One Year as a Dad

CJ and Claire

Claire at 2 months old

I haven’t written in quite some time; Emily likes to remind me. So, I thought I would write a post on my first year of being a dad.

One year has passed since I became a father. I still feel odd when someone refers to me as a dad or talks about my daughter. Emily is putting together 2014’s pictures into an album and we are reminiscing over all that has happened in the past year. Seeing Claire develop from a bump to a small person complete with a personality has been quite a journey.

The first weeks were among the hardest weeks in my life. Nothing can prepare you to be a parent. The amount of responsibility thrust upon you overnight is immense. On the other side, nothing is quite as rewarding either. Each day was a new experience with both challenges and rewards. There is nothing quite like waking up to a newborn on your chest sleeping peacefully. And nothing quite like your newborn crying for 30 minutes because you cannot figure out what’s making her uncomfortable. We made it through and the experience brought Emily and I closer each day.

Our first months brought us into a groove. Claire slept through most of the night. Emily mastered feeding. I mastered diaper changes (Emily was already a pro). Claire started to learn. Head, shoulders, knees, and oh what are those? Toes. Oooo Fingers. And then she was mobile. Each step was rewarding and nothing made us happier than seeing her develop.

That brings us to today. Claire is now eating real food and sometimes enjoys the food we make (hurray!). Claire is a ball of energy. We work on helping her walk and laugh at her little belly. Teeth are coming in and it’s another proud parent moment. Sometimes we have to do things that upset her and it hurts even though we know it’s for her own good.

I have learned that I knew nothing in the beginning. I have learned to be OK with that. Every day is a learning experience. Every day we are learning more about a person. We learn what she likes and doesn’t, often with enthusiasm. We learn what one babble is versus another, one cry verses another. We live for her smiles and enjoy every day. Every day makes us more a family. Every day I learn. Every day I’m happy.

Family

Claire at 8 months
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At-Or On Deck

The new year is here and so are the new projects. So what has CJ been up to you ask? Well, at the end of 2013 my services were requested by Mom-in-law to put together some furniture. The furniture was in about 5 boxes so I moved what I could into the soon-to-be sewing room. We emptied the box that was too heavy to be carried and brought everything inside. After sifting through all the Styrofoam and tape and cardboard, we had about 100 pieces and a few instruction manuals.

After we got started, we hit a road block when we realized that the side of the corner desk was warped and we had to order a new piece. About a week later, we got the piece and finished the corner desk. That weekend, I went back and put together the storage cabinet while Emily cleaned our house, not sure who got the best on that one…but it was finished and looked great.

Which brings us back to the new year. One last piece of furniture remains – the TV console for the other room. We spent a few hours working on it this week and got about 3/4 of that one finished.

So what are we doing at our house you ask? This year, we decided to do Christmas at our house and we (the royal “we” that is) are still working on cleaning up but are now almost finished. Another project that has been sitting in the garage is our Adirondack chairs for the front of the house.

We picked up some supplies to prime last week and I spent some time priming them and my right arm on the 1st of January. They are now all primed and mostly ready for a shiny paint coat and assembly. The table that came with the chairs is another problem. I have gotten myself into a little pickle. While trying to save some time, I primed the table while fully up but now it won’t open up so I can get all the other spaces…and I need to do the top. So it’s looking troublesome. Lesson learned: Take your time.

Priming

Priming Adirondacks

So that’s what we have been up to in the new year! On deck for our projects are picking a color (white) for the chairs in the front and there are oh so many shades of white. What whites do you love? The rest of our time will be BABY ROOM ROom room!

Bathroomy

Last weekend, Emily thought it would be nice to do a little work around the house. So, with a little help from Larry, we put in new medicine cabinets and new lights in both bathrooms. Easy, right?…no. Larry and I removed the old wooden framed medicine cabinets and measured the holes. Then, off to our favorite stores. We found one we liked so we bought one for each bathroom. First, we stopped for lunch to feed the help (aka Larry). Two sammiches, two bags of chips, and a few cookies later and we were back to work. We fit the first one in the master bath without any problems. Then, we moved on to the guest bath and, of course, it didn’t quite fit. It was bumping the lights above So what do we do…remove the light (project two for the weekend).

At this point, Larry had to go, so Emily and I were off to Home Depot and Lowes for the second run. Two light sets and a replacement medicine cabinet later and we were back to the hard labor. Emily and I replaced the light in the master bath because, at this point, I didn’t even want to deal with the difficult guest bathroom (little pre-madonna). Once the lights were in the master bath, we moved on to the guest bath, put in the lights, and then set in the cabinet. Everything rolling along smoothly no problems. And, you guessed it, with our luck the mirror hit the lights still (this time, when trying to open the medicine cabinet door). Oh yes, back to square one.

Day two, we go back to Lowes to buy different glass shades to alleviate our bump-ity bump glass on glass situation. Bam. Done. Looks great. Just to add the icing on the cake for the master bathroom, I removed the little 1940’s toothbrush holder.

Here's what our guest bathroom looked like before we updated the faucet, medicine cabinet, and lights

Here’s what our guest bathroom looked like before we updated the faucet, medicine cabinet, and lights

Anddd here's what it looks like today

Anddd here’s what it looks like today

Here's what the master bath looked like before

Here’s what the master bath looked like before

Master Bath AFTER

Much better. I should have taken the photo at the same angle but you get the picture.

Next up for the master bathroom – staining the cabinets to a dark wood shade, replacing the faucet (to match the guest bath), the shower head, and the toilet paper holder and then we’re done! We want to convert everything to be silver instead of 1/2 silver 1/2 gold. There’s no rush since we have other projects to do in the house to prepare for our little one coming!

Oh and just for fun we cleaned, reorganized the office, and added a little fung-shway.

Guest Who?

This past weekend, we had two important [temporary] additions to the house. The first, an old trusty dusty trash bin, and the second, someone who I could stuff into it, the Peanut! For those of you less familiar with the Peanut, she’s my sister and also goes by Suzanne.

What did we accomplish, you might ask? These past few weeks, I was working on cleaning up the loose bricks to redo the front row. But, after taking a closer look, we decided that we wanted to remove the front row of bricks altogether and use them to add another level to the mini-brick wall closer to the house. So, with the help of a hammer and chisel, I officially removed the small front brick walls and trimmed up the plants in front of our house that were getting a little cozy with the neighbor’s rooftop. My poor hand has seen better days; we noticed at dinner on Saturday that a my left index finger was nice and purple.

So tired

Along with the removal of the brick, the old wood shelving in the garage is now residing in the bottom of above-mentioned dumpster as well. The garage is looking a little messier until we get a new shelf and organize everything we have but, in the end, it will be much better than the previous setup. I still need to pull down the two mysterious doors in the rafters and the long piece of plywood that are just hanging about collecting dust spiders and who knows what else.

Suzanne gave several bushes a nice #2 cut before we ripped them out entirely in the backyard. Basically, all that is left after all of our hard work this past weekend is a Kansas wasteland with three rocks, two bushes, and a whole bunch of wannabe hedge plants. Oh and the tiny fruit tree.
Thanks again to Suzanne who came up and pitched in! Hopefully she had fun up with us as the first guest at our house. We know we did and can’t wait until her next visit!

Sunday morning crepe breakfast!

Happy 6 Month Anniversary to Us!

CJ and I celebrated our 6-month anniversary on Sunday! Unfortunately, CJ had to work the whole day but we were able to go to a nice dinner in Danville to celebrate. The restaurant was an adorable little place in downtown Danville called The Peasant and the Pear and they had amazing food! We highly recommend it.

It’s amazing how fast these past 6 months have flown by! We’ve renovated our kitchen, refinished our floors, moved into our adorable little home, started decorating, and so many more little things. Tomorrow marks exactly two months since we’ve officially moved into the house and four months since we officially became homeowners. Our contractor kept assuring us during the construction that we would forget all the hiccups once we moved into the house and that it would all be worth it. I definitely believe him now, it was all so worth it. For those wondering about a housewarming party, we still have a few more pieces of furniture to get before we start planning it but it will happen. 🙂

Tomorrow, we’re having a tree guy come over to tame the monster tree on our front yard. It is ridiculously large so we need to get it under control.

As promised, below is a picture of our new table lamp for our bedroom. I loooove the print on it and how it contrasts with the stripes on the duvet cover.

So excited (dadadada), I just can’t hide it!

Inspector gadget came and did the final run through today and signed off on everything. So we are good to go. The house will have all the finishing touches done throughout the week and then we will be able to start filling boxes to fill our new boxes (also known as rooms). Yeah, there is a bit more painting to do but who’s counting?

The next item on our agenda is closet construction. With the nice new closet, we now need some shelves and racks so our clothing isn’t sitting on the floor in little (actually quite large) stacks of cloth and shoe.

What our closet kind of looks like right now, except the floors have been redone and we now have baseboards

Then I must keep on digging, keep on digging in the backyard to move out the rest of the bricks and fill in the holes I’ve newly created. Then, clean things up in and outside of the house.

Then it’s time to P-A-R-T-why cuz I gotta. 🙂 

Hi Hoe, Hi Shovel, Bye Brick

With the sample spots applied to the walls of the three rooms we decided that the colors were just too light. So back to the paint store CJ went again this time with what we were sure would be good colors…The color for the master bedroom came out something of a goldish color and since we aren’t into the whole “living like kings in our solid 24k gold room” we decided we will try again on that one. The new color we chose for the guest room may have a little too much blue in it but we still are not 100% sure because the light was still out in that room. But the new color chosen for the office was great. So we’re .3333333333 for color choices now (two left), and I will be heading back to the paint store for round three tomorrow.

The kitchen continues to improve little by little. Most of the granite tops are now on the existing cabinets except for the cabinet we are still waiting for. It’s beautiful. The oven is also in so we’re thinking about baking a cake or something. I mean we don’t really need all the other stuff in the kitchen, right? We also have a sink so someone can clean dishes (we cook, you clean…pleeeaase). Although you’ll have to bucket-in the water because we’re short a faucet.  The kitchen is also being re-textured and painted this week.

The heater was finally fixed on Monday so the floors can now acclimate and then be sanded to a nice baby bottom smoothness later this week.

Now for the small bites. The contractors were working on installing an outlet over the fireplace to plug in the tv, and they found some termite damage on one beam. ARGHHHHHH! They tore out a little further and didn’t find much more thankfully. So with the beams replaced and wall stitched up, I had some work to do in the backyard. Apparently the little devils were sneaking in through the large brick flower bed that was behind the house. So, of course that means bye bye bricks. It took me one evening to tear out all the man eating plants growing in the bed. And then today I knocked most of the bricks out with one fell swoop of my mighty, borrowed, SLEDGE HAMMER, thanks to Bob.

Tomorrow will bring the end of the bricks and some new colors to the bedrooms, as well as a daring sweatshirt rescue, Emily left her jacket at the house. Current casting calls for supporting painters, brick movers and general lookie-loos are now open. Appointments and final decisions will be made next year, I mean month, I mean week. It’s off to work we go.

The search for a finish line

The house is well on its way to being finished. Hopefully everything will be done in a few more weeks (knock on wood). Brand new wood that is, the flooring guys will be starting tomorrow and will be working through the weekend to get the floor fixed and sanded smooth like a babies bottom.

We tried to pick out some knobs and handles today but we were unsuccessful. Who knew there were so many options to choose from.

Since no one wants to come garden we have put that on the back burner for a little while (but mostly because its all wet outside and I don’t feel like getting muddy ha).

Another one bites the dust

Another day has gone by and the house is looking great. The kitchen has been walled up and the living room is full of cabinets… That’s how it’s supposed to be right? Oh wait the cabinets go in the kitchen she says. The cabinet guys are going to start tomorrow at 5 am… Just kidding, probably more like 7-8am. We don’t want to piss off the neighbors, but in all seriousness that’s when they wanted to start. The hunt for bedroom furniture has been concluded today. We found some reasonably priced furniture, it doesn’t hurt that it’s easy on the eyes if you catch my drift ;). We are going to order it tomorrow. Then we will only have small things to complete woot woot. Sign-ups for next months gardening are now available, just leave your name and availability at the bottom in the comments. I know we will have plenty of volunteers…right? Anybody?

Remodel continued

The remodel continues on. The closet has been drywalled and the kitchen has a set of shiny new wires. Unfortunately termites were found in the kitchen but they were small colony and are going to be terminated. Our appliances have been delivered and are waiting to be installed. Can’t wait for my fancy new fridge (ummm beer). The piles of leaves that were taking up residence in our front yard have packed their bags and moved. Hopefully the cabinets will be in by the end of next week ( fingers crossed and hoping for the best).