Sunday, June 30, 2013

new house before & afters! (aka the longest post EVER!!)

I've been promising a house post for awhile now. We moved just about a month ago, and while it's basically been done for a good couple of weeks I've been bad about getting pics taken. Blame it on being 8 1/2 months pregnant! Before the tour I want to give you a few details about the place!

When looking for a house we looked long and far, trying to decide if we wanted to stay in the city or go to the burbs. Either way some compromises were going to have to be made. We decided on the city, but in order to do that we couldn't afford a single family home. Luckily we found a short sale that really fit our needs. Because it was a short sale it was in our budget, was about 2000 sq feet, and had 4 bedrooms & 2 1/2 bathrooms, all on the top level of a condo building. I say it's like a ranch house, just placed on top of another building! Oh - did I mention there is not only a garage spot but two additional spots as well?!? That is crazy in the city. It needed a lot of work (all of the floors had to be redone and every inch was repainted before we could move in), but was worth it for the size and area. It also has a private 2000 sq ft roof deck, with views of downtown, which is amazing real estate in the city (I'll do a separate post about that!). The process was long and at times made me think I was going to lose my mind, but after about 9 months we finally closed and I feel confident that it was all worth it. We're already so much happier, and life is so much easier in this layout. Ok... onto pics. Get ready folks. This is going to be a long one!

First up, the living/dining room. This is a huge open room that extends into the kitchen area. I adore the open floor plan and all of the light. Both of which we were desperately missing in our old place. Beyond the space & light however the place needed work. The paint was old and dingy and the floors were in especially bad shape in the living areas.

We did a lot of work in this area. I chose a "colonial grey" color for all of the main living areas that I love. It's really calm & peaceful. Also obviously the new floors make a huge difference. The fireplace was also painted white which looks about a million times better, we added new blinds, and now have a couch that accommodates more than 1.5 people! The wall to the right of the TV is still a work in progress. It's a big empty wall and I'm just not sure what I want to put there, so I'm living with it for a bit. Looking into the dining area I also recovered the dining room chairs. I used outdoor fabric so they'll wipe off easier after the last covers were basically destroyed by gross little kiddos!

A few living room details. The heart art was done by a local Chicago artist that I found on Etsy, and features the three cities Tim & I have lived in (St. Louis, NYC, & Chicago). Above the piano we have a gallery wall. You may notice that two of the frames feature scrapbook paper, as I've left them empty so we have room for photos of Baby Rocketship as well!

Onto the kitchen! The space in the kitchen is just amazing. There are so many cabinets and a ton of counter space. Also a huge pantry which is a luxury when you're talking about city living. 

I really hated the color of the cabinets, and getting new ones just wasn't in the budget right now, so we had our painters paint them white. Tim also added a grayish-brown subway tile backsplash (how much do I love being married to someone handy?!?). It's amazing how those simple changes make the space look so much better, and I even think made the appliances and granite countertops look nicer too. We also added some stools to the breakfast bar and a new kitchen island which has 3 deep drawers that accommodate all of my baking supplies. Win!!

Along the back wall of the kitchen we also have our pantry, fridge, and our little organization station!

Going from the kitchen there are hallways in either direction. One leads to the baby room, master bed & bath, 1/2 bath, and laundry (oh yeah - an actual laundry room!!!), while the other hall leads to the "boys wing" which features their room, playroom, and another full bath. I turned the wall heading to our room into a photo wall (thank you pinterest!!!) and the wall going towards the boys area has the kitchen organization station as well as a fun ikea cord system to hang kids art from. 
(the lighting is weird on the photo on the left. the right side shows what the paint really looks like)

If we continue down the hallway to the "boys wing" we have two rooms that were basically identical but reversed. The only real difference was the bedroom on the very end had a big walk in closet. Also across from the two bedrooms there was perhaps the most disgustingly dirty bathroom I've ever seen. Seriously, if I posted the pictures from when we looked at the place w/the tenants you would die. Even Timmy was proclaiming how gross it was. First up the two bedrooms.

One of the biggest changes with the move was putting the boys in a room together, and putting them in bunk beds. Henry was still in a crib so we were pretty nervous, but they have done amazingly well. The bunk beds are solid wood and incredibly sturdy. They also have stairs instead of a ladder which made us feel safer about the boys using them, but also add storage as each stair has a drawer. We got them matching comforters, but let them have their own sheets (trains for Hen & space for Timmy). We also painted the boys room a light blue. The lighting is a bit off in all the pics, but it is blue in person. Blackout curtains were a must as well! Oh, we also had to remove the ceiling fan right away so Timmy didn't chop his head off. lol. 

a few of the touches in their room!

 Instead of putting the boys in separate rooms we made the room next to them the playroom. We have a million and one toys and it is SO nice to have a place where they all live that isn't my living room! And if it becomes a hot mess I can shut the door and pretend like it isn't happening! lol. We bought some ikea furniture to store things and also did built ins in the closet which houses a TON of toys. I love how fun and colorful the room is for the boys. They love it and Henry spends most of his time in there (hence the fact that I couldn't get a pic that he wasn't in! lol)!

Next up the boys bath. This room needed the most cleaning for sure. One big priority of mine was removing the sliding glass door. Not only was it gross, but it just makes bathing little ones more difficult. We 86'd the shower door, painted the bathroom a light yellow, added some fun pops of color, and my mom & I used a gel stain to make the hideous maple vanity an ebony color. The floors still need a bit of work as there are some loose tiles, but overall I'm happy with how it looks. 

hallway looking in. i just love that photo!

Alright, so that's the boys area. If you took the other hallway first you'd hit the baby room & half bath. The baby room is still a work in progress and I'll post that in a different post entirely. That leaves us with the half bath. Paint, a fun instagram poster that I framed, and staining the vanity ebony (like the boys room) made that bathroom an easy space to fix up.

Last up, the master bed and bath. Let's start with the master bath. Not a ton was done to that room. We painted the entire bathroom a cream color to freshen it up. I also hated the mirror & light fixture that was in there. It was just really dated. His & hers lighting/mirrors were installed which made the space look so much better. I'm thinking about painting the cabinets white, but haven't gotten there yet. Eventually I'd love to rip out the huge jacuzzi tub and tiny stall shower and replace them with a soaking tub that doesn't take up quite so much room and a bigger shower (that pregnant ladies can fit in!!), but that won't happen for a few years.

The master bedroom before was pretty nondescript. Nothing to write home about in any regard. A decent size, but that's about it.

It's nothing too exciting now, but with fresh paint and a bit of decor it looks a lot better and is a really cozy space for us. I love how well our king sized bed fits. I'm going to put big b&w pics up of the boys on the wall next to the window, but I'm waiting for Rocketship to get here before I do that. We also have a TV in our room now, which was unintended, but a line had to be put in there in order to get the cable up and running in the rest of the house, so why not? I do love to watch some QVC before bed!! lol

So that's it. The grand tour. I'll definitely do a roof deck post, as well as a baby room one, but those will have to wait for another day! Hope you enjoyed it. I am loving every minute of being here which is wonderful. Oh, if you have any questions about where things are from let me know in the comments. We sold a lot of our old stuff, as well as saved Christmas money, so we were able to buy some new things which fit the space a lot better. I'm really happy with how it all turned out! Thanks for stopping by!!!

Monday, June 24, 2013

picture palooza

I'm currently working on a big "new house" blog post, filled with before and after shots. I'm hoping to have that up in the next few days, but figured a picture fix was in order in the meantime! Just some fun random shots from the last week to tide you over while I work on getting the house post up. Enjoy!!

silly guy wearing Mommy's flip flops

playing on the roof

snowcones at Lincoln Park Zoo. delish!!!

fun day at North Ave Beach

Henry went and laid down right next to these girls. lol.

rocking Grandma D's hat!

Monday, June 17, 2013

zoo day fun!

So I forgot to post this last week..... oops. I've been pretty exhausted and absentminded these days so a lot slips my mind! Anyway... last week we had a lovely, hot, sunshiny day. Timmy was out of school, and camp doesn't begin until this week, so I wanted to find some activities to occupy us. Despite the fact that I knew it would be pretty hot I decided a trip to Brookfield Zoo was in order. They have a "Dinosaurs Alive" exhibit that they've been advertising on the radio and Timmy has been asking to go. It was a great time. The exhibit is full of animatronic dinosaurs, some that you could even control their movements. Timmy was fascinated, and Henry liked it pretty well too. We also checked out a sting ray exhibit, the penguin house, played in some water, and had lunch. There is so much to do at Brookfield, and we have season passes, so I try not to do too much in any one visit. Just let them really explore each and every thing they're interested in, and then go back and see the rest later. It's going to be a long summer so I'm sure we'll have plenty of time to squeeze in Brookfield visits.

And now for a few pictures!!!

checking out Stingray Bay

Timmy loved "Dinosaurs Alive." I really impressed myself with how many dino names I knew how to pronounce! lol

just roaring at some dines

Next time we'll remember to bring swimwear for the water play area. Timmy was having a blast!

This guy wasn't so happy about getting splashed!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

emotional roller coaster

It's become apparent to me that toddlers/little kids are completely bi-polar. Ok, this isn't a new observation per say, but yesterday was one of those days where emotions were just so all over the place that I sort of couldn't believe it. One moment I'd be sitting there admiring how lovely and well behaved my children were, and the next I was contemplating leaving them on the side of the road with a "free to a good home" sign! Let me backtrack a bit....

Yesterday we were in for some big storms, but they weren't due until later in the day so I decided I'd take the boys to a nearby play lot to check it out and let them burn some energy. They were great at the playground. Henry went up and down the slide approximately 9000 times, but for the most part was pretty good about waiting his turn and letting people get off the slide before going down. Timmy however was the one who really impressed me. Most of the kids at the play lot were a bit younger than he was, except for two brothers who he spent most of his time playing with. Nicely put, those kids were  punks. They were trying to grab each other off the climbing wall, hanging on the plants trying to break branches off, running up the slide when there was a line of kids waiting to come down... they were just a bit demonic. And of course their nanny was off talking to a friend and couldn't be bothered to actually watch or control them. Although Timmy was playing with them he was really a rock star about behaving well. Sometimes he would need a little reminder or some praise for making good choices, but he was fantastic about not following their behavior and making sure to be respectful of everyone at the playground, and careful around the little kids. I was so proud of him and made sure he knew it. By the time it was time to leave the playground I was really patting myself on the back for raising such awesome kids. If only I had the ability to see 5 minutes into the future I don't think I would have been quite so cocky! lol

The play lot is on a street w/great shops and restaurants. Since Father's Day is coming up I asked Timmy if he'd like to pick out a gift for Daddy. He said yes and wanted to know if there were things for kids. I told him no, and reminded him that this was a time to shop for something special for Daddy and we weren't buying anything for Timmy. He said he understood.

:sidenote: Lately we've had a real problem with Timmy feeling like he deserves to get something everywhere we go, and losing it if he doesn't get his way. I think I've definitely spoiled him in this regard because he's usually so easy going and cooperative and it seems perfectly fine to reward him with toys. But it has gotten out of control and I'm really trying to crack down on it.

Anyway, back to shopping. Timmy looks through everything and picks out a lovely gift for Tim. We're getting ready to pay when he spots something he wants and starts begging. I can't specify what it was exactly without spoiling Tim's gift, but let me assure you these were not kid gifts. Wine stoppers, cuff links, tie clips, bbq cook books - just an entire line of accessories and small gifts for men. They were all really cool, but not something your 4 1/2  year old needs. Well Timmy lost it. He freaked out because he WANTED one. I stuck to my guns, paid, and got the hell out of there.

We get to the stroller and the fit continues. I needed a few things from the grocery store so we walk the few blocks to the store and Timmy mostly calms down. As soon as we walk in the door there are Blackhawks balloons everywhere to celebrate the playoffs. Timmy NEEDS one. He's calm at this point, but I told him that unfortunately his behavior from 2 minutes before wasn't good and we weren't getting a balloon, and that next time he should think before making bad choices and throwing a tantrum. Well he did not like that let me tell you. Commence the grocery store tantrum. Screaming, crying... it was lovely. I tried to ignore him and go about our shopping. As I'm trying to rush through the store Henry wants a banana. I grab it and throw it in the cart. HE WANTS IT NOW! Sorry Buddy, Mommy has to pay for the banana before we can eat it. NOWWW!!!!! Nope, we have to pay first. Time to add hysterical tantrum throwing kid number two to the mix. I'll be honest, I wanted to leave my stroller in the store and run away crying or die of embarrassment, but I just kept on going, grabbed our stuff and got the hell out of dodge. Eventually Henry got his banana and all was right with the world. All except my mental state!

As we walked home, with Timmy now calmish but still wanting a balloon, and Henry chowing down on the dramatic banana, I just couldn't stop wondering to myself what the hell happened. How my kids could go from super happy sweeties to horn sprouting little hellions, and then back again to happy go lucky boys, in a span of minutes. The weirdest part to me was that they seem to think this was all totally normal, whereas I was emotionally exhausted. I know it's normal, and I truly believe I handled it as best as I could, but I did get home feeling slightly defeated that my kids are unbalanced. lol. Luckily I have a great group of mom friends that have given me enough insight into their lives to know that it isn't just my kids that are little crazies, it's all toddlers/preschoolers/kids. They're just insane! So for now I'm trying to do my best to savor the good moments, and during the bad ones remember that this too shall pass and while the childless middle aged man across the store might be shooting me death glances there is another mom in the next aisle commiserating with me and ready to catch my kid should they run off! Sometimes being a mom is super fun. Sometimes it's stressful.  But more often than not it can be both these things in the span of about 10 minutes! You just have to keep on keeping on and know that this too shall pass. And if you can't do that I suggest wine. There is always wine!

playground fun

Monday, June 10, 2013

wedding fun

I still need to catch up on the last few weeks, but I'm going to try and also blog about current events as well so I don't fall even more behind! Keeping with that mindset let's go to this past weekend. This past Saturday Tim's cousin Michelle married her love AJ. The wedding was a blast. The bride looked gorgeous, the food was delish, it was all around a good time. The thing Tim was most excited about was the chance to spend time with family that we don't see often enough. The boys were invited and we decided to take them because we wanted them to have that family time. And the fact that they would look adorable all dressed up certainly was a bonus! They were so well behaved, and incredibly amusing once it was time to dance! Timmy was the first person on the dance floor, followed by Henry, and would have been the last if we hadn't made him leave. On the way home he told me his dancing was "crazy awesome." lololol. I know not everyone is into having kids at weddings, but the cuteness of the boys was just amazing. Timmy loved every minute of the wedding and had some great one-liners. My favorite was when the bride and groom were having their first dance. He was watching intently and at the end said "wow, they really do love each other." It was adorable! Alright, onto pics of my adorable guys at the wedding. They looked so dapper, and Timmy let us know several times that he looked really handsome. lol. He was right ;)

my handsome big guy. this suit was from last year.... he's grown a bit since then. lol.

little man! (the eye injury was from a fall on sunday. we like to go to the ER as often as possible don't ya know?!?)

sweetest brothers

me and my loves. i'm a lucky gal.

i've never been a maternity pic gal, but i love this. blue nail polish and all. lol.

3 guys in bow ties. how did i get so lucky?!? 

mr. cool

someone was sleepy during the ceremony

aaaaaand DANCE

blurry, but they were dancing so much it was hard to get a pic!