kind of a blessing in disguise because the 6" x 24" size was out of stock.
  • We saved over $200 by reconfiguring the sizes of the cabinets for the mudroom and master bath. We actually gained more space by going with shorter but deeper cabinets - much more versatile for all of our potential storage needs.
  • Mark carefully removed all of the old door and base trim and reused every little bit that he could because it was perfectly salvageable. Not sure how much that saved - I'm guessing several hundred dollars. No reason to put all of that wood in a landfill just to buy new trim.
Our countertops for the family room and mudroom were templated last Friday and it should be 2-3 weeks by the time they get our slabs in the shop and fabricated. No worries though. I'm glad we investigated all of our options. Plus, countertops are not holding us up from moving on with the rest of the renovation.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

month 03 goal 02

Start my pregnancy album for baby2.
I spent a couple hours this weekend assembling what I have so far for my pregnancy album - formatting and printing journaling, trimming down ultrasound photos and putting the pages in order. Until I ran out of page protectors. I need to pick up at least one more pack, plus print the belly pictures I've taken so far before this album starts to look somewhat complete and caught up.

It's a super simple format - journaling + photos, plus congratulations cards and the pregnancy test. And a fill-in-the-blank timeline of dates like this:

Day I got my first positive pregnancy test:
Day I got my second positive pregnancy test:
Day I called the doctor to make my first appointment:
Day we told family/friends:
First doctor appointment and ultrasound:
Second ultrasound (to confirm vanishing twin):
Day I blogged about our newest family member:

Second trimester started:
Third ultrasound / day we found out we were having a boy:
Third trimester started:
Fourth ultrasound (to check placenta previa):
Estimated due date:

So, as long as I stay caught up on my journaling, this album should be filled up just as soon as our little boy is born. Some of the journaling was as easy as copying and pasting my blog posts, but those have come to an end. Too much drama, so I'll just keep it to myself. Lesson learned. I have 7 prenatal visits left if he goes to his due date, so there should be no shortage of things to write about. Can't wait to add another sweet and meaningful album to my collection.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

a late weekend review

Last weekend was nothing short of productive and eventful. I'll start at the top:

  • our carpet arrived at the installer's warehouse last week. Our floors in the renovation are completely cleared off and we'll be getting our new carpet on Thursday.
  • all of the door and base trim is painted, as well as the fireplace and the skylight wells in the family room.
  • master closet shelving is assembled. But not without a trip to the ER. Mark cut open his left index finger on Saturday night while scribing the shelving to the wall. After 2 hours at the hospital and 4 stitches, he is good as new and I was absolutely faint. Thank goodness his mom was here to take him to the hospital. I nearly passed out in my pancakes on Sunday morning just listening to them talk about it.
  • I started to fill all of our new closets in the family room, mudroom and laundry room. I love organization. I can't wait to start filling up all of the cabinets too. Even if I have no idea what to put in them yet.
  • countertop material has finally been chosen. More on that later. First they will come to measure and template. Installation should be in 2-3 weeks.
  • tile for the master bath is here and waiting for us to pick up, probably this weekend. Tiling may be sooner than I thought.
Sooo...with all this progress, we might just be moving back over to the west side this weekend. Can you believe it? Lots of photos to come.

Monday, March 22, 2010

fun mail

Doesn't this little sweater look like something out of the pages of a baby J.Crew catalog?I got a surprise package in the mail last weekend from my friend Sue. Baby2's first gift - the sweetest (and oh-so-soft) hand-knit navy blue sweater for our little guy's first winter. How cute is he going to be in this sweater and some teeny tiny khakis?

Huge hugs and many thanks Sue. You do beautiful work! Now I need to find out what a girl needs to do to get one in my size.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

month 03 goal 06

Brainstorm ideas for baby2's first year album.

I spent some time this last week trying to come up with something different for baby2's first year scrapbook. Something different than Morgan's. Truth is, I really love Morgan's album. What I didn't love was how long it took me to complete it - seven months after she turned one. With 2 kids, I don't anticipate a lot of time to scrapbook in the next year, so, while baby2's album will have a lot of the same content as Morgan's, I think it will be a little simpler to put together.

My first step was to list all of the things I wanted to include in his album, especially from his first days. A sort of Table of Contents:
  • story of the day - labor + delivery / Cesarean section, how it all went down...
  • his first photos after delivery
  • copies of our hospital bills
  • our first photos as a family of four
  • photos with our hospital visitors
  • newborn identification sheet (his footprints, stats...)
  • our hospital ephemera (bassinet tags, hospital id bracelets...)
  • photos and journaling about the day we went home
  • family tree
  • 'baby's world' printout to fill out by hand. Includes info like who the President is, popular movies and television shows, famous celebrities and atheletes, the cost of a gallon of gas, postage stamp, car, house...
  • 'baby's firsts' printout to fill out his firsts when they happen: smile, laugh, haircut, rolled over, crawled, walked, said 'mama' and 'dada'...
  • copy of his birth announcement
  • photos of his nursery
Much of this stuff I'll just slip into a standard page protector but the actual scrapbook layouts will be 12" x 12". Because of the mix in sizes, I made a storyboard for each spread, just to make sure I had the right layout on the right size paper and vice versa. I wanted all of my fronts and backs to be covered.I put my page protectors in order and even went so far as to print inserts for each one labeling what I planned to go inside. Can you tell I'm trying to make this the easiest album ever?

Beyond that, my plan is to do a 2-page spread for his first day, first week and then each month - one thru twelve - ending with his first birthday party. The first/left page will be just one photo and mostly journaling about the highlights of that month. The second/right page will be a multi-photo collage. For the most part, I'm going to digital/hybrid scrapbook these layouts. Especially the photo collages. I found some perfect (and free) layered templates on OScraps. I've already downloaded this one and about a half dozen others from Paislee Press, and I also really like the simplicity and options of this Ali Edwards template.On Friday, I spent some of my gift card from the Scrapbook Zone garage sale and bought a 12x12 American Crafts album (Just like Morgan's album. I have a hard time buying anything but these albums lately) and lots of patterned paper. I can't make this album completely digital - I still love to play with paper! Between what I already have at home and what came with the album, I have enough page protectors for the whole year plus all of the extra stuff too.

I'm so proud (patting self on back). I more than brainstormed baby2's first year album, I set it all up. It's now sitting on my bookshelf, ready to be filled. But not just yet...10 weeks and counting.

Monday, March 15, 2010

month 03 goal 01

Make a list of things to do before baby2 is born.

If the last seven months are any indication as to how fast the next two are going to go, I thought I'd consult my handy little pregnancy journal I used when I was pregnant with Morgan to try to refresh my memory on what I should be doing right now to prepare. It is full of important stuff to remember to do - before and after baby is born. The end is near and here is what I still need to do:
  • make an appointment to tour the labor and delivery unit at the hospital. I had Morgan at Providence Hospital in Southfield but I plan on delivering baby2 at the Providence Park Hospital in Novi, which was completed right after Morgan was born. Southfield is very nice, but my OB is right on campus in Novi. And if you know Mark and I, you will know once you see this building why we want to be here. Right babe?
  • arrange care for Morgan while we are in the hospital. VBAC or C-section. Scheduled or on-the-fly. Either way, we are going to need someone to occupy our little girl while we are in the hospital for a couple days. We are now accepting applications. :)
  • start washing baby2's clothes, linens and diapers.
  • think about baby announcement design, supplies to buy and how many to make. Ohhh...another craft project. Surprised?
  • pack our hospital bags.
  • sterilize bottle nipples and pacifiers.
  • scoot Morgan's car seat over and install the infant car seat.
  • figure out the best route to the hospital.
  • get a haircut and mommy-to-be pedicure.
  • oh yeah, and set up his nursery! More on that later...

It's going to be quiet around here this week. If you are following along at all, I've saved the two best (and hardest) to-do's for last, so that's what I'm going to be working on for the rest of the month.

That, and doing anything and everything I can to help get our renovation done. Carpet is the last step and it should be installed in a couple weeks. We have plenty of other little projects to work on in the meantime. It's non-stop up in here and doesn't appear to be slowing down any time soon.

Have a great week!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

month 03 goal 04

Go through Morgan's old stuff and figure out what we need for baby2.

the day that we had our new furnace installed, the three of us were huddled in front of a space heater most of the day, watching movies. I took advantage of the down time and asked Mark to pull out all of Morgan's old clothing bins, as well as the bin I had already started filling with Morgan's old but clean and unstained gender neutral clothing for baby2. After I had all of the sizes separated, I started making a little inventory of what else he may need. Things like side snap t's (which I loved when Morgan's umbilical cord was still attached) and 0-3 month pants for cool summer mornings and evenings. Other than that, we are pretty much set for the summer with clothing.
Some other goodies that are on my list:
  • bottle liners and nipples (we'll re-use Morgan's Playtex Nursers)
  • backup formula (just in case - I do not want to jinx myself though...)
  • pacifiers (this time I will remember to sanitize these with the bottle nipples before he is born)
  • our bottle drying rack is perfectly fine but I can't stop looking at this one either.
  • diapers and wipes, of course. I am still aiming for cloth.
  • diaper bag. I can easily fill up the one we have just to go out to dinner with Morgan. We are going to need one that is a little bigger for 2 kiddies. This one is at the top of my list right now. I'm hoping to see it in person at a local store before I commit.
  • We already have a nice front carrier that we used with Morgan but this time I kind of want to try a sling. I remember holding Morgan most of the time most days and I'm anticipating needing my hands free a lot being home with a newborn and a toddler. Maybe one like this?
Then I got on a roll and rummaged through Morgan's dresser and our bathroom for things I want to stock up on duplicates of - so I have one for each of their rooms. Stuff like:
  • baby lotion
  • Vaseline
  • Q-Tips and cotton balls
  • diaper cream
  • nasal aspirator
  • and if he has his sister's hair, a comb.
Everything else that they will both use (thermometer, Infant Tylenol and Motrin, teething tablets, etc) can be kept in the bathroom with the other medicine and toiletries.

Then there's the household necessities that we should stock up on in a couple months:

  • paper products like toilet paper, paper towel, napkins and Kleenex
  • paper plates
  • dishwashing detergent
  • laundry detergent
  • postage stamps
  • toiletries like shampoo, shower gel, deodorant and toothpaste
K, I think that is enough lists for now. Can you think of anything I'm forgetting?

Tomorrow our little family is heading to Elephant Ears in Ann Arbor because Morgan is in dire need of new tennis shoes. Maybe I can make a little dent in the list and find some cute things for baby2 also.

3 projects down, 3 to go.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Welcome third trimester. 28 weeks down, 12 to go. So close to the single digits. The excitement is slowly turning into nerves. I'm getting so anxious to meet this little guy. Deep breath.

On Monday, I had my 28 week appointment and glucose screening. 10 ounces of flat Sunkist-pop-tasting beverage + 1 hour of waiting + blood draw = fun times. I think I would have heard by now if I 'failed' so I'm assuming no news is good news. No gestational diabetes. Doc said all is good. Bi-weekly appointments start now until May - my next visit is in two weeks.

This morning was my ultrasound to check his placenta. Result: it moved right up to where it should be. Yeah! And he is still a he. And she also estimated his weight to be 2 pounds 14 ounces right now. Yup, "on the big side". I get that. I'm having another big baby. Thank you very much for the reminder. He looks perfect and happy to me. Even if he wasn't interested in having any pictures taken. He stayed in the fetal position, hand in his face, looking down most of the time.

As for me, I'm feeling pretty good actually. Sometimes he feels so low. Like 'where's the bathroom' low. Sometimes he's doing yoga in my ribcage. He is moving around a ton. No fantastic cravings to share - just a desire to eat a bowl of Cocoa Pebbles right before bed. Believe it or not, I think it helps me sleep better. My nose is experiencing multiple personalities this week - runny, stuffed, faucet, can't breathe. I would really like to go a month without being sick.

That's all on the babyfront.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

month 03 goal 03

Organize my recipe binder.

Over the years I've used several different means to organize my recipes. For a while I was using a half sized (5 1/2" x 8 1/2") binder and I would type out all of my recipes in very specific categories. I know. It got too anal, even for me. So I pulled out my favorite regular recipes and started over. This time with a regular old 1" binder and lots of page protectors.

Instead of categories for veggies, poultry, cookies, etc., I consolidated them by meal and made a tab for each:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Sweets
  • Other

This size was way easier for me to manage all of the internet printouts and magazine pages I've ripped out. Now I just slip them into a page protector. Easy. Except it was getting too full and I was using the front pocket to stuff way too many random papers.

So, last week I pulled everything out of the binder. I went through every recipe, kept the favorites and tossed the ones I've been meaning to try (seriously, if I printed it in 2008 and we still haven't tried it - too bad, so sad) and made room for new recipes.

I also typed a list for each tab to include every meal idea I could think of - recipe or not. This list kind of works hand in hand when making my monthly dinner plan and helps me avoid having chicken or pasta too often.Part of this little project was to go through all of my dozens of Rachael Ray magazines and list the recipes I want to make, which wasn't as hard as it sounds. Back in the day, as I received and read through each issue, I had written on a sticky note on the cover the page number and name of the recipes that sounded yummy. But after we moved, they were kind of 'out of sight, out of mind' and I forgot about them. So really, I just had to consolidate that list and make it more accessible. Again, in my breakfast, lunch, dinner, sweets and other categories. I typed them up, printed each sheet and slipped it right behind my meal idea list for that tab. Note to self: don't do that again when you're pregnant and hungry.

While this project wasn't terribly time intensive, it was a long time coming and it's going to make my monthly dinner planning that much easier. I've accepted the fact that when baby2 arrives, my dinner planning is going to go right out the window for several months. But, when it comes time to stock up the fridge and pantry with quick and easy meals, I'll have to use a little less of my mommy brain to plan and shop with.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Thornbrook Renovation: Chapter 6

It's been a while since I've updated about our renovation. There has been a lot of finish work going on and after last weekend, this space is really starting to shine. Just busy, busy, busy - here's what's been going on on the west side, including some sneak peak pictures:Installed cabinets in the master bath, mudroom and family room. I was impressed with how quickly Mark and his dad got them in. I shouldn't be though. My man is meticulous about his prepwork so this part went very smoothly.

Installed new doors to the garage and laundry room, as well as new flat panel doors (buh-bye pocket doors!) for our bedroom, master bath and the guest bedroom. Need to be primed and painted.
Bought paint and painting supplies. Last week we spent our evenings priming everything and stopped at Sherwin Williams after work one evening to get the fun stuff (colors!). Last Friday I started painting and by Sunday afternoon, the painting was complete. What colors did we choose? The family room, guest bedroom and hallways are Collanade Gray (warm taupe-y gray). Our bedroom is Mineral Deposit (blue-gray). Ceilings, closets and trim are Snowbound (white). Two huge thumbs up on everything. Paint makes me nervous even though it is so easy to redo. The photo above was from yesterday afternoon - looks like we've easily gone through 10 cans of paint and primer in about one week.Picked out and ordered tile for the master bath. This will be a project in itself and luckily we have another bathroom, so we will likely complete this room after we've moved back over to this side of the house.

Measured and planned out the shelving for the mudroom closet and walk-in closet. Installing the closet shelving is on the to-do list for next weekend.

Still considering countertop material. The granite we like is on it's way up from Brazil and after getting through a frozen harbor, customs and the ride up to Michigan, it probably won't be here until April. We're not sure we want to wait that long.

Reinstalled the base and door trim throughout. Needs to be painted.
Purchased and picked up our bamboo wood flooring for the mudroom and closet. Mark and his mom installed it Saturday morning (another quick installation) and the floors look awesome.
Picked out carpet for the family room and bedrooms. Now that the wood floors and cabinetry are in, we can schedule a measure and order our carpet shortly thereafter.

I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel! I imagine some room-by-room reveals coming soon.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Morgan: 21 months

is talking up a storm. A couple of her newest words are shovel and skateboard.

knows her colors 90% of the time. Red is the one that stumps her. The last couple of weeks have been filled with her telling us what color everything is. The grandmother of one of Morgan's classmates picked up her granddaughter a couple of weeks ago while Morgan was in the middle of reciting her colors. She was concerned and wondered why her granddaughter didn't know hers. Their teacher told her not to worry, but also not to compare her to Morgan. 'Morgan is on her own level.' Woah! After all, she is the first born of two first borns, right Grandma Goulding? Brag session over (for now).
has moved on from loving to eat snow to loving to eat ice. Daddy snuck her an icicle off the gutters and she is hooked. Yeah, I know, choking hazard. I suppose you wouldn't want to hear that we give her (cut up) grapes, hot dogs and popcorn too, huh? Send me to mommy prison. :)
confirmed that all of her incisors are in, so she has all of her teeth besides her 2 year molars.
learned that we shouldn't run errands in the morning. I thought a little running around would wear her out, but I've noticed a pattern that even when we leave the house in the morning and get back before lunch, she is all out of whack and does not want to nap. A couple weekends ago she didn't nap until 4:30! Not cool. I'm going to try to lay off the morning errands and see what happens. Or ask someone to watch her if we really need to get something done (thanks sis!).

enjoys a couple crackers on the ride home from school. She always asks for two, one for each hand, but I asked her once if she wanted one or two. She looked at me, tilted her head, and said "three?" Uh, okay!

requests "Gabba" when we get home from school at night. She knows all of the characters and loves the episode with Jack Black. I usually indulge her in a 20-minute episode while I unpack our bags and start dinner.
and my absolute favorite: she learned the Cha Cha Slide at school. If you've been to a wedding or school dance in the last 5 years, I'm sure you know it too. Of course it's not perfect, but she knows when to clap, hop, slide left/right, stomp and put her hands on her knees. I have never wanted a video camera more - Mark and I were practically in tears last weekend watching her. It's the most adorable thing. ever.

cannot believe this little girl is going to be 2 in 3 months.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

month 03 goal 05

Make the final payment on Mark's car.

Probably the easiest to-do of the bunch. It feels good to have such a big bill paid off. It feels even better that he wants to drive it for a long long time.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


After the heating and cooling guys left on Sunday, I ran up to Scrapbook Zone to pick up my leftover garage sale items. I was delighted to see a much lighter box - just a handful of things didn't sell, as well as some idea books that I was ready to part with but will gladly keep on my shelves. The garage sale was a success! I would totally do it again. Now I have lots of spending money to gather more supplies for this month's scrapbooking projects - most likely albums, page protectors and boy-ish papers ;) There may even be another crop in the forecast.

Monday, March 1, 2010

March to-do's

Baby2 will be here in just 3 months. Here's my checklist for March:

1. Make a list of things to do before baby2 is born. Fun things like choosing a pediatrician (for both him and Morgan actually), washing all of his little clothes and installing the car seat. I need to write it all down or I know I will forget something.

2. Start my pregnancy album for baby2. I'm already a smidge disappointed in myself for not taking as many belly pictures and journaling like I did with Morgan. Need to get over that guilt and just work with what I have.

3. Organize my recipe binder that is full of the usual meals that we cook every month - toss the ones I printed and never (will) try and come up with some new ideas. I have about 3 years worth of Rachael Ray magazines that I've read and kept but always forget to refer to. I should copy those recipes that I want to try.

4. Go through Morgan's old baby stuff and figure out what we'll need for baby2 plus my postpartum goodies. Other than the nursery, nothing major, but things like a bigger diaper bag for 2 kids?

5. Make the final payment on Mark's car.
Woot woot - how do you like that for timing?

6. Brainstorm an easy-peasy scrapbook format for baby2's first year album. I like the mixed sizes of Morgan's album but might consider a more detailed 'what happened this month' layout with photo collages. Might be the perfect opportunity to dabble a little more with digital scrapbooking.

Hmm, 6 items again. Let's see how I manage for round 3. Happy March!