A Sneak Peek at the New House!

It's been about a month since we bought our house, and we've spent the past weeks doing project after project to make it look like it's been our own all along.

There still a ton to do (and frankly there probably always will be) but I figured it was time to give it to share a little sneak peek (with slightly blurry cell-phone pics).

The first thing we did when we bought the house was give the living room, dining room, and kitchen fresh coat of white paint, thanks to a lot of help from friends and family. That change alone did a lot to update the house and make it feel a lot brighter and show off the natural light that streams in from all the windows.

After that were a series of other projects, like repainting the kitchen cabinets, removing the doors to make open shelving and adding new hardware. Previously the owners had given the cabinets a really bad faux bois paint effect, so sanding and painting them white was a huge improvement right there. But I've always had a thing for white kitchens so I was pleased to finally have my own. The one thing I didn't expect however with how much dirt the white would show. That's why I was excited when Mom's Meet and Walgreens sent me some of their new cleaning products from their exclusive natural-products brand called Ology.

They make cleaning up any of the fingerprints left on the cabinets or food splatters a breeze. Plus, the all-purpose spray has a lovely basil lemon scent that freshens up the kitchen beautifully, and I adore the fun packaging. There are tons of other Ology products, from household cleaners to baby products (which I can't wait to try!), toiletries to toilet paper. I have also been using their free-and-clear laundry detergent, which I've found to be gentle on clothes and our sensitive skin while still fighting stains well. I love that like all the brand's products, they are free of dyes, artificial fragrances, phosphates, harmful chemicals and instead feature natural plant-based and mineral-based ingredients.

The last stop in the kitchen (which I didn't photograph), is a corner nook. I'm searching for a table and chairs to fill it, but for now a tableclothed card table is doing the trick. And I envision a lot of fun, colorful artwork hanging on the walls but those are usually finishing touches for me.

Because we lost a lot of kitchen space compared our old house, I had to get smart about creating storage in other places around the house. For instance, I made a China cabinet fashioned from an old cabinet that was in the garage of our old house by painting it white and adding classic gold cup pulls. Inside you'll find a lot of our plastic Tupperware and extra cups and mugs that don't look pretty with the open shelving. It sits in the dining room that adjoins the kitchen, so everything is still at hand whenever it's needed. (Pretty sure that artwork will hang here but as I mentioned earlier, I like to save art-hanging for last.)

The dining room segues directly into the living room, which features some really great, tall walls with windows at the ceiling that allows for tons of natural light. (And hence, plenty of potted foliage!)

Oh and did you notice anything else? We finally broke down and got a television as our Christmas present to ourselves this past year. We got a Roku and a digital antenna and have been quite pleased! They've made for a great way to rewind after a day spent toiling over project after project.

One of the things I was excited about with having wooden floors in nearly every room. Along with that, however meant upgrading to more rugs, and finding ones with personality proved to take some sleuthing but I think we hit the jackpot with the living room one. I love the lived-in feel it adds and the spunky color that ties in with the lampshades I picked up at a thrift store.

That is pretty much the main level, save for the entry way but there's really nothing to showcase there. I'm going to suspend the tour here because this is where most of the work has taken place and the updates are most evident. I'll try to post another update of one of the other floors in another couple weeks. Till then, I'll be keeping myself busy with projects aplenty and a cute little kid running around the place!

(I received the Ology products for free from the sponsor of the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetsSM blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.)

Dear Claire: 15 Month Update (and a Look Back at a Year Ago)

(I've been writing monthly updates to my daughter, Claire, documenting all the changes that come with the passing weeks. You can catch up on past letters here.)

Dear Claire,

You keep on growing, growing, growing! We had your 15 month appointment, and you weighed in at 19.5 lbs and 30 inches. And, I recently just had to get you new shoes in size 5!

I got you dressed the other day and realized it was nearly the same outfit you'd worn a year ago when I did one of your first real photoshoots, back when you were only three months old, that we had done on our old house's back deck. So I went on and captured the moment, taking you out on our new deck to document the differences a year can make. See for yourself:



and for fun, because it was too adorable:

Speaking of the new house, we've been here full-time for a couple of weeks, and I don't think the transition has phased you much (except that it still isn't quite as dark in your bedroom as the basement was during naptime). So far, you seem to love it. Especially the outside. We have told you that you can only play outside if you have shoes on, so you say, "Shoe, shoe" when you want O-U-T. (We've had to start spelling it!)

Your Mimi bought you a new swing for the swingset, which you love to play on, as well as have people take you down the swingset's slide. You also discovered the surprise strawberry patch that popped up on the side of the yard and (on your own accord) picked off the only two red strawberries to eat. Between you and the birds/bunnies, the vines are now clean!

Otherwise we've just been settling in here, which you've been keen to play a part in, yourself. You are big into "helping" right now. You love to make a mess and when I tell you it's time to pick things up, you eagerly help. Sometimes, though, you take it a bit too far and pick things up when they shouldn't. For instance, you really like throwing things away--shoes, cell phones, Tupperware. I am on the lookout for a new trashcan whose lid you can't so easily lift. You also love flipping the light switches when we go into or out of a room.

Also, you've started to make some friends in the neighborhood. All around us are little kids (boys, mostly) within a year of your age. Across the street is a boy who's only a day younger than you! We've only hung out with them once or twice for a homemade music class, but I imagine that over the next few years, you all will get to know one another quite well!

Here are some more notes I made over the past month of changes you've shown:
  • You know where your belly button is (a trick Daddy taught you!) and if you see a picture of him, you can say "Da." (If I point to a picture of myself, you just stare at me blankly, though!)
  • You love to say uh-oh and then drop things.
  • Your Mimi loves to sing a nursery rhyme to you about a blackbird snipping off your nose and as soon as she starts to sing it, you pinch your nose because you know that's coming at the end!
  • You can make monkey and seal pup sounds (which you learned from one of your animal-sounds books).
  • You love to try to make people laugh and you discover something that makes us laugh, you will keep doing it over and over again.
  • You love to empty drawers!
  • You can climb up and down stairs pretty smoothly, so we haven't even bothered to try to babyproof the stairs here. (We have however, babyproofed a couple of drawers, if you see the point above!)
  • You love anything that is your-sized for sitting. I finally found you a little wooden chair at a thrift store that you sit in quite a bit!
  • You also are getting into baby dolls and if I ask you, "Where's baby?" you run off to find the one your Grandma got you for Easter!
  • Your hair is long enough for a ponytail although your bangs are still growing out and get in your eyes.
  • Foods you've liked over the past month include hummus, sloppy joe meat, raspberries and raisins. You go through phases with nearly everything, but your morning oatmeal is a staple.
  • You also went swimming for the first time! The neighborhood pool is just down the street, so we took you on opening day and you loved the baby pool. I can foresee quite a few afternoons spent there this summer!
So, as you can see, it's been a big month! I love watching your personality blossom and your insight and intellect grow. Here's to another month and a summer full of fun!

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