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We might have a zillion things to do between now and April, when the Pumpkin is due.

A while back the Chief wanted me to get him a whiteboard so I can write little projects and tasks on it, and then I’ll know for sure that HE knows that I want that done.  He likes a literal honey-do list posted on the wall, rather than being reminded.  Nagged.  Whatevs :)  Good idea; I like it!

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I thought I’d round up a Honey Do list for me too, but instead, it turned into an overview of what needs to be finished around the house that we will both be working on.   As we move past the halfway mark with my pregnancy, it looks like we are going to have a very busy next four months!

Major Things For the Chief To Do:

  • Finish last details in the new dining area
  • Turn our master bedroom into a separate entry granny flat  (BIIIIG project – I will share the plans with you as we get started!)
  • Move us from the master bedroom into the current TV room
  • Move the TV & paraphernalia into the current music/storage room
  • Move the the storage items from the music/storage room into the attic (so yeah, that was one big game of Shuffle that I just spelled out)
  • Clear out the cluttered side walkway to the backyard
  • Put up new fencing along the abovementioned walkway

Good thing we just spent a week doing nothing!  He might not get another break for a while.   Here’s a photo from our trip of us visiting a tobacco shop in Canada (Windsor, Ontario is across the river from Detroit.)  They sell genuine Cuban cigars there, which are highly illegal in the US.

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Somewhat Smaller But Still Very Important Things For Me To Do:

  • Finish dining table (so close on this one – arrgghh- just need to apply a couple more coats of sealer but it’s been raining so much)
  • Find 4 chairs for new dining table
  • Paint the inside of the front door, the new french doors, and the two unpainted interior doors
  • Paint the house (we already have the paint mixed and can borrow a sprayer)
  • Sew purchased cloth into new throw pillows
  • Do some furniture shuffling with the new dining room.  I’m planning to remove the hutch and maybe move in my desk and a couple bookshelves.  This will leave an empty corner in the living room to figure out.  Right now our Christmas tree is living there, which is handy.
  • Get some seagrass mats like this to line the french door threshhold.  I know our household and friends, and there will be much tracking in from the backyard.
  • Get curtains up for the french doors

My “Someday Soon” List

  • Paint the kitchen cabinets
  • Have a baby (this just might drive down the priority level of some of these other things ;-) )

Whew!  Sometimes it helps to break it down into all the little increments.  Sometimes it just feels tiring.  In this case, it’s both daunting and exciting.  I love house stuff!  I love house projects going on!  Except for maybe cooking in the middle of a 6 week kitchen remodel, which is what a former housemate and I lived through.  I have an acquaintance whose husband took about a year to remodel their kitchen though, so I think she takes the prize for displaced cooking.

You can expect to see a bunch of posts based on the bullet points in this list, but for the end of the year I thought I’d do a little look ahead to see what might be on the table in 2013.  I hope you had a blessed and merry Christmas!

Today is The Chief and my second anniversary.  We’ve been married for, like, YEARS, as he said this morning :)  Tonight we’ll be low-key and go out for pho (we are soooo fancy) and on Friday we’ll have a date and go see The Hobbit.  We met at his Lord of the Rings movie marathon party, so this is actually a meaningful and awesome way to celebrate two years together.  And boy do I love him.

So, we’re back from a week of vacation spent with my mom and grandparents in Michigan.  I need to plug in my camera and download a few photos before I can get my next post up, but I’m just so overflowing with energy that I decided to babble a little bit without the photos.

I feel so energetic right now! I know Christmas is coming, and I LOVE Christmas, but between my natural inclinations, the house projects, and the fact that we’re going to have a new member of the family come April, we are not doing much for Christmas this year. I’ll probably put up our few seasonal decorations this week, and we’ll get our tree this weekend, and I have some cards to send out. That’s about it. I think we talked about having a quiet Christmas day too, maybe just the two of us.

What my brain is full of is decorating & remodeling plans, color combining, and baby gear! Because she has a great sale this week I just bought Maria Killam’s eBook which I have had my eye on for a while, and I am looking forward to sitting down and going through that. I have two rooms in my house painted a mildly pinky beige – not meat colored like some of those beiges, but still not the direction I want to go – and I love her color tutorials.  Also I love paint chips.   Yes I do.

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I expect to learn a lot of very useful stuff with this book.  I’m thinking of the various rooms we have that can use some color help and I’m excited to imagine how I can improve them on a budget.  Sometimes budgets are frustrating, but a lot of the time I really like the creative challenge they force.  Limits are good!  It keeps me from being stressed with too many options, or letting perfectionism take over.

Also, I’m now at the halfway point with this pregnancy (the Chief felt the baby’s kicks for the first time yesterday, whee!!) and I’ve got a little program running in the back of my brain constantly, figuring out how we will incorporate Baby into our household and thinking about how simple I can make it with the minimum of STUFF…  I really don’t like or want a lot of the baby junk they have out there.   I would like neutral, simple things, and just the basics.  Mom and I went shopping for baby clothes at the thrift store in MI (new Carter onesies for 80 cents!!) and besides the bleachable white stuff, came home with solids, stripes, and dots mostly in green, brown, gray, and navy.   I just made a date with a family friend to accompany me to Babies R Us and help me figure out how to fold a stroller and try on baby carriers.  I was overwhelmed going in there by myself and had to leave after five minutes!

If we had room for a nursery, it would probably look like this.  Dark and cozy.  Lauren Liess did such a great job.

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 As a first time mom with no baby experience, trying to figure out what we need and how to prepare for life after Baby is taking a lot of brain space.   I can’t wait to meet our new person!  I also know I will have days where it will seem like my life purpose is to wipe up gross things and I will want to trade my life with someone else.  Hopefully not too many of those days!  God, please give us an easy baby.  Amen. 

So that’s what’s on my mind at the moment.  Lots of exclamation points, which I’m going to take as a good sign of exciting times that I am excited about.  I think this will be a blessed Advent, even without Christmasy type things occupying my spare time.   Enjoying the Lord and anticipating His birth doesn’t require major decor and crafts, you know?  What’s occupying you this season?  I hope you are having fun and finding contentment in the midst of excitement and busyness!

A whole lot happened around our house last week, but it all started with the skylight.

The original version of the skylight in our dining room was pretty interesting.  Installed over 20 years ago by a drug addict who took off with the money before finishing the job, it leaked badly for a decade until the Chief had the chance to re-seal it correctly.  It left some major water damage, enhancing the, ahem,  unique appearance of the dining room ceiling.

Let’s start with an overview.  This is the last room in our house that really had not had any work done to remodel it beyond stripping off some of the wallpaper.

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And now let’s take a closer look at that punched-tin chandelier complete with a Jack Skellington festoon hardwired in.  Oh my, it’s been installed half an inch from the edge of a horribly executed skylight!

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And a zoom in…  ooohhhh my.

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So the Chief got to work gutting the skylight and making something nice out of what we had to work with.  Look at the insulation that fell out on the stepladder, then imagine 20 times that on the dining room floor.   Itchy!

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After removing the bad stuff, he reframed the ceiling opening much bigger than before and installed insulation up under the roof.

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Then he installed framing for the drywall and insulated that.

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Much cutting and fitting of drywall later, he had the basic structure in.  It flares out from the skylight window to provide a lot more light to the room.  (Those facets aren’t as dramatic as they look – they’re very slight, and were needed because things were crooked enough up there that a flat panel on those areas couldn’t quite be managed.)

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After a couple days of very  hard work, we had a dining room that might have been on its way back to normal.

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But that was only Phase One, as it turned out.

We’ve made plans for additions on this house and roughed out our ideas on graph paper.  One of those ideas is to add a room beyond the dining room (it will be where the patio is now) with a wide doorway between it and the dining room, beyond which you would see french doors leading to the backyard.

We said to ourselves, Selves, why not get the french doors now and put them where the house currently ends?   We have a hole in the wall there anyway where a window used to be [if you look at the first photo in the post and the above photo, you can see the plastic-covered hole]. We can install the doors in such a way that we can reuse them when we build that additional room onto the back.  So we decided to pull the trigger!  And our construction project grew much, much bigger.

The Chief took a day off work to finish the skylight and install the french doors.  When I got home from work at 5:30, I walked in to see THIS.  Yes.  The whole back wall of the dining room was gone.  I guess that’s what you have to do when you’re installing 72″ double doors.

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The Chief and a friend got the doorway framed in straight and clean.  His previous experience as a finish carpenter means we don’t have to pay someone else to install even a tricky door like a double french door.

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After several frantic hours of work, it was done! Luckily everything went in smoothly, and we were even able to get to bed more or less on time.

FYI, that brown wooden door on the right leads to the back room, not outside.  The entrance to that room will probably get moved at some point because it just looks weird there now.

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So that is the crazy dramatic remodel story of the past week that we didn’t even know was coming down the pipeline.  It’s pretty awesome when the house progresses that fast with that degree of change.  Now we’re going on vacation to visit family for a week – I call it the Thanxmas holiday visit – and when we get back all rested and refreshed, we’ll finish up the last of the mudding and paint everything.  It will probably be at a more leisurely pace because it is just much more enjoyable when you’re not frantically trying to get everything done!

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Soon this lovely new space will be looking more polished and ready for that refinished farmhouse table.  We’ll get the chandelier  up too, and I already have plans for installing leaf-green curtains over the doors, moving out the old dark hutch, putting down some seagrass mats to catch backyard dirt at the door, and more.

Until then we’re oh-so-happy with the light and bright indoor outdoor dining room we can already enjoy every day.   What do you think of our changes?