Category Archives: Home Sweet Home

We’re Having A….

It’s been a busy summer. I kept meaning to share an update here and there of our adventures, but without the kids in school it really was a bit of a madhouse. B and J are back in school {exhale} and C is home with me and Mary Poppins, natch. M is busy as ever with work and that upcoming election is taking a lot of his “extra” time. As for me, I’m pushing myself to get back into shape with a workout routine, but I’m having to take things slow.

My new business is picking up and my volunteer obligations this fall are in full swing. I really want to work out regularly because it makes me feel better – both body and mind. With all that’s going on I’m feeling sluggish. Plus C is almost 2 years old and with the baby weight still lingering, I keep getting a few sideways stares at my mid-section.

Well, if you didn’t know already (and I’m not sure who wouldn’t because I post a photo daily on FB) — we’re having a renovation!  Yep, no more babies for us. It would take a miracle for that now anyway 🙂 So while our home is literally going to be growing out on three sides, for once in a 5 years, I will not.

I invite you to follow the personal journal of our home renovation project. Although, the house isn’t a real baby, I have done a much better job chronicling the journey of its existence than I have with all three of the boys combined. And since the project is going to take about 9 months, I’m beginning to think we should name the house something. This could be my girl, so something like Tara or even Casa de Chaos would be appropriate. Perhaps I’ll send out move-in announcements? I know a great woman-owned brand marketing company who also happens to be my neighbor and thoughtful renovation project photographer.

Either way, I’m looking forward to welcoming our newest member of the family in early 2013: our renovated home!

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8AM Adventures

a little blurry, but i was in a blur when it happened

I’ve always heeded my mother’s advice about wearing clean underwear just in case of an emergency. As a mom myself, I have my own advice to offer: don’t bother using a self-clean oven if it’s dirty because it will just catch on fire.

At a time in the morning when most mothers were enjoying a cup of coffee (ha!) or taking their kids to school, I was calling the local Fire Department. It was bound to happen with 3 little boys, right? Too bad I can’t blame this on them.

The call went something like this:

Operator: 911. What’s your emergency?
Me: There’s a fire in my oven!
Operator: Is the fire contained?
Me: Yes, but I can’t open the oven because it’s locked!
Operator: It’s locked?
Me: It’s a self-cleaning oven and instead of cleaning it’s on fire. What do I do?
Operator: Get of the house. I’m sending a fire truck right away.
Me: But what about my kids? It’s cold outside and they’re in pajamas. {Mental Note: Always dress the kids in the morning just in case of an emergency.}
Operator: Do you have a car? Put them in your car. Go outside!

By now I could hear the sirens down the hill, but what do I do? I throw the boys in the Suburban and turn on a movie. Then I run back into the house to clean up before the firemen arrive. Because, you know, when they’re busy putting out a fire they’re still totally judging my crap housekeeping. {Mental Note: Stop waiting for a laundress and do the damn laundry before it piles up.}

The fire engine pulls up right in front of the boy’s firetruck jeep (fitting!) and out come 5 burly fireman in full uniform toting pickaxes across the yard. The man in charge asks me where the fire is and I point to the kitchen. By now the boys are ignoring the movie and fully engaged in the drama unfolding in front of them.

“Can we go inside and watch them put out the fire, Mommy?” asks B. “Are they going to get all my toys wet? Can I ride on the fire truck?”

Minutes later the man in charge returns and tells me the fire is out. No real damage. The range is essentially ruined, but the house is ok. (Depends on who you’re asking, I thought, but at least the house didn’t burn down.) Looks like I won’t be baking much of anything for a while. This is our second cheapo range since we’ve moved in. With the demo plans in less than 3 months, there’s no sense in buying a third. We’re going to be doing a lot of eating at Nana’s, eating taking out, or eating things that don’t require actual cooking.

PB&J anyone? I’ve got a pile of laundry to finish.

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Oh, Build Me A Home

will this be our dream house?

Today M and I met with a second architect. Yes, our second architect. We were originally very enthusiastic about the first architect, but as we’ve taken our time with our home renovation project we’ve learned more about them that makes us nervous. Rumors of project management problems, the sheer amount of projects they appear to have in the works – based on the number of their signs in yards around town, and the formulaic design approach we’ve begun to notice in other homes are some of our biggest concerns. Not to mention the fact they’re really expensive.

Oddly enough we met the current architect through a dear family friend who grew up with him in Orchard Park, a suburb of Buffalo. Maybe it was destiny that we’d work with him and his wife? Like us, they are a young family. Like us, they understand small budgets and big ideas. It’s not that they’re going to cut corners, but I think they can relate to us more in the sense that they’ve been there. They are there.

We really loved what the first architects provided in the original drawing, but since that initial meeting our family has changed quite a bit. What worked for us then is so drastically different from what we need now – and especially what we want for the future.

While it was an expensive learning lesson having those plans drawn up by the first architect, we did learn from it. Perhaps that’s another reason why we feel so comfortable with the new architect. We’re a little more educated, a little more aware of how the process works. We know now what we don’t want and that’s leaps and bounds ahead of where we were before.

I’ll keep you posted on our progress.

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Breaking Down Doors

not exactly the warmest of welcomes with this door

Literally. We definitely have to get the house fixed. Aside from space reasons alone, the house is falling down all around us. From cheap kitchen cabinets to DIY tile floors in the playroom to the doors on this house which are all probably original, well, I just can’t stand it. Clearly the boys can’t either. Or it’s just that they’re more mobile and much bigger.

For a while now they would poke holes in the screen in our front storm door. We would constantly tell them to stop, but it was like an itch they couldn’t quit scratching. A few months later when the door is open all the time because we have no air-conditioning, it’s like a beacon calling them to destroy it. So they did.

Part of me is happy they trashed it because I’ve always thought it was so ugly. But the rational (ie: frugal) part of me is upset because I don’t want to buy a new door since I’m not sure what kind of door we’ll have in another year when our house is finally under construction. Luckily I found a decent-looking door at Home Depot that I think will fix our problem without breaking the bank. And it comes with a glass insert so we can leave the door open in the winter for some much needed natural light without having the snow blow in!




Some Like It Hot

The heatwave has hit New England and thankfully I’m in the mountains of Utah where it’s a cool, crisp 75 degrees. My children, on the other hand, are suffering in the ridiculous heat with Mary Poppins. I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if we had air conditioning, but we don’t. Seriously. It’s 2011 and we have a portable air conditioner that stays parked and plugged in our living room for us to all enjoy it. For the bedrooms I found these fantastic looking and actually incredibly strong fans to keep a breeze going while we sleep.

As a Texas girl, I’ve never known anyone who purposely didn’t have air conditioning. And it was the last thing on my mind when we were on the hunt for our home. It was a beautiful summer day that August when we viewed this house and there was a crisp breeze coming through all the open windows. I just thought the previous owners were enjoying the breeze – and they were, I guess! Because when it gets hot this place is a sauna. So imagine my horror when I’m 5 months pregnant and the temperatures rise for the first time since we moved in that previous October. I am a mad woman searching furiously throughout the house looking for the thermostat. B and I are dressed in our skivvies and attempting to find some relief standing in front of the open refrigerator. I called M at work to see if he knew where it. I actually wondered if it was in the scary dungeon of a basement. What he told me though was much scarier: we didn’t have one. The house doesn’t have air conditioning?! OMG. I could not believe how much we paid to live here without one of the most basic of common luxuries. I knew to ask about a disposal (which is apparently even more rare to have than air conditioning up here) and septic vs. town sewer, but asking to have air conditioning in this day and age never even crossed my mind.

So, back to the kids. They are home suffering. I feel terrible but Mary Poppins is taking good care of them. Lots of pool time and popsicles. Better them than me!

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