Before & After – The Dining Room

The dining room is the reason that we moved in the first place. We love having friends around our dinner table and in our old house we could only seat four comfortably and six at a stretch. We once packed in nine, but we had to move out all of our extra living room furniture to put up a table. Since Mr. Thirdrow and I are both from big families having more seating was a must!

A view from the kitchen into the original bedroom.

A view from the kitchen into the original bedroom.

When we first walked through the house there wasn’t much of a dining room at all, but there was a random bedroom off the kitchen. We knew that if we could take down the diving wall and create a large, open dining room next to the kitchen then this would be the house for us.

And that’s just what we did. We’ve already had sixteen people around the table and can’t wait to do it again soon!

The same view without the wall.

The same view without the wall.

One of my favorite spots! A coffee and tea nook in the corner of the dining room.

One of my favorite spots! A coffee and tea nook in the corner of the dining room.

 

Too Fast – Returning to the Volvo Lifestyle

Everything is too fast and too busy lately. We’ve found ourselves eating a lot of foods of convenience. A sandwich here. A bean burrito there. We are rushing through meals between work and naptime and feeding the Wild Thing. There never seems to be enough time to sit down and enjoy our food let alone cook it! But we’re changing things up this week and return to the slow way of life. The Volvo lifestyle if you will ;)

We’re making an effort to eat some meals that are better for us, cutting back on the meat, filling up on the veggies and doing our best to sit down and eat at the table. It’s a crazy thought, I know. But, for me, during the day, it’s hard to sit down and eat. I still want to put better foods into my body though. I’m getting tired of subsisting on granola bars and peanut butter on a spoon. So, today, I broke out the blender and made a delicious smoothie. It only took a minute. I can eat it one handed while breastfeeding. It seems to be the perfect meal for my stage of life.

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Green Oats Smoothie

1 cup milk

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup quick oats

1 banana

4 large frozen strawberries

1 cup fresh kale

1 heaping spoonful peanut butter

1 scoop vanilla flavored protein powder (I prefer whey protein powder but whatever you have will work)

1 tablespoon chia seeds

Mix and enjoy!

Note: This makes two servings for me. So, I eat one and keep the other in the fridge for a mid-day snack.

 

Before & After – The Office

When we first toured the house we couldn’t imagine that the two tiny bedrooms at the back of the first floor would ever be useful. It seemed that no matter what they would always be dark and sad. How wrong we were!

A view from the original hallway through the doors to the two separate bedrooms.

A view from the original hallway through the doors to the two separate bedrooms.

Bedroom 1

Bedroom 1

Bedroom 2

Bedroom 2

 

After pulling down the center wall, removing those horrid shelving units, and combining the entryway, the room opened up! The natural light that comes in from both windows is fabulous and it has quickly become an at home refuge for Mr. Thirdrow.

The view from the doorway now.

The view from the doorway now.

Our piano has found a new home!

Our piano has found a new home!

And there is even enough space for all of our books! (Another book shelf is not even pictured!)

And there is even enough space for all of our books! (Another book shelf is not even pictured!)

Before & After – The First Floor Bath

I think that our first floor bathroom may have been one of my favorite transformations. It was a gross and dark little hole in the wall before and now it is a cheery spot at the end of our hallway. I love the dark grey paint we ended up with and the pop of color from our new shower curtain (a steal on Amazon for $25).

The original bathroom.

The original bathroom.

Part of the renovation was to rearrange the bathroom layout and move the sink to the same wall as the toilet. Doing so opened up the space and makes it seem much larger.

The bathroom now.

The bathroom now.

The gray tile in this room was one of our best finds. It was on sale for less than $1 at Home Depot. I originally wanted a white ceramic tile, but I think that the darker color is a better choice for our first floor bathroom, especially since it is right off the kitchen and near the back door. I think it will get a lot of foot traffic and this floor will show much less dirt!

The mirror over the sink was another great find at Home Goods!

The mirror over the sink was another great find at Home Goods!

 

 

Before & After – The Entryway

I’ve been meaning to get my act together over here and give you some long awaited renovation updates. We moved into our new home at the beginning of October and couldn’t be happier. It’s beautiful! Ribbon Cutters, Inc did an amazing job making what started as a disaster into the perfect home for our family.

I’d love to have all the “after” pictures ready for you all at once but that’s just not in the cards with a two month old. So…. here we go. One room at a time.

The original entryway in the downstairs apartment. View from the living room.

The original entryway in the downstairs apartment. View from the living room.

The new entryway from our living room. The wall to the staircase is gone and a new, single door has been inserted where the two separate apartment entrances once were.

The new entryway from our living room. The wall to the staircase is gone and a new, single door has been inserted where the two separate apartment entrances once were.

The staircase as it used to be. This was the view from the second front door leading up to the second floor apartment.

The staircase as it used to be. This was the view from the second front door leading up to the second floor apartment.

 

The staircase as it is now. Lovely and open.

The staircase as it is now. Lovely and open.

 

Anniversaries and Traditions

My friend (although we’ve never actually met I’m convinced we’d be real life friends so I’m claiming her), Natalie, from Little Things and Big Stuff, is writing a fabulous series on her blog this month called This Sweet Love. You should check it out.

Tonight, Mr. Thirdrow and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary (a bit late) with a fancy steak dinner cooked in our new kitchen by Mr. Thirdrow himself. It was a different kind of anniversary – no spectacular vacation or dressy dinner date – but I have no complaints. Our sweet baby boy is asleep upstairs and we shared a lovely meal with each other in our beautiful new home. I love my husband and I couldn’t imagine a life without him. As long as he’s across the table from me I’m a happy camper.

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I am a girl who loves traditions. Loves them. Seriously. So, I was delighted last year when my non-tradition-loving husband suggested we keep an anniversary journal. Each year we take turns writing out a record of our year.

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We have a set list of things we record every year:
– our address
– our cars
– our jobs
– our pets
– places we’ve visited this year
– anniversary gifts
– a timeline of our year

This year we added two categories:
– how we celebrated our anniversary
– our children

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We take turns passing the book back and forth and writing out our memories. 364 days a year it just sits on a shelf but once a year it helps us to reflect and remember. I think it will be a gem for our grandchildren to read, too!

How do you celebrate your anniversary? What are your traditions?

Table for Sixteen

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Last night we had sixteen people gathered around the table (ok…two tables) in our dining room. Yes, it was a little cramped. Yes, someone (me) spilled wine on the table cloth. Yes, the table cloth was really two curtain panels from our old living room.

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But, as I looked at the piles of shoes in the foyer and dishes in the sink, I couldn’t help but smile. This is why we renovated this house. This is why we moved six weeks after we had a baby. This is what we’ve been dreaming of. Friends gathered as family around the dinner table sharing food and stories and needs and joys. Sharing our lives.

The waiting game

We’ve entered the home stretch on the three biggest changes in our lives this week. One week of work outside the home left for me. Two weeks until our Wild Thing is due to arrive (although, let’s be honest….Today would be a good day to have a baby if only I could convince him!). And, we’re just about a month away from completion on our new house.

We’ve finished picking out everything for the house. Our hospital bags are packed. It seems like all that’s left to do is wait…..and wait some more. And, maybe, get a pedicure :)

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Renovation Diary: Entry #3

Before any renovations were started there were two very small bedrooms in the back of the first floor. As part of our remodel we decided to take out the wall between them and combine them into a larger office space for Mr. Thirdrow to use when he works from home.

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Honestly I didn’t have very high expectations for this room. The two original bedrooms were so small, sad, and dark that I thought for sure the new room would be quietly shunned after we moved in.

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Boy was I wrong!

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Now that they’ve taken down the middle wall the room is large, full of natural light, and very inviting. Not only has the room been taken off the black list, I think it will be the perfect space for an office and quickly become a favorite spot to sneak away and read for the whole family. I can’t wait to see it with a door, carpet, and some fresh paint!

Renovation Diary: Entry #2

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We got to go into the house yesterday to talk through some layout decisions with our contractor and I’m excited to say that the project is coming along swimmingly. The guys working on our house are doing a marvelous job! It already feels totally different on the inside. The smell of old dog and neglect is gone along with the carpet, several walls, two kitchens and a couple bathrooms.

Remember that lovely first floor bath? She’s gutted and ready to roll now.

IMG_2408The bright orange wall that was hiding our dining room is gone!

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They’ve cleared out the kitchen that was there and are making room for new appliances and cabinets (to be picked out at the end of this week!).

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And they added a new wall on the second floor to create a bedroom for our Wild Thing.

IMG_2404After seeing what they can accomplish in a week, I’m stoked to see where things are at by the end of the month!

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