Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas

We are off to celebrate a fabulous Christmas with Margot Pants. Right now we are busy playing Santa, hosting one more dinner party before Christmas with out of town friends, decorating cookies for Santa, putting the last stickers on our advent calender and having a jolly good time!

We wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 16, 2013

An advent calender and a minor panic attack

Last night before putting Margot to bed we were counting star stickers on her advent calender, she get's to put a star up each night, when I realized that there are only 10, scratch that, 9 days until Christmas. Then I started to freak out. Then I realized I was too tired to freak out so I went to bed. Then I woke up and came to work where I am now full on freaking out. Let's just chat about how I haven't don't anything I need to do for Christmas:

  • Christmas cards, sitting in my library yet to be addressed and sent
  • "Santa" has not even started on Margot's big gift which needs painted, a quilt and mattress needs to be sewn
  • 0 Christmas shopping has happened
  • Christmas morning brunch??? no freaking idea
  • the Muppet Christmas carol has yet to be watched
  • gifts need wrapped
I have been so busy with house renovations. Kitchen cabinets painted, baseboards in today, ugly fences coming out today, new carpet downstairs...soon. So alas I better get my butt in gear. 

Or I could keep procrastinating and spending every weekend making Christmas cookies with Margot, her new favorite thing, and just wait a few more days....regardless I'd better make a list.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Winter wonderland

Greetings from the great freeze of 2013! We have had record cold temperatures for a week now. It's been six days since the temp rose above freezing and we were hitting below zero temps over night for 4 days in a row. Sunday we woke up to -9 degrees outside. For a community that's December weather is a pretty consistent 44 and raining it's been mass chaos. The record cold temps came along with 6 inches of snow. Schools have been closed since Friday and most roads, especially on side streets and neighborhoods are sold ice still.
Friday and Saturday Margot and I were all about the snow. We enjoyed a lovely snow day at home on Friday complete with snuggles, Christmas books, a winter walk and building a snow man. We even broke out some hot cocoa!

Then Saturday we took a family hike down our massive hill to the market to stock up on provisions. 

Our neighborhood is gorgeous right now. I looks like a 1940-1950 Christmas card. Then Margot and I NEEDED to make shortbread cookies to go with our afternoon movie and hot cocoa.

Margot was a fan! And don't we all love her vintage-esque old man sweater!

But now that the initial fun has worn off, I have been cold for days, Margot has been in our bed for nights, because it's too cold, and so on. But perhaps even more concerning is that 60-90 people are coming to my house for my annual holiday cocktail party and my kitchen is in shambles and mid-cabinet painting. Everything that should be in my kitchen is everywhere else in my house, baseboards still have not gone in because my finish contractor cannot get up the hill and I am taking lots of very deep breaths. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

paint transformations

The truth is I hate to paint. Not a great fact for someone who bought a 3700 square foot house where in every inch of the interior not only needed new paint but about 4 coats of new paint. There were a couple serious problems going on with the paint in our house. One, it hadn't been painted since 1960, two the original oil furnace had a broken filter which mean oil residue was layering itself onto the paint throughout the house, three there were lots of original single pane wood windows that had been collecting moisture over the years and finally there was mildew and mildew stains throughout due to the house being vacant and unheated for year. All of this is quite fixable but requires a few extra steps. To paint, first the walls need to be cleaned well. Mildew spots had to be cleaned with a bleach solution to kill the mildew. Then stains, both from oil and mildew had to be first spot primed with a heavy duty oil base primer. Then the walls had to have two coats of a low-voc acrylic primer with a mildicide added. Finally two coats of high quality no voc paint AKA expensive paint went over the primer. The final outcome of rooms and spaces we've painted has been awesome but the getting there...ugh.

So I tackle small spaces, the inside of Margot's closet, Margot's room, the back hall, the hall bath, the kitchen etc. But I put off the bigger projects like the living room, family room and sun room. Two weeks ago we got the super exciting news that our gorgeous cork floors had arrived and were ready for installation. These floors were originally going to be one of our first projects but then the raining on my head happened and well....we're finally back to the cork floors.

But there was one big thing holding me back from pure floor elation...the dreaded sun room. I knew we had to paint the sun room pre-floor installation as to not risk paint on new cork floors. But oh how I was dreading that room. You see this room was in the worst shape. The whole lower wall had mildew stains that stubbornly remained after two treatments of bleach solution. The upper walls are a serious of 6 by 3 foot windows with wood frames. The wood paneling was cracking, bulging and generally looking awful and the other half of the room was concrete block plus there were cabinets. Did I mention that all those windows were single pane and the room has no direct heat leaving this room the coldest in the house especially on the 40 degree day that we finally tackled it.

ewe! Right?! But there was cork so we just picked a starting point and dug in. The first step was nailing down the wood paneling in places it was coming up with finish nails. The second was carefully caulking all the cracks, bulges and other uneven places, particularly around the window frames. Once everything was prepped we opened all the doors and windows and started applying the oil based primer. 

Once all that prep was done and the windows were taped we started the long process of 4 coats of paint. I used a small brush and did all the cutting, and window frames and cabinets while my sister Jess and her roommate Jacob who I hired to help with the job (they are poor college students always in need of some extra cash) worked on the other walls, ceiling and doors. Eight hours later with barely any light left we called it. And oh what a difference. Even with splattered paint on the floor, tape and tools and plastic everywhere and a general mess of brushes, rollers and empty paint cans we could see it was so much better. No more grungy, grimy stained walls but beautiful creamy buttery walls that were so clean! 

And the windows???!!! So much better. 

So while the job sucked the result was delicious. That being said I promptly hired a professional painter to come paint the huge living room and rec room and master bedroom. Because seriously there are only so many Saturdays that I want to paint for 8 straight hours.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

We're Cracking over here

In more ways then one! On the one hand house projects, despite the evidence to the contrary demonstrated on the blog, are moving along . In the last two weeks 7 spaces have been painted, new floors are in my kitchen, 5 different contractors have come a knocking with various bids and dollars are rolling out of our bank account! I suppose that's how it goes. But with all the hustle and bustle of two full time + jobs, a toddler, a giant old house, and work being done on said old house, we're also cracking a bit under the weight of it all. Our lives are so busy! And in times like these we have to prioritize what little time we do have so the poor blog gets pushed to the side. Because reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas for the 22nd time in one week is clearly way more important than writing on my blog. Am I right?

I'll post some real house updates later this week but first I wanted to share some fun and cuteness from our holiday weekend.
Seriously could she be more adorable and fun! Margot has just been a blast. Full sentences are coming like mad and she really does say the funniest things. She has been so excited about Thanksgiving and Christmas and it has been a joy to share the season with her.

It's been cold but we had some sunny days so we bundled up for a much needed family walk to breakfast. Margot was quite happy to be "snug as a bug in a rug" for the very cold jaunt.

All dressed up in our Thanksgiving outfit! Margot loved her bow and pretty dress. We had a nice Thanksgiving with extended family. There were 6 kids 7 years old and under running around and Margot loved every minute of it. She pronounced cranberry sauce and turkey to be good and ended the day by saying, "Mamma, Thanksgiving is fun!"

Once the Turkey dinner was behind us Margot was all ready for "kis-mus" and was ecstatic over her Christmas tree. We decided to do a simple and more formal tree in the living room in gold and white but wanted to still put up some special ornaments and Margot's ornaments (she gets an ornament each year for Christmas) so we decided to put a little "Margot tree" up in her room. She adores it and keeps thanking me for her Christmas tree. Her and I decorated it together and she loves to point out and talk about each ornament. Her favorite is the dinosaur. 

We also decorated our tree and Margot was eager for round two.

The tree is trimmed and the Christmas decorations are out. We started our advent calender with Margot Sunday night and are reading Christmas books every night before bed. It is really starting to feel like Christmas now even though part of me still feels like we are in October. Where did fall go???