Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Guess I Should Leave More Often Part III

You're probably starting to think that I go away all the time and leave Chris behind.  This will be the last installment as there are no other trips sans Chris planned for the near future.

A couple of weekends ago I headed down to Austin to hang out with some of my fellow bee bloggers.  I didn't take many pictures (in fact I left my camera at home so all I had was my iPhone) but you can see some great ones over at Allie's blog.

A few shots I took while at the Capitol.

Right before I headed south I received an amazing call from my best friend's mother.  While their wood floors were being replaced, there was an accident with her dining room buffet.  They planned to replace their entire set and wanted to know if Chris and I would like their table and 10 chairs.  As Chris and I were in the market for a table to fill the recently emptied dining room (so glad to finally be done with boxes!) we jumped at the offer!

It took 2 small SUVs and Chris' F150 but with the help of my parents we were able to get it all to our house in one trip.  

We really lucked out with our house as this model normally has a formal living room and smaller dining room in the front.  Without the formal living space in our layout, the dining room is extra large and we got the added bonus of the butler's pantry.  I can't wait to decorate and set the table for Christmas dinner which we'll be hosting at our house this year.

While I was down in Austin, Chris made and installed new shelves for the laundry room.  I'll be on the look out to pick up some baskets to house cleaning supplies that don't fit in the pedestals below the washer and dryer.

Along with other minor fixes like replacing the light in the garage and screwing in hooks to hang items like brooms behind the laundry room door, Chris also found the time to paint the nursery!  We had picked out a color (Behr Spring Stream) back when we first moved in (before we were pregnant) that we loved and thought could go with accents for either a boy or a girl.  It's a blueish green color that's kinda hard to really capture.

Yes, those red curtains from the sellers will be going soon

Here's a shot that I took later in the day with the lights on... totally looks different, right??

I think the real color is something in between these pictures, closest to the last shot from outside of the room.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

30 Before 30: Prep Time

One of the last items on my 30 before 30 list involved prepping for a family.  I know you can never truly be prepared to become first time parents, but there were 3 major accomplishments that Chris and I wanted to achieve prior to trying for kids.

1. Pay off credit card debt

It's embarrassing to admit, but my credit card debt had crept up into the 5 figure range.  I always paid more than the minimum amount, but interest was eating me alive!  When we moved in with my parents I was able to really focus on the debt and knock out balance after balance until I was down to $0.  During this time period I also read up on credit scores (the blog at credit.com and the forums at myfico.com) and did regular checks of my credit reports.  Now I use my cards responsibly, making small purchases here and there (to keep the cards active) that I quickly pay off.  That hard work resulted in an 60-80 point (depending on the credit bureau) increase in my credit scores and lead us to a better rate on our mortgage.  As an added bonus, once my credit cards were paid off I was able to pay off my student loan early!

2. Graduate from UNT

Chris has worked so hard to achieve this goal of his!  After meeting him, I truly realized how fortunate I was to be able to go to a four year college straight out of high school.  Chris went to school and worked full time while earning his associates degree and now his bachelors in information technology, even making the Dean's List one semester.
Thanks UNT and USPS for bending this

We had a set back when he found out the advisors made a mistake with his transferred electives, but Chris pushed forward and accomplished what he set out to do.  I was such a proud wife, watching him cross that stage and receive that degree in August!

3. Buy a house

I know you don't need a house to have a baby, but it was a major goal for both of us.  Chris' family moved frequently growing up, and he has always wanted a house that was truly a home for him.  We are so excited to do what we want to this house and make it our family home!

And with those three goals achieved, we're excited to announce...

We have hit for a 1UP (nerdy video game reference) and can't wait to welcome our first child April 2014!

And for anyone counting back - we found out right before our trip to San Fran/Napa so I did not get to partake in all of the wine tasting.  Instead I sipped on water and a couple of these:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Front Yard Is Shaping up

Our front yard is beginning to look so much better!

This past weekend, we met our landscaper at a local nursery to pick out bushes to plant in front of our house.  For a couple of months our front beds have been empty since we had the unruly bushes removed.

Those bushes were crazy and it really annoyed us that it blocked our house number so delivery people usually had to circle back to us.  Our landscaper removed them (among all of the other wild weed and dead bush clean up that I mentioned in this post) and those areas remained empty while we saved up for more yard work to be completed.

From empty to looking so much better!  

The bushes we selected are a mixture of Dwarf Yaupon Holly (the larger ones in the back), Shrub Indian Hawthorn in Snow White and Pinkie Indian Hawthorn.  I can't wait to see the color come into the smaller bushes in the front.  

Chris and I also picked up some solar power lights to line the walkway, hopefully that will come in handy for the trick or treaters at the end of the month.

Prepping the house for Halloween

I'm also hoping that the candy will last till the end of the month!  We've already been sampling... it brings back great Halloween memories of my childhood.

And before I wrap this up, a before and in progress shot of the front yard.  It was really nice to get compliments from our neighbors on how much better this house is looking!

 Do you decorate your house for Halloween?  Will you be handing out candy or heading out to party at the end of the month?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Weekend Updates

This past weekend was supposed to be Chris' weekend off from house projects, but we were able to squeeze in a couple of updates.

First up: towel hooks.

Our master bath had no towel bars or hooks by the time we received the keys to the house.  My guess is that the sellers had installed their own when they owned the house, and took them with them when they packed up.  I thought that all fixtures are supposed to stay with the house when you're selling, but we weren't big fans of what they had anyways so it was ok that they took them. You can see the hooks in this picture from our house hunt.

We picked up some brushed nickle hooks from Home Depot on Friday night and Chris got to work installing them as well as some hand towel rings by each of our sinks.  I also hung some art/decor to fill up some of the empty wall space in the bathroom.

In another oddity there was no towel bar in the guest bath upstairs either (only the one that comes in the actual shower), so we installed a oil rubbed bronze one to go with the color scheme in there.

In not so fun news we noticed that our garbage disposal has not been working and started to fill the sink back up with crud when we run the water.  I thought we would need to call a plumber, but Chris knew how to take apart our old one and replace it with a new one.  So glad he's got these house skills!

Our other weekend updates came courtesy of our handyman (the same one that was in charge of the changes at my parents house).  He was able to mount the family room tv above our fireplace and run the cords upstairs to a nook in the gameroom.  This way we're left with a clean look in our family room and with a point anywhere RF remote (which should be arriving any day now), we'll be able to use the remote downstairs to send a signal to the box upstairs.  For now we have to go upstairs if we want to change the channel or we just watch tv in the gameroom.

And last but not least, we finally got rid of the outside light that has been on constantly since the first day we came to see the house back in June.

Someone really smart got paint over the sensor so the light was always on.  Chris tried to look at it before, but when pulling it down he noticed that there was different hard wiring for the each of the lights so we left it up until our handyman could look at.  It turns out the left light is wired to the sensor while the right light is connected to the another 4 lights that we have going around our backyard which are all controlled by a switch in our master bedroom (something we only learned this weekend when trying every switch we could to figure out what the other light was wired to).

Have you made any updates to your house lately?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Seasonal Buffet

Bring on the seasonal decor!!

I love decorating for the holidays, and as we saved up to purchase our house I used the time to hit up several after season sales and stock up on holiday decor.  The original plans were to decorate the fireplace mantel, but after we found our house and decided to mount the TV above the fireplace I had to find another place for my holiday decor.

Enter more online shopping and another purchase from Wayfair! (We previously purchased our headboard from WayFair) I found this buffet, that comes in black and cherry, and fell in love.  I debated for some time before actually pulling the trigger to purchase it and that was my mistake.  When I was ready to click buy at the end of August the black one was out of stock.  I wasn't a fan of the cherry, so I figured that I could hold out until the black one came back in stock.  I tried to find it on other sites like Amazon, but came up with the same problem - out of stock on the black.  I waited and waited, signed up for notification when it was back in stock and checked online periodically to see the estimation date get pushed back further and further (as of right now it's expected shipping is pushed till 11/8).

I waited a month and a half or so until my patience ran out.  I talked it over with Chris about buying the cherry version and if we didn't like it we could always go through the process of painting it black.  When it arrived we were both surprised to see how dark the cherry version actually is - Chris even asked me if I was sure I didn't ordered the black one when he was putting it together because it seemed so much lighter in the online picture.

With the buffet ready to go, I was excited to pull out the fall decor.  My favorite piece being the Ikea lantern filled with various sparkly pumpkins, acorns, leaves, pinecones and berries.

I put up the fall decor as soon as possible to get as much time in before I switch over to Christmas decor.   Knowing myself, the Christmas decor will be coming out next month as we prepare to host our first official holiday at our house (I know my mom is really looking forward to not having to cook for both Thanksgiving and Christmas this year!).

And just so you don't think that we are on top of everything, here is what the rest of our dining room looks like.

This is where all of our boxes were delivered from our storage shed and we are slowing knocking out the last few.  Once they're gone we'll be free to start looking for a new dining room table!

What are your favorite online shopping sites?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Guess I Should Leave More Often Part II

When the cat's away, the mice will play... or in our case - when the wife's away, the husband gets a bunch of house projects done!

This past extra long weekend (Thursday - Tuesday), my family enjoyed a trip back home to Philly/New Jersey for my cousin's wedding.  Since Chris recently started his new job, he wasn't able to make the trip with us so he had 6 days to himself at home.

Philly airport, the house I grew up in, Pat's Cheesesteaks, Atlantic City

My cousin and his new wife!

While I was enjoying reliving memories of my youth, Chris was busy knocking out project after project in our home.  First up was mounting the TV in our bedroom.

We've had the TV on the floor for some time, waiting for our handyman to come mount it and hide the cords behind the wall.  Well our handyman has been very busy with his main job, so Chris opted to just mount it himself and build a shelf to hold the cable box.  Now I can actually watch tv in bed instead of on the floor!  We'll get around to hiding the cords later.

Chris has been the king of shelving lately.  Last time it was creating the linen closet, this time it was building shelves in his gameroom for our DVDs and his video games.

Similar to the linen closet, Chris used a track system so we could alter the heights of the shelves if we need to.  He cut and painted wood and attached little blocks to the ends to hold the DVDs in.

Me being the type A personality, I went ahead and alphabetized the DVDs then loaded up the shelves.  While going through them, I noticed that there are a lot that that we should probably get rid of because we never watch them (as in still in the plastic from when they were purchased).

On the other side of the room Chris created a wrap around system to utilize the corner bump out.

Corner before

Looking at this picture one might think we were starting up a GameStop!

I have no doubt these shelves will fill up once we unpack the rest of his graphic novels and other decor items.  Mario says Yippee!!

And the last project was a complete shock to me!  We were texting Sunday night and Chris asked if I wanted to see his hair cut.  I thought this was a little odd because Chris tends to get the same haircut, only once during the summer he surprised me by coming back with a shaved head.  So I'm thinking he's done something cray cray to his hair.

Nope, same haircut, but one huge surprise behind him - he painted our master bath!!

I love how the white cabinets pop more against the green walls then they did with the beige.  We still need to hang items (like towel hooks and some art) and get a couple more mats, but I am just so happy that the painting is done!

After 5 hours of painting the nooks and crannies of the master bath, Chris is truly looking forward to a relaxing weekend this upcoming weekend.  With all of the projects he has completed lately, I have no issues with a veg out weekend!