Saturday, June 29, 2013

Rose colored dreams and HOUSE PICTURES YAY!!!

Today this title is literal as it is currently 5:30am on Saturday and I woke up from dreaming about the 100's of square feet of rose colored carpet we are about to inherit. Why I'm awake at 5:30am on a Saturday is a topic for another day. But back to my rose colored carpet. Our new house is full of it, as in almost the entire main floor of the house is covered in rose colored carpet. We have no idea if there is wood underneath and since the house is built in 1950 it's really hit or miss. Eventually I want to put in hard wood if it's not hiding underneath. But until we are ready to drop the dough hardwood requires we aren't touching that carpet. And to be fair it's in pristine condition and is very soft and obviously a very high quality carpet. So here's to decorating challange number one: Rose colored carpet.

Here are some pictures and since I'm breaking out a few house pictures to demonstrate my carpet woes I thought I'd throw in a couple of the outside of the house just for kicks.
 Here is our house from the street. I'm the first to admit it's not a lot to look at from this angle especially with the fence and ramp rails in front. But once you get past the fence and down the ramp you are looking at this:
This court yard makes my heart go pitter patter in a big way. I love the windows facing into the courtyard, I love the beautiful wood front doors, I love the spindly trees growing out of the courtyard up over the house. And I love how the house makes a U-around this charming courtyard.
 Now inside in the main living space. The front door is in that nook on the left and the opposite wall is all windows giving this room beautiful light. The real walnut fire place is in gorgeous condition although there is a small crack in the marble. And we love the book shelves on the left with lamps on top. And then here it is...Rose colored carpet. In it's defense it does sort of match the house and there is a rose/pink/maroon/color scheme going through this floor of the house. Luckily most of our furniture is pretty neutral and will do okay in here. The bigger challenge lies in Margot's room below (the curtains are already gone),
This is actually a big room, I think almost twice the size of her current shoe box of a room. But there is a lot going on this room. Besides the aforementioned carpet there are two distinct tones of wood, the walnut baseboard molding and the honey toned wooden closet and shelving. In addition there are original heavy aluminum windows with big handles that swing the windows out, think European style windows with no screens. Her current room is turquoise and white which you can see in this post. Obviously our turquoise color scheme is not going to work in this room. I have spent tons of time thinking about this room. Mostly about what color to paint it since painting Margot's room is one of the things we need to do before we move in. Besides the current paint is old, in poor condition and is lead based paint so this room must have a new coat or 3 before moving day. I have been going back and forth between a really light ballet pink with lots of gold accents or a light grey with ballet pink and white accents. As of right now I'm feeling pretty settled on the grey. We will keep all of the original wood work in tact but will be bringing in her white crib/toddler bed, her white book shelf and a dark walnut mid-century modern dresser. In addition to painting the walls grey I'm thinking about getting a this rug, or a cheaper knock off if I can find it,  to cover most of the floor to tone down the carpet and tie the grey walls to the white furniture we have,

Then to really tie things together I'm going to buy ask really nicely for my birthday this knockoff chair.

Vinnie White Cradle ChairWe are taking Margot's chandelier with us which will also tie the whole grey and white theme into the current rose and wood room. Her new mid-century dresser is the same shade of wood as the walnut baseboard molding and the wood rockers on this chair is the same honey toned wood as the closet and wall shelves. And I will make her new bedding in a white and grey modern print with lots of delicate pink accents. I'm even toying with the idea of painting the inside of that huge closet pink. Maybe since it's only 6:15am (this was a LONG post to write! whew) I'll even figure out how to make a decorating board for the room and come back with it. Or I could pack, or shower or make my family breakfast....we'll see.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tuesday night dinner

Being pre-move and in the throws of packing and general chaos food has looked a little different lately. At the same time, looking at our huge list of restoration projects ahead on the new house has us pinching pennies. Since we are in the process of moving things into storage I have packed (and by me I mean my mother) most of my kitchen leaving out only the essentials, cups, plates, silverware, a few knives and pans. And since everything will go into storage including our food we are trying to eat everything in the house now. It's been a sort of wacky exercise. We have pretty much limited our grocery buying to milk, eggs and onions we are working through random pantry items, our quickly dwindling freezer full of beef and our weekly CSA box. Our Menu this week:

Sunday: CSA box chili
Monday: leftovers
Tuesday: warm potato salad on salad greens with roasted beets and tuna
Wednesday: beef and broccoli stir fry and rice
Thursday: broccoli and red pepper pasta and salad
Friday: shredded beef tacos and re fried beans and salad

It's interesting to see our usually packed pantry and freezer start to dwindle and it's a fun challenge to use what's left to create meals. I can't wait to see how little is left in another two weeks when we vacate our house.

Because I'm not grocery shopping the meals have required a lot of improvising, sometimes that makes them less exciting for example tacos without salsa or sour cream...sad. But sometimes it makes for brilliant creations. Take Sunday night's chili. I had one can of black beans left, canned tomatoes and plenty of ground beef. I also had cilantro and green onions which had me leaning toward chili. However I didn't have kidney beans, green bell pepper, chili powder or any onions which are all usual staples in my chili. But I did find a can of green chilies, garlic whistles* and dried cayenne peppers. The recipe below was the following result and we LOVED it.

CSA box chili

3 garlic whistles chopped
1 bunch green onions chopped, whites and greens separated
2-3 dried cayenne chilies, chopped remove seeds for less spicy chili
1 can black beans
1 small can green chilies
1 can whole tomatoes
1 Tb coriander
1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
1 lb ground beef
2 cups water
1 beef or chicken bouillon cube
salt and pepper
cooked brown rice

In heavy dutch oven heat some olive oil. Add garlic whistles and saute about 5 minutes until beginning to brown add white part of green onion and the chilies. Cook another 5-10 minutes until chilies are starting to blacken. Add the coriander and cook one minute then add the fresh cilantro, can of beans with liquid, can of tomatoes with liquid and the can of chilies. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer and cook 10-15 minutes. While chili is cooking brown beef in skillet. Add beef to chili pot along with water and bouillon, again bring to boil, reduce and simmer 30-40 minutes season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over brown rice garnished with the green tops of green onions.

*garlic whistles are the green tops to garlic. They have a garlic flavor but are much milder than garlic itself. You see them at farmers markets and some grocery stores in spring and early summer. We always get them in our first few CSA boxes.

Monday, June 24, 2013

B and B hopping

Well we spent our Anniversary weekend in Portland having our first trip away sans baby. We dropped Margot off at my in-laws in Hillsboro and then drove into the city. When I planned this weekend back in March I thought I'd booked us two nights at the Portland White House Bed and Breakfast. However our reservation was messed up somehow and they only had us for one night and were booked all weekend. At first I was so disappointed but in the end we loved our second B and B and had a fabulous weekend all around.
Friday after a grueling hour of rush our into the city we checked in and wandered the neighborhood looking for someplace relaxing to eat. We settled on a old house converted into a Thai restaurant where we were able to eat up on the upper level front porch enjoy our wine/beer and people watch on the street below.
After dinner we wandered through the historic Irvington neighborhood looking at old houses, check out this one which looks like it belongs in a fairy tale.
After our gourmet breakfast, vegetable frittata, potatoes, chicken apple sausage and homemade blueberry muffins we headed to SE Hawthorne to peruse the vintage shops and get ideas for our new house. We walked 35 blocks down Hawthorne then took the bus back up to 47th to this taqueria which was featured in the most recent Oregonian restaurant guide.
It totally lived up to it's review and we feasted on margaritas, chips and salsa and a variety of yummy tacos. See how happy we are among delicious Mexican food, margaritas and mid century modern shopping! After lunch we hit a few more shops and found our major score of the day, a dresser for Margot's new room for a great price!
Later that afternoon we checked into B and B number two the Mayors Mansion. We loved both the  the Portland White house and the Mayor's Mansion. The white house was a beautiful old historic home and our room had an amazing over sized antique claw foot tub. We were disappointed to have to change hotels but the Mayors Mansion was a wonderful hotel. The inn keeper Dick was delightful, kind, gracious and completely welcoming. His house was gorgeous it was the perfect mix of historic and traditional and contemporary comfort. And it was filled with beautiful art, most notably his Asian art collection which I loved seeing. He and I had a great time chatting about mid century design and Asian art and he had lots of great ideas for our house. He upgraded us to the suite and upon hearing it was our anniversary he gave us a great bottle of wine. So we spent the evening sitting in the solarium drinking our delicious wine and looking through his collection of decorating books from the 50's and 60's before heading out to our 8pm dinner reservation. On Dick's recommendation we went to the Laurelhurst Market for dinner. We were lucky to get a last minute reservation and it was wonderful. Below is a picture of our charcuterie platter complete with house made beef heart pate, smoked duck breast and homemade pickles. Then we had steak frites and sockeye salmon. All in all it was a wonderful weekend. We did miss Margot and I was so ready to go back and see her by Sunday Morning. As for Margot she did really well with her grandparents and we were all super proud of her. And Chris' parent's were so great keeping Margot and making her feel really at home and special. They took her to the hot air balloon festival, bought her a pretty dress and some toys and played with her at the park. And they are excited to have her again next time we need a weekend away.

Friday, June 21, 2013

5 years ago today

What a fabulous, crazy, busy, and wonderful 5 year's it's been. Today Chris' and I are heading to Portland, leaving Margot with my in-laws, and heading into the city for a romantic anniversary weekend sans baby. It will be our first trip away from Margot. We are excited to celebrate our first five years and what a busy 5 years it's been:
Whew that's a lot! No wonder we are tired so much of the time. But it's been a great five years and we are so looking forward to the next five which we hope includes more fun with Margot, moving into and starting to restore our dream house, Margot starting kindergarten and some fun family travels. 

So here is to a great anniversary weekend with the love of my life.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Packing and the like

Somebody please explain to me how in two and half short years we seem to have doubled our possessions???!!!!

Seriously we have so much stuff! Nonetheless packing continues. Margot is having mixed reactions. Mostly she seems fine with the growing chaos but occasionally she seems a little upset. This morning I had a handle bag of some of her toys ready to go with her to my Mom's house for the interim and she was not too happy that her toys appeared to be going somewhere. And she keeps going to her almost empty bookshelf and jabbering about her books as if to say, "hey you where did most of my books go????" But overall she is a big fan of boxes. And her and Chris have been playing choo choo train and going on rides throughout the house in said boxes.

Our packing/moving schedule is finally solidified as we have a closing date for our new house. This truly will be the summer of moving and packing!!!

  • June 24-Jul 5       pack and move things (except essentials such as dishes and beds) into storage
  • July 7                  move ourselves and clothes/toys/books for 3 weeks-month to my Mom's 
  • July 8-12             move remaining stuff out of our house and into storage
  • July 12-16           clean and spackle holes, touch up paint etc in old house
  • July 16                move from my Mom's house to my Dad's house
  • July 17                close on old house
  • July 17-22           take a break!!!!
  • July 22                CLOSE ON new house and drink champagne!!!!
  • July 23-26          complete immediate repairs on new house and paint Margot's room
  • July 27-28          move into new house
The immediate repairs we have to complete on the new house include getting kitchen appliances working, having a plaster professional repair and patch plaster throughout house, tear up all the lower level carpeting, clean out clogged dryer vent in laundry room and paint Margot's room. I don't want to try and paint Margot's room after we've moved because of fumes and because I want her to be able to get settled right away in her new room. The appliances are the biggest thing on this list and they may not get done before we move. Currently neither the stove or oven are working and there is no refrigerator. I think the stove will be an easy fix and we'll just go get a used refrigerator from st. Vincent De Paul's for the interim but the oven which is original to the house and from 1950 may need to be entirely rebuilt so it's possible that we will just be going without an oven for a little while.

We will be undertaking many more projects in the months after we move but mostly the house is livable as is so long as you don't run the clothes dryer and hair dryer at the same time....but that is a topic for another day.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

plowing forward

Right now we are taking things one day at a time. Sunday was Father's day and despite the complete chaos our house is in, the boxes, packing and projects, negotiations hanging out there and too much work on our plates we just stopped and went out to breakfast. Because sometimes you literally only need a cup of coffee and a funny baby devouring her carrot muffin. 

We finally wrapped up negotiations on our house that we are selling. All of the addendum's are signed, the buyers are moving into underwriting and we close in less than a month. However we are still in negotiations on our new house and don't have a close date, we are hoping late July. But once we get the keys for the new house it will be at least a week if not two before we can move because there are a few things we need to do before we can occupy. Then there is a giant list of things we have to do in the first few months, then a bigger list of things to do after we have built our savings back up. So we are just taking it slow and enjoying the entire process. And of course being thoroughly charmed and entertained by our funny little chicken who last night learned to say beef and spent all of dinner saying, "more beef" and "more beef please".

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fun and fabulous family photos

Our funny little baby is 18 months old and not so much a little baby anymore. A more accurate description would be our chattery little toddler. I know parents say this all of the time but seriously we LOVE this age. So much easier than infancy! We sleep all night and yet we still have a cuddly little monkey and an interactive little person.
And recently to commemorate these happy times we had some wonderful family photos taken by our dear friend and photographer JoAnna James. You can see more of JoAnna's photos here

One of Margot's favorite activities these days is to water the flowers outside and so we were thrilled that JoAnna captured what's become a favorite family activity this summer. Margot is enjoying summer so much and we've had really nice weather this year and Margot loves to play outside, run in the grass, water flowers and go on family neighborhood walks.
At 18 months Margot is saying about 50+ words and starting to put words together to form short phrases such as bye Daddy, daddy bath, etc. She still loves to read books but is starting to have a definite opinion about what she wants to read.
Margot loves her clothes and shoes and was beyond excited last month when we bought her baby converse that match ours. She gets so excited when we all wear our converse. She continues to love her tutu and likes to pick out her own clothes. She also likes to sort and organize things and thinks folding the laundry is the bees knees. Margot's other great love in life these days is Sesame street. Oh my word! Both Chris and Margot look forward to Saturday morning when they watch old school sesame street episodes together. And since Chris is Margot's favorite person in the world these days, next to Grover, it's all the more exciting.

She's a cute, funny, sweet, easy going and always up for a fun little adventure and we can't wait to see what the next 18 months bring!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Dinosaur

We are either crazy or we are brilliant. Probably we are a little of both. But we are pending on a house!!!! A house that I have come to think of as our dinosaur. I imagine it as a brachiosaurus because it is beautiful and elegant and HUGE but Chris' says that is taking my analogy a little too far and that it's just a dinosaur so I conceded and lovingly think of my house as a big beautiful dinosaur.

And this my friends is the reason for my blog absence. I just can't blog when I have a secret examples, the month we were buying our first house and the month before I announced our little chicken.

Anyway, back to my dinosaur. So as I said in my last post we were house hunting and the dinosaur was actually the second house we saw. I was pretty much instantly in love. We walked out of the car and down into a courtyard entrance surrounded by a concrete block mid century modern with a flat roof and spindly maple trees coming out of the courtyard over the house and that was pretty much the end for me. But when we walked into a huge open light filled living space with a gorgeous walnut fire place going all the way the ceiling, walls of windows, intact original 1952 finishes and a view of the Willamette river I was done. It was pretty clear pretty fast that this was my house. husband (who also loved the house, mainly for the view, library and neighborhood--he's just more practical and adult than I am), relator, parents and harsh realities such as the price, original oil furnace complete with a buried oil tank and galvanized steel pipes convinced me to stop breathe and research. So despite all the pitter pattering of my heart I stopped slowed down and researched. After one week of reading, getting rough estimates from plumbers, electricians, heating companies and crunching numbers we made the very difficult decision that we just had to walk away. And so we did. We looked at more houses and committed to just keep looking until we found the right house at the price we had agreed on. Then the owners of the dinosaur lowered the price by $60,000. So we made and offer. And how could we not!!! So there it was our dream house, in our dream neighborhood right smack in the middle of our price range. Yes it needed tons of work, yes the property taxes were a little ridiculous and yes it's huge was fate and God and pure brillance.

So long story short we offered, we negotiated, we listed our house, we sold our house in a whopping five days, and we are now through inspections and pending. So we should close in late July and we, okay I, are now packing, obsessing, being type A as per usual. Longtime readers will remember how moving brings out the absolute worst of my type A tendencies and usually results in countless nights sans sleep as I persist to obsess about every last detail. But all the while I have the smiles because I'm just so freakin' excited I can hardly stand it!!!