Mar 27, 2015

Pinch-hitting: I got a new outfit! by Amelia


What's up?

Amelia here, and I just wanted to show you this totally awesome outfit Mommy's friend Amanda made especially for ME.

Isn't it the KEE-UTEST?

I hear some of you have been around for a while, so you might even remember the LAST time Ms. Amanda made an outfit just for me. It was a dress and it was one of my favorite things.

SHEESH. I was SUCH a baby back then.

NOW I understand why kids hate it when their moms put pictures of them on the Internet.


Just kidding. I love it.

Anyways. It's Friday! Get out there and have fun, Internet. I can't wait to play with Maisy and maybe even Bayla (my new next-door puppy dog), and of course this might be the weekend that Scoutie finally comes back! #nevergiveup

Mar 25, 2015

Amelia & Maisy

Amelia still talks about Scout every day. Every single day.

She asks when he's coming home, and she says, "Scoutie's coming back for me." She breaks my heart anew every day.

In just over a month, she's going to be saying goodbye to her OTHER best pet friend, Maisy.

Maisy is the chocolate lab pound puppy who lives in the house behind us, and they've been buddies since Amelia was old enough to understand that animals are her destiny.

Like Moses who lived in that house before her, Maisy is a gentle spirit and loves our kids.

Amelia is the only one who's taken such a liking to her, though, and Amelia BEGS to go out and play with her several days a week.

We keep dog treats in our pantry just for her, although when we run out, we give her slices of American cheese -- her REAL favorite treat.

I already know what's coming.

I know that when our move date is just around the corner, her lip is going to quiver, the tears are going to spill over, and she's going to ask, "CAN WE TAKE MAY-MAY WIFF US?"

I'd like nothing more, but no, aside from the fact that Grayson hates dogs, SHE'S SOMEONE ELSE'S PET. We just borrow her regularly.

So deep is Amelia's love for her, though, that she will hand-feed her tiny little treats for half an hour. (I break down one Beggin' Strip into 15 or 20 tiny pieces to make it last longer.)

Maisy is so gentle with Amelia that she tries to lap up the treats with the tip of her tongue rather than her teeth.

I stress again how sweet Maisy is with her because in the middle of this little Treat Session, I encouraged Amelia to toss one of the treats up in the air so Maisy would jump for it.

I DIDN'T MEAN FOR HER TO THROW IT OVER HER HEAD, INTERNET. But that's what she did, and Maisy went over her head to get it. I hate to tell you this, but I got an action shot, dog treat in flight and all.

Amelia went down on her bottom, started crying, YES I PUT MY PHONE DOWN, Maisy immediately started licking her, I checked Amelia out and hugged the tears away, and before I knew it ...

Reason #421 it will be hard to leave this place.

Mar 23, 2015

New houses are so glamorous

So many of you have commented and emailed to let me know how much you're enjoying the House posts. I can imagine how exciting it all is, what with pictures of Toilets in Garages and all.

As of yesterday, I'd finally reached my breaking point with the state of the garage at the new house. It had just become such a dumping ground for things that needed to move to the dumpster, light fixtures and appliances that have been delivered but can't be installed yet, and the old kitchen cabinets (which we're reusing in the garage), that you couldn't even walk around in there. So I spent a few hours prioritizing, pushing, shoving, cursing and -- ultimately -- making some good progress in there yesterday. (And my friend Bonnie's teenage son helped, too.) Here's that same view as of 6:00 last night:

The pre-move plan for the garage is to:

  • add a "real" wood step into the house where those concrete blocks are now
  • paint the walls
  • pressure-wash the floor
  • replace the mini-blinds with two-inch faux-wood blinds (the garage windows face the street, and the other front-facing windows have plantation shutters)
  • secure the cabinets to the rear wall
  • install our (current) basement fridge in that gap where the blue Rubbermaid container is sitting
  • install birch plywood countertop over the cabinets

At some point I'd like to add pegboard or something over the lower cabinets, but I'm still thinking on that.

Here's a slightly different angle of the garage a few weeks ago:

And last night after we'd worked on it for so long:

I pushed the previous owners' dresser toward one of the garage doors because I plan to sand and paint it next weekend. I'm HOPING that with some paint and new hardware, it will look spiffy enough to use as a buffet piece in our dining room.

One weird thing that we "inherited" from the previous owners is a rather large number of rubber box tops. You'll notice I didn't say "Rubbermaids" or "box tops and bottoms."


You can see a few of them lurking in this picture.

But what I mean to say is, when I collected them yesterday and put them all in one place to carry out to the dumpster, there were MORE THAN 60.


I feel better, though, now that we've talked about it.

The other thing I wanted to update you on is the staircase. I asked our contractor to replace our traditional oak newel posts with shaker-style posts. Here are the original ones:

And here are the (unfinished) new ones.

Every time I walk in the kitchen, I die laughing. I told my contractor I've named them. Their names are "Ben" and "Piper," two kids' names I never got to use.


I thought they'd be about, oh, half that size. Each. I don't want them to overwhelm my kitchen cabinets. (I know there are a lot of cabinets, but they're not overly decorative, and I chose a VERY simple crown to top them.)

The longer Jake thought about it, the more he agreed with me.

I think what I want to do is lighten the decorative detail on the tops of each post a little. I just want a simple square detail on top ... I think what's here is too traditional. It would have fit in better with the house before, but not now.

I love everything about the rest of the detail, though. (And my painters will caulk all of the gaps and nail holes before painting them trim white.)

Basically I want the top to more closely mimic the bottom, really. The simpler, the better, in my mind.

I also feel like all of these corners will be a safety hazard. Can I get an AMEN from the moms out there?

I mean, scroll back up, moms. Every single one of you looked at that first picture of Jakey with his hands reaching up to those posts and you had one thought: LAUNCH PAD. I know. I see it, too. Every time they come down the steps, their palms are going to hit the tops of those posts and they're going to launch themselves off into space.

Did I do it myself yesterday? I'll never tell.

Mar 18, 2015

Stacking 'em up like pancakes

The other day when I took those long-overdue pictures of the kids on the front porch, I took a few others in the side yard.

I asked them to "stack up like pancakes."

Was I hoping to get one of those famous Awkward Family Photos to call our very own?


I just wanted to see how long it would take them to topple over.

NOT THAT LONG, as it turns out.

Maybe nine seconds, tops.

No children were harmed in the taking of these photographs.*

*Mom of the Year

Mar 16, 2015

The happs at the new house

Our flight home from Las Vegas was delayed last night, so we didn't get back until 1:30 in the morning. That means that when our alarm went off this morning at 6:00 -- which was 4:00 Pacific Time -- do you know what it felt like?


But let's talk about happier times. Right before I left town, I ran over to the new house to take pictures of whatever progress I found. The main progress I saw was in the dining room, where the contractor -- a talented carpenter in his own right -- had completed the board-and-batten wainscoting.

It's going to be caulked and painted trim white, and I'm planning to wallpaper above it with Imperial Trellis in green -- a bold, graphic print by Schumacher.

The only images I saw in a cursory search show the green colorway in what I would call an "overused" application ... I'd be using far less of it in our dining room.

I'd be using an amount more similar to what you see here in the grey colorway -- which I also like, by the way, but my adjacent den is going to be very grey, and I really want the dining room to be different.

Anyway, most of the room will be trim white, with the wallpaper above. Refinished floors, a natural area rug and lanterns to replace the brass chandelier.

But I'm really happy with the work our contractor did on the board-and-batten.

As it turns out, so is his wife ... he texted her some pictures of it, and now she wants him to install some in their house.


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