Office Progress (Finally!!)

We’ve finally moved forward with making changes to the office and we are so excited! The office wasn’t horrible before but wasn’t entirely useful for what we needed in an office. The furniture was what I used in college and was great for one person, not so great for two people. There wasn’t enough storage and we constantly had stuff stacking up on the desktop, the top of the bookcase, and worst of all, the floor. Barf. I hate clutter and hate disorganization so I was not a happy camper walking past that room and especially using the room when working from home.

We did a lot of research seeing what kind of double desk options were out there and what would work best for us. For me, my top requirement was having storage and enough desk space for the two of us. For CJ, his top requirement was enough desk space. We also wanted something affordable. So, as much as I’d love a Pottery Barn office, our wallet would not.

After our research, these are the offices that inspired us the most:

DIY Desk Top – IKEA Hack from Icing on the Cake Blog

Double Workspace – The Share Space

Double Desk – Young House Love Blog

So, we’re kind of doing a hybrid of all of them. We are doing the DIY desk top in the first photo (CJ is did an amazing job building it!!), the drawers in the second one, and it will end up having a similar look as the third one when finished because we won’t have open shelves. I really love the dual cork board and shelf look in the second one too but we’re still undecided on whether or not we’ll do that. Our walls have a funky texture so we always seem to have a lot of trouble finding studs in the wall to hang stuff on. I also have computer monitors so that would require the cork boards to be hung pretty high up… not sure if I would like that. It would be a nice way to define the space though.

We also bought a white bookcase and a white filing cabinet for the office for more storage. It’s going to be such a huge relief to have all the stray documents put in their final resting place. Just thinking about having everything filed away is making me do a little jig of excitement.

We just set up all the furniture and are currently in the midst of organizing everything. Stay tuned for the reveal.

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Backyard Progress

And for a deviation from my most recent posts on mommyhood, here’s an update on our backyard!

For the past year and a half, we’ve wanted to do something with our backyard but haven’t gotten much further than the occasional weeding. Man, those weeds get OUT OF CONTROL quickly! People kept asking us, “Any progress in the backyard?” and unfortunately, we had nothing to report until now.

I honestly wasn’t that bothered by our backyard until we got our puppy Zoe. Now that Zoe’s here, I’m in the backyard multiple times a day to let her out to go to the bathroom and I had to face the reality of what our backyard looked like and it wasn’t pretty. We were already planning to replace our fence and work on the backyard this summer but being in the backyard every day really lit a fire under our toosh. Not to mention, we want it to be a fun play area for Zoe (and Claire! when she’s old enough) and it wasn’t so fun.

I can now proudly report that we have a new fence and it’s beautiful!! It feels like we have a real backyard now and I love how much more private it is. And, we finally have a new patio too. You have no idea how exciting this is to me. When the fence was finished, I squealed in excitement. No joke. Isn’t it amazing what you get excited about when you become a homeowner? My teenage self would have rolled my eyes at my reaction.

We have a very general plan for how we want our backyard to be but we’ll iron out the specifics as we go along. Right now, we are planning to have a table and grill on the main patio area. The circular area is going to have a firepit and chairs. At first, we were going to do a built-in firepit but then we decided it would be best to get a movable one so if we have parties (maybe Claire’s first birthday??), we can put the firepit away and add an extra table in that area for people to eat and relax. We’ll see! We also want a grassy area and some nice plants. CJ is also thinking about making the table for the back patio and I’m sooooo excited for that!! It’s going to be beautiful. That’s pretty much all we have planned for now.

Landscaping

Our very very rough idea of what we want. It’s not really to scale but you can tell that we have plenty of space to work with. Ignore the step, we decided against adding one as the new patio will be raised higher than the old one.

We did get a plan made by a landscape designer last year but it’s kind of gone out the window due to the drought. The plants in that design are not drought resistant and we’d rather not use much more water than we are right now.

Here are a few before and “current state” photos. I won’t say after since it’s a work in progress but holy moly is it a huge difference!!

Backyard August 9 2014

 

The concrete was ripped out and then they did the framing of the shape of the patio.

Backyard August 21 2014

We then had rebar laid inside of the framing.

Rebar

 

And then the beautiful concrete was laid and stamped! The new patio is higher up which means there’s less of a drop from the back door onto the patio. It’s so much better for us and will be for little Claire when she starts walking. Zoe likes having less of a jump now too.

 

Backyard as of Sept 22

The above photo is what our backyard looked like today! What a world of difference a new fence and patio can make. You can’t tell from the photo but our backyard is sort of a u-shape (you can see that in the drawing I did above) so we have a lot more backyard to work with still.

We actually enjoy going in the backyard now though! And the new patio is so much bigger which makes the yard feel bigger because we can now take more advantage of the space we have.

Stay tuned for more updates! We’ll be taking the backyard in stages but we’ll keep you updated along the way.

Claire’s Nursery Reveal

Some of you may be curious about what Claire’s nursery looks like. We are in love with it (and I like to think Claire is too ;)) and are still working on adding some final enhancements to make it perfect. It’s hard to say when a room is ever “done” but hers has been pretty much done for a while. We just want to take it to the next level.

Right now, this is what Claire’s nursery looks like:

Claire's Nursery! This is the view when you enter the room.

Claire’s Nursery! This is the view when you enter the room.

Crib, glider, and corner photo gallery

Crib, glider, and corner photo gallery

Her changing table

Her changing table

As far as where we got the items for her room – it’s a mixture of Pottery Barn Kids, Amazon, Target, Buy Buy Baby, Cost Plus World Market, and a few other random websites. We wanted her nursery to have a gray and soft yellow color scheme and we also wanted it to be classy and feminine. I’m a little obsessed with Pottery Barn Kids rooms so we used their design style as our inspiration.

The “C” in the gallery wall was a DIY project. We bought a wooden letter from Michaels, painted it yellow, wrapped it in lace, painted the canvas a light gray, and then hot glued it to the canvas. I’ll have to see if I took pictures through the process and maybe I’ll do a blog post on it. It was super easy and turned out so cute!

As far as what we are still planning on doing to her room – we want to add a bookshelf and hang a few pictures.

We feel like she needs a bookshelf in her nursery to keep all the children’s books she has and add a little extra decor. It’s taken quite a while to find the perfect one but we finally found one and ordered it a couple days ago. We can’t wait for it to arrive in a couple weeks. It will also be the perfect location for her baby monitor to sit.

We bought a frame from Pottery Barn Kids that has a space for a picture of every month of her first year so we’re thinking about hanging that to the right of the window. We’re planning on putting the bookcase to the right of the crib (it’s a white corner bookcase) and are still deciding what we want to hang above the crib. We have several ideas that I’ve mocked up in PhotoShop but we’re still not sure which one would look best. Stay tuned. 🙂

And because a post about Claire is never complete without a photo of our beautiful girl, here’s one of our little family on Father’s Day!

First Father's Day

 

We hope you have fun plans for the upcoming 4th of July weekend!

 

The First Few Weeks

It’s amazing what you think life will be like after having a baby. CJ and I talked about how I could write a blog post every day updating people on how things are going… you know, because I would have so much more free time. 😉 Clearly we were mistaken on that front.

Claire was officially 1 month old as of yesterday and it’s crazy how fast time has flown by. Then again, it feels like she’s been here forever. These past 4 weeks have kind of felt like one long day. I attribute some of that to the fact that we only sleep in short chunks of time since we have to wake up for feedings.

May 20

Photo taken when Claire was 12 days old

If I were to describe how life has changed, I don’t know if I really could put it into words. I know that fellow parents know exactly what I’m talking about. A blog that I read (EatLiveRun) described how her life changed really well so I’ll just link to that because I identify a lot with what she had to say. It’s the most wonderful and magical thing becoming a parent but it’s the hardest job we’ve ever had to do and, I’ll admit, it’s hard to adjust to the lifestyle change. No longer can we quickly hop in the car to run to the grocery store for something we forgot or spontaneously decide we want to have a date night at On the Border. Things take a lot more planning now. We practically have a whole set of luggage we have to bring along with us. Car seat, stroller, diaper bag, extra clothes, blankets, etc. etc. We knew it was going to be like that but it didn’t really hit me until it was our reality. That’s not to say we aren’t loving it, it’s just an adjustment. A wonderful one.

The first two weeks were by far the hardest with me recovering from the c-section, being in a TON of pain, being completely and utterly exhausted, and trying to learn how to breastfeed. Waking up every few hours was hard and especially because we didn’t sleep for two nights when I was in labor. I also got sick for a few days after we got home and wasn’t able to eat which made the pain and exhaustion that much more amplified. Thanks to my amazing husband I got better and I’m now back to normal. I seriously would not have been able to do any of this without CJ. I didn’t think it was possible but my love for him has grown exponentially throughout this whole process.

I’m amazed at how she’s changing and growing every day and am so amused by her little facial expressions. I find myself telling CJ approximately 5 million times a day how adorable she is. I just can’t get over how we made such a beautiful and perfect little human being.

20140607_8633_edit

Our little family

I’ve been back in my pre-pregnancy jeans since Claire was about 2 weeks old and I love it. I feel human again not having to wear those jeans with the large stretchy area over my belly. Although, I have to admit, I do really miss my pregnant belly and miss feeling her kicks. I find myself rubbing my belly occasionally expecting to feel my basketball sized belly and being disappointed it’s no longer there. Oh well, there’s a wonderful reason why my belly is no longer there and she’s currently hanging out in her gliding swing (that she loves, thanks Aunt Denese!!).

I don’t want to over promise but I will try to do a 1 month birthday post about Claire. We’ll see if I get around to that seeing as how it took me over a week to write this one. 😉

Office Plans

While trying to prep for the baby, we’ve also been thinking about what to do in our office. While it’s not on the top of our priority list, we really want to reconfigure the office so it could work for two people. Right now, we have one desk in there which we can both squeeze into but it’s definitely a squeeze. Lately, on the occasional Friday, we’ve both worked from home and either shared our current desk in the office or one of us went into the family room to spread out. It would be so nice to be able to both work in the office and have enough desk space to spread out any paperwork that we may be looking at.

There’s also limited storage space (I’d like more file cabinets) and we haven’t done much to decorate the room other than paint it. We’ve held off on hanging any items because we want to figure out how to maximize the space and make it useful before putting any holes in the walls.

So, one idea we have is to add/make a double desk. We really like how Young House Love configured their office in their old house.

Young House Love office

To build a desk like this, we would first need to find lower units for storage. We went to IKEA recently to see what they had but were not impressed with the options. Now, we’re trying to figure out where else we could look. Ideally, we’d like them to be affordable and are open to repainting something we find. The ones in the picture above were originally kitchen cabinets that they repurposed. They found them for $6 at a thrift store! If only we were lucky enough to find something like that. I guess the first thing we would have to do is actually go to a thrift store. 😉 But, then again, I really really want file cabinets and I doubt we’ll find them there. CJ thinks we could also just find kitchen cabinets like those and then have file cabinets somewhere else in the room. That could work… but only if we don’t fill up the room too much.

One problem we have is that our office isn’t huge. How do you add in storage, a double desk, and still make the room feel inviting and not too cluttered? I absolutely detest clutter so I will do anything to avoid that.

So the story on the desk is to be continued… but we’ll definitely continue brainstorming ideas. If you’ve seen any great double desk setups in a small room, we’d love to see them! I want lotsss of storage because I like staying organized so that’s high on the priority list.

Oh and by the way, I realized just now that we’ve never taken a picture of our office! I’ll need to do that so, when we do decide what to do, we have before & after photos! I’m making a mental note to take a picture soon. 🙂

February Recap

Some of you might have been wondering where we were all of February – apologies for not providing many updates until now. Our month was extremely busy and it seems like as we get closer to Baby T’s arrival, we are getting busier and busier. Every night after work we have several items to cross off our to do list and every single weekend is jam packed with errands. We also try to make time for ourselves as a couple so that we aren’t too overworked and exhausted.

So what happened in February, you might ask?

  • Valentine’s Day – We always try to plan a date night on Valentine’s Day to celebrate so, this year, we went to an Italian restaurant in downtown Pleasanton for dinner. The food was delicious but the service could have been way better. Good thing we weren’t in a hurry because dinner took two hours (and no, it wasn’t a 5 course meal, they were just that slow). But let’s be honest, Valentine’s Day is really just the day before my sweet husband’s birthday. See below for what we did. 🙂
  • CJ’s Birthday – For Christmas, I got CJ a beer brewing kit from Williams Sonoma (he’s always wanted to do this) and he’s been patiently waiting for it to arrive. It was on backorder until the end of January so he decided to save the activity for his birthday weekend. A couple of his friends came over and they spent the day in the kitchen prepping and brewing. It takes two weeks for it to ferment before it can get bottled and then he has to wait another two weeks before drinking. We’re crossing our fingers that it turned out well, you never know until it’s ready for drinking! Not to worry, I won’t be tasting any of the beer. That night, we went out to dinner with some of our friends to Sauced (a delicious BBQ place) in Livermore and came back to our house for a game night. It was such a busy day but a ton of fun!
After CJ's Birthday Dinner

After CJ’s Birthday Dinner

  • Abby – We spent our last weekend with my dog Abby on CJ’s birthday weekend. I will always be thankful that we were home to spend time with her during her last days and will forever cherish that time. People who have never had a dog or grown up with a dog will never truly understand the amount of pain and grief I’ve been going through over the last week but we lost a member of our family, not a pet. Abby was my best friend since I received her as a Christmas gift in December 1999 and has been there for me through the hardest and happiest times of my life. I think about her and miss her every day and no amount of preparation could have gotten me ready for such a loss. Abby had 9 lives and was able to persevere through so much in her way-too-short life so a part of me never thought I would see the day when I would have to say goodbye. In November 2012, she got extremely sick and we thought she was nearing the end of her life. The doctor told us that she had several days to maybe a week to live so we decided to bring her home so her last days could be spent in her home. I spent the next few days laying next to her crying and telling her how much I loved her. She was able to fight through that time but was never the same and, on February 18, she passed away in her sleep. Losing her is the most excruciating pain and heartache I’ve ever experienced and, like I said, no one truly understands if they haven’t gone through it. Thank you to our friends who reached out to us; we are so thankful to have you in our lives.
My best friend for the past 14 years.

My best friend for the past 14 years. I love that smile.

  • Babymoon – A gracious coworker gave us a voucher to Peppermill Resort in Reno to use for a two night stay that we just redeemed last weekend. It was a much needed weekend away after the stress from the week before and was a lot of fun. We won a jackpot (in my mind) on the penny slots and won a whopping $25!! I felt quite accomplished. We also explored a cute old west town called Virginia City and stopped in Truckee on our way back and bought some fun items. It was so nice to have a weekend away as a couple to just relax and not have to worry about our endless “to do” list. We definitely had a vacation hangover the following Monday as we just wanted to go back to the weekend and relax a bit more.
Driving up to Virginia City

Driving up to Virginia City

  • Nursery – It feels like every day we are getting a shipment or working on something for the baby room. It’s hard work but sooo worth it and we’re loving the process of getting it set up for Baby T!!
  • Adirondack Chairs – CJ finished painting them and they are now sitting on our porch. He did an amazing job! Maybe he’ll do a post on the final result soon 😉

And that’s a general update for what we’ve been up to – there’s been so much more in the mix but what’s most important is that we are so thankful for the time we get to spend together over the next few months before our little girl arrives and can’t wait for her arrival.

It’s About Time

For the longest time, we’ve had an adorable clock and two metal decorative thingies (that’s a technical term) to hang on the wall by our kitchen table. Even though we knew we loved them and bought them for that space, we haven’t been able to pull the trigger on hanging them because we knew something was missing.

Chantal Oval Vertical Iron Clock from Cost Plus World Market

We searched high and low for the right art pieces to compliment what we already had with no luck until recently. I did my usual daily peruse on Joss & Main and saw this set of 4 gorgeous framed prints that spoke to me:

Lynette Framed Print from Joss & Main

When I saw them, I immediately fell in love with them so I sent them to CJ and asked what he thought of hanging them up in our office. Luckily, he came up with the much better idea of hanging those in the kitchen with our other items that were patiently waiting for their big debut on the kitchen wall. I immediately ordered them because I was so incredibly excited for them and then patiently awaited their arrival. They came in a couple days ago and last night we finally hung them. We are so in love with the final result and it looks even better than we imagined!

 

Kitchen Art

Kitchen Art 2

Pictures definitely don’t do them justice. The effect can only be fully appreciated in person. 🙂

As far as how we hung them, we followed our previous method of laying them out on the floor to map out how we wanted them to be arranged and then traced the layout onto a white piece of paper, hung it onto the wall, and nailed in the designated places. It worked out well again!

Have you put something to use recently that you bought ages ago? Doesn’t it just feel amazing?!?

Dresser Dilemma

One of the decisions that we had to make with converting our guest room to the nursery was where to put all the clothes we were storing. We were using two dressers for our clothes – one in the master bedroom and one in the guest room but with Little Miss Baby T arriving in a few short months, we had to face the truth – she deserves her very own room that isn’t full of her parents’ clothes.

A few options that we considered:

  1. Keep the dresser in the guest room until who knows when – Obviously not ideal
  2. Move it to the office – Also, not my favorite. I believe every room should have a purpose and you shouldn’t mix and match. In this case, the office should only be an office with computer stuff, reading materials, office supplies, and anything else that relates to an office. It’s a true pet peeve of mine when people use rooms for something other than their purpose. We did try moving the dresser in there but I had such a visceral reaction to the sight of it in there that I couldn’t let the dresser sit there for more than 5 minutes.
  3. Move it to our bedroom – Clearly the most obvious choice because it’s our clothes so they belong in our bedroom, but it was not as obvious as it seems… See below for why.

Back to my belief that every room should have a purpose, our master bedroom is where we should be storing our clothing but we just didn’t think we had enough room. Our master bedroom is smaller than most and I hate clutter so I was afraid that adding another dresser would make it feel too cramped.

To test out the theory, we moved the guest room dresser into our room for a few days to feel it out and surprisingly enough, it wasn’t that bad. There was still enough room to walk around and we didn’t have to shimmy past it to get to the master bath. Sooo we ended up choosing Option #3 because it made the most sense and our “trial run” with the guest room dresser went well.

We bit the bullet a couple weeks ago and ordered the matching dresser for our bed set and moved it into its new home. Once we slid it into place along the wall, we looked at it and felt so relieved. CJ turned to me and said, “Wow, we have a real room now!”. I couldn’t have explained it better myself. It really completes the space and feels like it’s always been there. We’re so happy we made the decision to buy it and already love being able to access all of our clothes in our room. It was quite annoying to have to walk over to the guest room several times a day to grab a t-shirt or sweatpants but those days are a thing of the past now!

I promise I will get better about taking photos on our real camera. I've been lazy about uploading those photos lately.

Ahh so much better. And yes, those are ultrasound photos of our baby girl on top of the dresser. The frame on the left has a caption that says “love at first sight”. 🙂

Up next: Figuring out what to put on top of the dresser and what to hang on the wall! Now that the dresser is there, that wall is ready for some decorations. Decisions, decisions. 🙂

What did you have to change in your house to prep for a baby? This seems pretty minor but it took us several months to decide what to do.

Pottery Barn Love

I dream of having a whole house of Pottery Barn items someday. The store is just so glorious. But, until that dream becomes a reality, my goal is to decorate our house in that style with little sprinkles of Pottery Barn items… at a much lower price.

One area where we’ve done that – the family room. We knew pretty quickly that we wanted some beautiful drapes in the family room that would make the wall with the TV an accent wall and that would also soften up the area. I thought that by adding drapes, it would make the wall less about the monster sized TV and more about the overall feel of the room. We wanted to room to be cozy, inviting, and classic. I mentioned a few months ago that we ordered beautiful drapes from Pottery Barn (with a coupon -thanks Mom!) and were super excited to hang them up.

One of the hardest parts of the whole process was lining up both curtain rods to be at the same height. Since our house is older, our ceilings aren’t exactly level so we weren’t able to just measure from the top of the wall down. We had to carefully go back and forth measuring bottom to top, top to bottom, and any which way to make sure they were even. Then, we used a level to make sure the rods wouldn’t be lopsided. Once we were comfortable with that, we had to screw them in and hang them. We are not big fans of hanging curtain rods and get frustrated every time (not at each other, just at those stupid rods). It’s worth the effort though because they always end up looking wonderful at the end.

Family Room 1

We had a feeling they would be too long after hanging them up and that feeling was confirmed immediately. We kept them hung up for a couple of weeks to decide what length we would prefer. I highly recommend that because you never know until you actually have them hanging in front of you for some time. Once we thought we knew what we wanted, I asked our superstar seamstress (aka my mom) to come over and pin them up. We pinned them shorter, longer, and in between to figure out what we liked best. We decided to have them just kiss the floor so they almost looked like they were puddling on the floor but not long enough that they were full puddles (if that makes sense). The reason for that is, as I mentioned before, our house is old and the walls aren’t all perfectly equal in height. We wanted both drapes to be the same length and feared that one side might end up hovering over the floor while the other side was puddling on the floor. To be safe, we decided to make them a little longer so you would never be able to tell the difference. It worked! They look perfect and you can’t even tell they were hemmed at all. My mom did such an amazing job! I’d explain how she did it but, to me, it’s all magic. I’m not quite sure how she does it so well. 🙂

Family Room 2

Family Room 3

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!