Friday, December 11, 2015

New House Before & After: Kitchen

I already shared our family room transformation, now it's time for the kitchen!

Our two biggest complaints about our old house were lack of living space and lack of kitchen space. Our old kitchen wasn't awful, but it was pretty small.  No pantry, and a very small amount of usable counter space posed challenges for me, which was frustrating because I cook all the time and spend a lot of time in the kitchen!

When we moved one of our major sticking points was a kitchen upgrade. We didn't have a lot of specifications as to what that would look like, we just needed more space, more storage, and better function, which wasn't that hard to do considering what we had before.  I'm super happy with what we ended up with.  


The picture is actually pretty kind.  The cabinet finish was pretty worn in many places, especially on the most used cabinets. The exhaust hood was disgusting, and the pantry doors hung askew when opened. Dark cabinets aren't my preference, but if the finish was in better shape I probably would have left them for a while instead of refinishing them myself right before we moved in O.o 


I spent a week painting the cabinets white, by myself, while caring for 2 kids, with the pressure to get it done ASAP because I didn't want the kitchen to be torn up when we moved. We have 20 cabinet doors + a pie cut cabinet* + 5 drawers.  I ended up doing 4 coats of white on the fronts (2 more than the product claimed), 3 on the back, then 3 coats of protective coating on the front, 2 on the back + all of this had to be done on the actual cabinet frames as well.

I cannot strongly enough convey how badly this project sucked. I very realistically estimate that I spent 50+ hours over the course of 7 days to complete this project.  That's a lot of very tedious work and stressssssful while also having to care for kids. I thought I was going to lose my mind many a time.  By far the single worst DIY project I've ever completed.

BUT!  I finished it and I'm happy with the results and so SOOOOO (*SOOOOOOO*) glad this project is done!  

Oooooh, ahhhhhh!

Refinished the cabinets white (obviously, per my PTSD-esque flashback above), all new hardware, new refrigerator and over-range microwave, and fresh, happy paint (color: Drizzle by Sherwin Williams).

Much improved, I think!  

Still to come: very soon we will be adding blinds to the windows and we're also on the lookout for a bigger and/or expanding kitchen table now that we have more space.  Depending on how that ends up I might want to add some shelving or a hutch/cabinet/some such as well.

*So, apparently these are called pie cut cabinets?  I've more frequently heard them referred to as lazy susans.  I just call it a turner, which is probably completely made up.  ::shrug:: 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Week of December 6th

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Saturday we went to Mark's big holiday event, which is always lots of fun.

The kids got to visit with Santa.

Jack knows what's up and hopped right up on Santa's lap to make his request - a car transporter that carries LOTS of cars!  Molly was much more wary, but I give this girl credit.  Even though she was scared (warranted) she still timidly walked right up to Santa to make her request - Elsa and Anna on a bike. Pretty impressive for a scared 2 year old.

Because we that wasn't enough Christmas fun for us we then went to buy our Christmas tree!

There were A LOT of Christmas trees.  This is not good for me, who goes about everything as if there is ONE RIGHT CHOICE, even when I sometimes understand logically that this method doesn't always apply.  So... two hours (and one pretty annoyed husband) later, I found the perfect tree :D

Surprisingly I was drawn to the mid-sized trees, which I thought were so cute, but because in year's past we've had a mini-tree and we actually have room for a full-sized tree now I figured we'd better go big or go home!

Ooooh, ahhhhh!

And we continued decorating...

We even have a mistletoe!  Cute, huh?

So, now we're all decorated inside. We still need to get the outdoor stuff done, which will be a larger undertaking this year for sure.

Yesterday evening was my annual cookie exchange with friends and was all sorts of fun!  We all bring cookies and an app to share, wear comfy clothes, and have a nice relaxed evening.  I look forward to it every year!  This was my first year hosting.  It was nice, but also a lot of work to try to bake, cook, AND clean, while caring for kids that go right behind you and make a mess again and need you to stop whatever you're doing every 3 minutes.  It was a long day, but worth it!

These are the Molasses Cookies I made. I also whipped up some quick fudge.

All the cookies.

And all of the cookies that I get to keep :D

Aren't these cookie tins adorable?  Target!
Jack is Star Student of the week this week, which means he gets to kick off the week sharing a poster about his family, which will be on display all week.

Super adorable, right?!

Each day he gets to bring in something else to share: hobby (he brought a truck and talked about how much he likes playing with trucks, reading about trucks, drawing trucks, etc. :D ), favorite book (he brought in The Big Book of Mighty Machines, which... is probably not what every 5 year old is currently reading non-stop), and tomorrow he will bring in a favorite toy, and Friday he gets to share someone special so Mark is coming in for Show-and-Tell.

He's so excited about being Star Student.  He's been counting down to his turn all year!

I also *FINALLY* got the results of my lactation counselor certification exam in the mail and I PASSED!  I'm officially a certified lactation counselor!

It was a longer than usual journey amidst a crazy summer so I'm feeling very accomplished and relieved to have certification in hand!  Woot!

Here's what we're eating this week!

Sunday:  Turkey Pot Pie Soup with Parmesan Drop Biscuits

Monday:  Beef & Noodles (made with leftover beef from French Dips that I had stashed in the freezer) with Roasted Brussels Sprouts (I can't tell you how excited I am to have finally got my hands on some brussels sprouts!)

Tuesday:  Leftovers for the kids, Mark had a work party, and I hosted a cookie exchange with friends. I made Molasses Cookies (so good!  I made these last year too) and Spinach & Artichoke dip as well as some Pomegrante Sangria, yum!

Wednesday:  Leftovers

Thursday: Baked Chicken Fajitas with Guacamole

Friday & Saturday: Out

Friday, December 4, 2015

New House Before & After: Family Room

It's kind of crazy to think about but our whole house journey started right around this time last year. It's been a long year and and even LONGER 6 months, but it was all worth it. We're very happy in our new house, especially now that the big immediate projects have been finished and we're feeling more settled.

This time last year we had our first showing of this house and made an offer. We didn't actually get the house the first time around, but a few weeks later the deal fell through with the original buyers (probably because they got an inspection and realized the house needed a little more than just cosmetic work) and we had the opportunity to make another offer and in late February (I think?) we got news that we had in fact gotten the house the second time around.  We closed in late April and moved in in June.

I figured that it's about time that I shared a few before and after pics.  I only wish that I had more pics, but a lot of the initial work that was done is unimpressive.

Between closing and moving a lot of unexciting things happened: repairs to the siding, new A/C, new hot water heater, repairs to the furnace, and fixing a lot of busted pipes.

Water pouring from your ceiling is just generally not a good thing.

Oh, and the mailbox.  Let's not forget about the fact that sometime between our walk through of the house and purchase someone ran over (I assume?) our mailbox so that had to be replaced.

A lot of functional things.

One of the bigger projects we have accomplished is cosmetic improvements in the family room.

Some before pics:

(I wish I had taken before pics... instead of having to use screen shots. In my defense during the "before" time period things were just a wee bit hectic.)

Stained, worn, outdated carpet, outdated entry tile, dinged up walls and old paint. The pictures are actually pretty kind, it looked much more sad in person.


And after:

Ooooh, ahhhhh...

Fresh paint (I was painting on my birthday.  Oh, the memories that we made this summer O_O ) and a lot of new flooring (so pretty), our furniture, and some new accessories (including the cute little entryway rug that I adore, and pretty, bright curtains, and the area rug that was way harder than it should have been to decide on.) and I pretty much love it!

It's a big space, which is good, but it's also looking a little bare.  I think it needs a few more accessories, definitely some sort of entry table, and maybe at least one more piece of furniture, we'll see, but we're finally to the point where it's feeling homey around here.  I mean, there are decorative touches and everything.

You see this mantle?

It didn't decorate itself, ya know.

In addition to a few little accent pieces and decorative touches that I'm sure are yet to come we still need to replace both ceiling fans and the entryway light (they're a little outdated and not our style) and we'll also be replacing the front door (can that count as part of the family room?) because it's not in great shape.  Exciting things, of course.

I'll share more updates soon!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week of November 15th

Last week was a pretty low-key week, which is always nice.

I'm doing my best to ignore all of the pictures I've seen all over social media of people moving right on into Christmas and bypassing Thanksgiving completely.  Or, I guess they still celebrate it, but surrounded by Christmas stuff?  I don't know.  So weird.  I choose to live in a world where each holiday is celebrated in its own special time.  #waronthanksgiving

I'm super pumped that Thanksgiving is next week.  Everyone knows it's the best holiday and I'm ready to eat all the things and give all the thanks!

I've been Instagramming and I totally love it.  I realize I'm like 5 years late to the party and the cool kids are probably already post-Instagram, but I loves it!  I love seeing pictures from friends and strangers that capture everything from the special to the mundane.  I love that you can browse different topics depending on what your interest is at that moment and it's fun to see what different people share.  After all, a picture speaks a thousand words, eh?

In other random news, I've perfected homemade coconut oil kettle corn so it made an appearance for snack twice this weekend.  Nothing beats freshly made salty sweet popcorn!

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday:  Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Panini

Monday:  Sweet Potato Nachos

Tuesday:  Shepherd's Pie

Wednesday:  Mom's night out for me, Homemade Pizza for the fam!

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday & Saturday:  Out

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Week of November 8th

So, let's see, last week...

My car went for a little spa visit and came back looking beauteous.  When we purchased it the car had *just* become available and when we test drove it literally hadn't even been vacuumed out. While we were dealing with paperwork they did a quick once over and washed, wiped down, and vacuumed, but it was in need of a full detail and a few miscellaneous things like a good wax and buffing out some surface scratches, basically everything a dealership typically does before selling a car.

I had to drive a Chevy Cruze for a day and... that was sad.  Glad to have her back!

Tuesday was chicken day!

^That's 40lbs of quality chicken, purchased at an awesome price, trimmed and ready for the freezer!  Well worth the hour or so it takes to get it freezer ready.  This will last us for about a year!

Know what's nice when you have to deal with 40lbs of chicken?  Having adequate workspace to do so.  I used to have to do this on a little ~3ft x 3ft (that's probably a generous measurement) square of counter space that wasn't even dedicated and still had some things sitting on it.  Doing anything feels so much easier when you have more room to do it in!

I'm still feeling the effects of the time change.  That^ was taken at about 4:30pm.  When the sun was going down.  ::facepalm::  I dislike that it's completely dark out by the time dinner rolls around at 6pm.  It's going to be a long winter.

At my nieces' birthday party over the weekend Molly played stand-in for her slightly older cousin who had enough of birthday partying by the time cake time rolled around.

Somebody had to do it.  Molly's just practicing for her own 3rd birthday in just over 2 months (say what?!?)

And I got this full of awesome shirt, which pretty much made my life.

This is a phrase I use on the reg so I'm pretty sure Target designed this shirt just for me.

Also: I'm Instagramming now.  Apparently this is where all the cool kids hang out so obviously I need to be there jump on this trend about 5 years after everyone else.


Sunday:  Meatloaf with Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Broccoli

Monday: Teriyaki Chicken Stir-Fry with Brown Rice

Tuesday:  Leftovers

Wednesday:  Leftovers/Freezer Meal

Thursday:  Homemade Pizza with Salad

Friday & Saturday: Out

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by

The above link to Zaycon Foods is a referral link.  I'm in no way affiliated with that company other than loving them for quality bulk meat purchases at a good price.  I've been a regular customer for several years now.  

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Week of November 1st

Woooweee!  I can't believe it's already November.

Last week we celebrated Halloween with some pumpkin carving and trick-or-treating.

Mine is the happy pumpkin.  Always.

Firetruck and purple princess (A.K.A. Sophia the First)

Molly chose her own costume.  At this age, Jack still didn't care what he dressed up as (he was a lion).  It wasn't until his 4th Halloween that he wanted to choose his costume.  Big surprise, Molly had an opinion :D

Jack, of course, wanted to be a firetruck.  A fire fighter?  No, a fire truck.

His costume turned out pretty cute.  Lucky for me, I have experience with crafting truck costumes.  I also bought him a little fire fighter coat and hat to wear with it, but that idea was nixed because according to Jack he's a firetruck and firetrucks don't wear clothes.  Obviously...

The coat and jacket came in handy for his school party because kids were allowed to bring costumes to wear, but they had to fit in their backpacks.  Firetruck =/= backpack friendly.  Lucky for everyone, Jack was okay with wearing the firefighter costume to his party.

This was our first year trick-or-treating in our new neighborhood so I wasn't sure what to expect as far as how much candy to have on hand to pass out.  There's a lot of kids around so the day of trick-or-treat I panicked and picked up a few extra bags of candy giving us probably 1 1/2 big bowls or so to hand out.  We left a bowl out for trick-or-treaters while we went around trick-or-treating ourselves and came home to... at least 2/3 of the bowl still filled.  And with a half hour of trick-or-treat left to go we didn't even get anymore trick-or-treaters.  Womp, womp.

I have no idea where all the kids were because there were plenty of trick-or-treaters out and about.  I guess many just didn't make it back to our little cul-de-sac despite the fact that nearly everyone back here had candy to pass out.  ::shrug::  Guess I'll know for next year.

And now Halloween is over and everyone's all like...

And I'm just sitting over here like...

It's only November, people, slow your roll.  #waronThanksgiving

Menu for the week:

Sunday:  Smothered Sweet Pork Burritos with Guacamole

Monday:  Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup with Panini

Tuesday:  Paleo Sausage Veggie Bake

Wednesday:  Freezer Meal or Homemade Pizza

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday & Saturday: Out

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Week of October 25th

Last week we made our annual pilgrimage to the pumpkin patch.

We picked the best pumpkins in the patch, which are waiting patiently to be carved in preparation for trick-or-treat tomorrow night.

In true Stephanie fashion, I'm still working on Jack's costume, but hopefully that will be finished tonight.

We've just been living life over here.  We had friends over last week for the first time at the new house and I also finished up my lactation counselor course and exam.  I'll be anxiously awaiting the results as the assessment portion of the exam was challenging and no one I talked to, including myself, felt super confident about their performance on that portion,  Eeep!  Did not help that I had to wait ~8 weeks to take an exam that's designed to be taken at the end of a week long course :/  Too bad it's not just a written exam because I'm not worried about passing that portion! ::fingers and toes crossed::

We've been eating apple-y things and soups and squash and all manner of fall things around here.

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday:  Leftovers with some Buffalo Chicken Dip thrown in the mix

Monday:  Roasted Chicken with Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes and Honey-Glazed Carrots (better believe those chicken scraps were turned into delicious homemade stock!)

Tuesday:  Acorn Squash with Apple Sausage & Cranberry Stuffing with Salad

Wednesday:  Pumpkin Chili (Crock Pot) with Pumpkin Corn Muffins

Thursday: Trick-or-Treat!  Pumpkin Chili Leftovers

Friday & Saturday: Out

Monday, September 28, 2015

Week of September 27th

Last week, I authorized an upgrade to my computer for Windows 10.  I was sucked in by promises that it would be more like the old windows I know and love (I'm not a fan of Windows 9, I basically don't use it and keep my computer in desktop mode the whole time, only interacting with the rest of the system if I'm forced to.)

I'm usually the kind of person who will not allow upgrades until I absolutely have to because all too often it comes with changes that I don't like, I tend to not appreciate change.  So, with this upgrade that was supposed to be a change back to what I'm used to, I decided I'd go for it.  My computer ran the upgrade, all was well and good until I realized that it got rid of the scroll-ability (yeah, not really a word, but I don't know what else to call it) on my touchpad! Do you know how annoying it is to try to use the interwebz without scrolling capabilities?!  Awfulness.  I should have just stuck with my non-upgrading habits.

So I spent 2 days suffering, unable to scroll, until some googling, and random clicking (my husband LOVES when I do things with the computer beyond general browsing) I somehow fixed it!  FIXED IT!  Myself! Wheee!  That was my win for last week and it was definitely noteworthy enough to share.

In other news, Molly and I hit up a consignment sale and she was the only 2-year-old there actively shopping.  I'm talking, browsing through the racks the whole time and picking out her own clothes and approving/disapproving my picks.  This girl is trouble when it comes to clothes!

She's already very particular about what she wears from her hair, to her outfit, to her shoes and other accessories.  I am not used to dealing with this as Jack still barely cares what he wears.  Most days he throws on whatever, only rarely does he have a request and I can easily talk him out of it if necessary. His only real request is that as many of his shirts have vehicles on them as possible.


We finally accomplished some more progress on the floor!  We're *so close* to being done.  We just have to finish up installing the quarter round, right now we probably have like 20% of it done?  Maybe less.  And we still have to deal with the bathroom.  Laying the flooring will be easy peasy, how much work it is overall is going to depend a lot on how tearing out the old flooring goes.  ::fingers crossed::  But for now, I have a whole floor down and that's enough to leave me feeling pretty happy after dealing with having only a partial floor for the last few weeks.

I busted out the Old English Scratch Cover, which is magic in a bottle, to fix up our existing baseboards.  I first discovered this bottle of awesome when we were getting our old house ready to sell.  It's some sort of wood oil/polish stuff that you rub on with a cloth and then buff off and I'm telling you it is magical!

I think I spent like $7-$8 on the bottle at Lowe's and you only use a little bit at a time and it makes wood with shallow scratches look like new.  Well, maybe not BRAND new, but very much improved.  It hides some scratches completely and well camouflages others.  We laid down this nice floor and it only highlighted the fact that the baseboards were all dinged up.  Well, Scratch Cover to the rescue!  They look so much better.

I thought for half a second about putting new baseboards down, but then I watched Jack slam a truck into the old, scratched up baseboards and was reminded that spending time/money/effort on new ones would only make me sad when they got beat up by little kids and their toys.  I'm happy with how they look now. As you can see, we still have quarter round to install in this area, that's why there's a seam along the edge. Sooooon!

Menu for the week:

Sunday:  Grilled Burgers with Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Monday:  Chicken Apple Cranberry Salad with Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Tuesday:  Sweet Potato Enchiladas with Guacamole

Wednesday:  Roasted Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Carrots

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday & Saturday:  Out

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Week of September 20th

Book reading season 2015 has begun!  You weren't aware of the season opening?  Well, it happens to directly coincide with football season.  This time of year Mark watches all the football and I read all the books and it works out pretty nicely.  With football on alllll day Sunday, Monday and Thursday nights, and allllll day Saturday I'm tempted to watch even less TV than usual and get plenty of reading done.  Fine by me!

I ordered an area rug for the family room and ended up not liking it, so that's going back.  I ordered another rug that's maybe arriving today?  I have to like it because I'm over the rug buying thing already.  I guess if I don't like it, it will just lay there taunting me forever because it's staying.  Buying a rug is hard.

Decorating is just not my forte.  I really, really dislike the decorating process.  I assume some people like it?  Not me.  I don't enjoy decorating, just the end result.  I want my space to be nice, but don't like the work of getting there.  First world problems, eh?

This past weekend feels like the official end of our crazy summer.  My weekend was filled with appointments, but looking at the next month to six weeks my calendar is blissfully open.  Sure I already have a sprinkling of commitments, but just a sprinkling.  I feel like I can breathe!  This summer amidst buying a house, renovating a house (mostly DIY), getting a house ready to sell (all DIY), moving, selling a house by owner, AND taking care of 2 littles full time I also took 2 doula clients a month every month and had a sprinkling of advanced trainings in there.  Crazy.

Looking back, I'm still not sure how I made it through in one piece.  Or, in one piece, minus a few pieces of my mind that I lost along the way.  ::releases held breath::

Moving into the holiday season I've decided I'm going to scale back my birthwork calendar and only accept 1 client a month through the end of year at least, probably for the first couple months of 2016 as well as the holiday season runs right into birthday season in our household.  That means I'm fully booked for the next several months already, now I just need to stick to my boundaries and not take on any more clients.

I love what I do and I'm thankful to be busy, but I need to make sure I'm doing a good job of balancing everything and this summer left me feeling like I ran a months long marathon. Time to recover a bit and have some space to focus on other things that need attention, there's plenty on the list.

Menu for the week:

Sunday:  Smoked Ribs with Corn Pudding and Baked Beans

Monday:  Paleo One Pan Italian Chicken w/ Spaghetti Squash

Tuesday:  Tacos

Wednesday:  Grilled Sausages w/ Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday & Saturday: Out

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tried & True Recipe: Chicken Apple Cranberry Salad with Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Fall arrives in less than 6 days, but with temps still in the 80s I'm not yet ready to transition to all those warm yummy comfort foods (like soup!) that will surely start popping up on my menu in a few weeks.  I love to eat salads during warm weather months, just like I love to eat soup during cold weather months.  It drives my husband a little nuts, but I'm definitely one of those people with strong weather-related food associations.  Warm weather is for grilling, salads, lighter fare, and food that doesn't require heating up your house for hours to cook it.  Cold weather is for sooouuuppps(!), stews, comfort foods, and things that can cook away for hours heating up your kitchen before they heat up your belly.

Salad is on our menu nearly weekly during warm weather months.  It's easy to throw together, versatile, everyone can top their salad to their preference, and leftovers are good.  The very best salads have a variety of ingredients with different, complimentary flavors and textures.  I've already shared one of my very favorite summer salads, allow me to introduce you to it's late summer/early fall counterpart: a chopped salad with chicken, apples, dried cranberries, blue cheese, and pecans, topped with sweet and tangy honey-balsamic vinaigrette.  This salad is well-balanced, fall-ish, and takes advantage of seasonal produce (apples!), but is still light and refreshing.

Chicken Apple Cranberry Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette inspired by Brown Eyed Baker

For the vinaigrette:

2T Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 c Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2T Honey
1/2 T Dijon Mustard
1/4 t Salt
1/8 t Ground Black Pepper
1/8 t Garlic Powder

Combine ingredients in small mason jar or other container with a tight seal.  Shake until well combined and set aside.  Can be made in advance and keeps well stored in the refrigerator.  Yields ~3/4 cup.

For the salad:

Romaine Lettuce (or other lettuce of choice: spring mix/spinach blend, baby kale, or rubbed kale would be good here)
Diced Grilled Chicken (we season ours with salt, pepper, and garlic powder)
Diced Granny Smith Apple (I like Granny Smith's for salad because they're firm and crunchy and have a nice tangy flavor, but whatever you prefer)
Blue Cheese (or Feta)
Pecans (or Walnuts)

Combine ingredients to your preference and top with honey-balsamic vinaigrette.  Easy peasy. Obviously, the ingredients are super flexible, that's another thing I like about salad.  Switching a few things up will make a similar, but slightly different salad!  Bacon would also be a good addition, because bacon is always good.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Week of September 13th

This week is feeling quite fall-ish with temperatures in the 60s and much chillier overnights. I'm steadfastly clinging to the last bits of summer like I do every year and temps should be back in the 80s leading into the official start of fall.

It's not that I don't like fall, I actually appreciate living in an area with four distinct seasons, but I often appreciate it more in theory than practice.  The first few weeks of fall with the sunny, crisp weather is great.  Who doesn't love that?  Bake up an apple crisp and watch some football (if you're not me), great, but then too soon we get into real fall weather and it's rainy and cold and gray and we won't see the sun in any reliable way for months.  That's not weather I actually appreciate on a day-to-day basis.  Same with winter, it's all well and good at first.  Snow is fun, in theory, but then January hits and it draaaggggssss on and everything is so bleak you feel like you'll never see the sun again.  I'm really much more of a warm weather person so I'm kind of sad to start down this path of cold, sad weather.  It does make me appreciate spring and summer all the more though.

Friday through Sunday I was at a postpartum doula workshop.  It was fun learning the postpartum side of doula work.  It seems that more people are aware of what a birth doula does than what a postpartum doula can offer.  Postpartum doulas are experts in the transition that happens once you add a new baby into the mix.  They help assist you through that shifting dynamic whether it's your first baby, or your fourth (or more!)  They help you get breastfeeding established in those early weeks and make sure that your needs are attended to while you're caring for your baby.  They help you figure out how to do this whole parent thing and balance it with the rest of the areas of your life. Think back to your first baby especially, how amazing would  it have been to have a knowledgeable, comforting presence sitting with you on the couch reassuring you when you wondered if breastfeeding was going ok, or standing there encouraging you as you gave baby their first bath, or throwing in a load of laundry, bringing you a nutritious snack, and refilling your cup of water while  in those early days of all encompassing parenthood?  Pretty awesome, right?!

When I started my journey as a birth doula I wasn't all that interested in postpartum work, but to be honest I see such a need for it that it made me interested in offering the service.  I'm really looking forward to providing continuity of care that extends past birth and into the early weeks of parenthood. New parents deserve support!

Jack didn't have school on Monday, which I actually forgot.  I was tiiiired from being in this training all weekend and I dragged myself out of bed first thing Monday morning.  Made breakfast.  Packed lunch.  Pulled out the folder from his backpack to sign his weekly progress report and saw the calendar for the week that no one else had laid eyes on that said a big old NO SCHOOL on Monday.  Ugh.  I actually had previous knowledge that there was no school on 9/14, but at that point I didn't realize what the date was and it just wasn't something I was thinking about.  So anyway, that was kind of annoying, but it was nice  having him home for the day.  The weather was gorg, but Mark accidentally took the carseats to work with him so we couldn't go too far.  We decided just to walk to our little neighborhood park, which is such a nice thing to have.  Because school was closed there were other kids to play with there and a good time was had.

I feel like this past weekend with the workshop was kind of the unofficial end to a crazy busy month to six weeks that I've had.  I say unofficial because I do have kind of a busy week this week into the weekend with miscellaneous things, but next week things should slow down considerably for about a month.  Looking forward to it!

Dinners for the week:

Sunday: Post-workshop pizza with friends

Monday:  Skillet Eggplant Parmesan with Salad

Tuesday:  Grilled Burgers w/ Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Wednesday:  Salad w/ Chicken, Apples, Cranberries, Blue Cheese

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday & Saturday:  Out

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Week of September 6th

The holiday weekend was dominated by flooring for us.  I've found it's one thing to consider replacing over 500 sq ft of flooring yourself and another to actually DO it.  It's been a lot of work, but so far well worth it. Mark may not have felt the project worth it he spent most of an entire day tearing out the tile in our entryway...

Late afternoon on Friday I came home from a client visit to find that Mark had torn out most of the carpet.

Day 1

We spent the remainder of that evening prying up a million and one staples and roughly a linear mile of tack strips.*

*I might be slightly exaggerating the quantities, but it felt accurate at the time. 

Once the carpet was up we were able to see that the entryway tile was laid on plywood, not directly on the subfloor so we were hopeful the tile would come up relatively easily.

Saturday was spent tearing out the entryway tile.

Day 2

It did not come up easily.  The hardest part was getting it started and figuring out the best technique, but Mark really had to work to get every bit of tile off.  Then the wood it was laid on needed to come up and that was a whole other project as well. One would think it would just come up, but nooooo.  It was nailed down with a million* little nails. So the wood came up slowly and stubbornly as well.

*perhaps exaggerated.

I was at a birth all afternoon and evening so Mark was on his own with the tile and the kids for most of the day.  Lucky him!

Sunday we still had a little more work in the entryway to contend with.  Mark ripped up a few last bits of the plywood and I ripped out toooons of nails.  Then we did a good sweeping and vacuumed with a shop vac to get all the debris cleaned  up.

Then it was finally time to start laying the wood flooring!

Day 3

Ahhh, progress!

I wish we had more progress to show for as many hours as we spent the first day laying flooring, but the first few rows took a disproportionate amount of time.  We had to figure out what we were doing and because they are installed by clicking and locking each plank into place those first few rows kept shifting around because they didn't have enough weight to stay in place.  Annoying. Once we finally seemed to hit our stride we got to the little hallway over there on the left in the bottom picture and had some challenging cuts to contend with, which really slowed progress.  Alas, we ended up getting maybe 1/4 of the room done.

Monday brought more progress.  We jumped in bright and early and were able to really chug along.

Day 4
We had to knock off a few hours early on Day 4 because we went to my parents' house for dinner that evening, but all in all we were able to get probably 85% or so of the main flooring completed, yay!

We still have this little strip, which includes the entryway and we also have to lay flooring in the closet, which is a small space, and tackle the bathroom, which will be a project in itself because everything is going to need to come out, and flooring will need to be torn out of there before we can lay it.  Eeek!  Buuuut, hopefully this coming weekend will find us putting the finishing touches on our main living space!  Once the floor is all laid we have to install quarter round, but we're definitely in the home stretch.

Unfortunately for Mark I'm going to be a postpartum doula training workshop all weekend so we'll see if he's able to make any progress on his own.  I had grand ideas of getting some work done on my own this week, but I'm scared to use the circular saw.  I wouldn't get far without an assistant so I'm going to leave it to Mark.

And now... I need to choose a rug, which is a task that's way more intimidating to me than it should be :/

Food for the week:

Sunday:  Out

Monday:  Parents' house for dinner

Tuesday:  Paleo Sausage Veggie Bake

Wednesday:  Salmon with Mango Guacamole and Garlic Green Beans

Thursday:  Homemade Pizza

Friday & Saturday: Out