It’s Done!

Ahhh – it feels so nice to finally be rid of all of our carpet downstairs.

(Please excuse the baby paraphernalia. I live in a house with a 6-month old, so it’s inevitable. My house definitely does not look like a magazine with no baby toys floating around, so there’s no reason to pretend it does!)

We’ve been talking about doing this for forever and we finally got around to it a few weeks ago – for those of you who missed it when we did Jackson’s room or the dining room, we’re slowly going through the process of replacing the flooring throughout our house with this “luxury vinyl” flooring from Lowe’s. It looks surprisingly like actual hardwood but is really peel and stick vinyl. It’s incredibly affordable and easy to install, and it’s super durable (which is vital when you have three dogs and a 6-month old!)

We also switched up a few other things around the living room while we were at it. Hadley was not a fan of the new flooring (it’s slippery and she still has to learn how to walk on it) and so for the first few days after we installed it she hid upstairs all day long so she didn’t have to step on it. We finally decided to bring in the big rug from the garage as a temporary measure to make her happy and to make the floor a little softer for Jackson. Turns out, though, we love how it looks in here and it’ll probably stay for the foreseeable future. It’s super sort and feels good underfoot, and it’s a really easy to clean rug so it’s great for a high traffic area like the living room.

We also switched out some pillows and got a fiddle leaf fig (I’m determined not to kill this one!). We don’t love the ottoman in here now with the new rug…it feels a bit too formal and out of place, but we haven’t decided what we’ll do about that yet. The options are to get a different rug (which we aren’t sure about, since we really like this one) or replace the ottoman (which makes us sad, since we really like it and haven’t had it for that long). We’ll see where we land, but for now we’re just happy it’s looking so much better in here!

It makes me so happy to see consistent flooring again from one side of the house to the other – dealing with that carpet transition for the last few months hasn’t been fun…the house feels so much more cohesive, and it immediately felt so much cleaner!

We still want to bring this flooring into the kitchen, but that’ll be last on our list – we want to finish all of the upstairs first. The next step for now is to re-install baseboards in both of these rooms and to fix the fireplace – Corey accidentally knocked off one of the tiles on the wall when we were working on the flooring. We had already been planning on doing something to update the fireplace, anyways, it’s just a little higher on our priority list now!

Whew, it feels good to be done with this! Now we just need to take a breather for a few weeks and then muster up the energy to tackle the baseboards – it’s never a fun project, but it makes such a big difference in how finished the room looks!

What have you been working on in your home lately?

My Summer Bucket List

Every year right around this time, I like to write out a quick list of all the things I want to accomplish over the summer. Since Corey and I are both teachers, we have a ton of extra time over these next few months, and since Friday will be the last day of school (!!!!), it’s about time I get this list written, huh?!

In the past, I’ve been pretty awful about actually completing the items on the list (see 2012, 2013). Especially last summer, since I spent the whole two and a half months with morning (or, more accurately, all day) sickness and crazy pregnancy exhaustion. This year, I’m going to be as realistic as possible and hopefully that will mean I actually accomplish everything I want to! So, here’s the list:

1. Do something fun at least once a week.

We’re pretty good about getting out of the house during the summer, but we aren’t necessarily good about trying new and exciting things. Now that we have Jackson around, and he’s getting to the age where he’s a little more interested in actually doing things, I’d like to spend our summer trying to find things we can do as a family! There are a few good museums and botanical gardens around Austin that I think Jackson might enjoy, and the park is always a great option. Mainly, I just want us to get out of the house and enjoy our city this summer!

2. Work on our bathroom.

Hey, remember when we tore our bathroom completely apart, posted once about it, and then never mentioned it again? That was fun, right? Yeah, that bathroom looks exactly the same as it did when we started demo-ing it a few months ago. We’re going to put any actual work to the bathroom on hold for a while, but I’d like to at least get it re-insulated and get the walls back up. I’d also like to finish demo-ing it soon. If we can at least accomplish that much, I’ll be able to live with it for a while until we’re ready to start putting it back together!

3. Get Jackson napping in the crib.

I’ve mentioned that Jackson is an awesome nighttime sleeper. We lucked out there. But naps? They’re a mess. I almost always have to hold him to get him to take a good nap, and usually it requires some swaying, bouncing, or even walking around the block. And I’m over it. I love the cuddles, but I need at least a small piece of independence back – this summer, Jackson WILL learn how to nap in his crib!

4. Take a ton of pictures.

I’ve been pretty good about taking photos lately, and I want to keep it up! I always get to the end of the year and feel like I didn’t take nearly enough as I’m working on our yearbook, so this year I’m going to make sure that’s not a problem! I plan on having my camera with my just about everywhere I go this summer, so this one should be easy!

5. Do something to our house.

If you haven’t noticed, it’s been a while since we’ve made any sort of progress on the house. We’ve been focusing on other things, which has been good (and important!) but this summer I’d like to find a few cheap or free projects that we can do. I miss working on our home!

6. Spend time outside!

This is a goal of mine every summer, but I think it’s an important one! It’s hard to be motivated to get outside when it’s 105 degrees in the shade, but I love being out there and so does Jackson! We’re gonna have to keep him safe in the crazy heat, but I want to make sure we don’t spent the whole summer cooped up inside!

7. Be social!

Corey and I have a bad habit of hiding in our house and being totally anti-social when we have extended time off. I don’t want this to happen to us this year! Some of our really good friends just moved from being 4 hours away to only 2 hours away, so we’re going to try to meet up with them at least once or twice this summer. I also want to make sure we take advantage of other opportunities to hang out with our friends and family – it’s so easy to hole up and just be alone (we’re total homebodies!) but we always enjoy it when we actually spend time with other people.

8. Start exercising again.

I haven’t worked out at all since we had Jackson…and that’s unusual for me! I haven’t quite figured out how to handle the crazy “work full time while taking care of a baby AND squeezing in exercise” schedule yet, so I’ve been putting it off for this summer. I’m going to get back in the habit of doing some sort of exercise 4 or 5 times a week, then hopefully I’ll keep it up once school starts back up in the fall!

9. Declutter.

I’ve been working on getting some of the extra clutter out of our house for a while now, but we aren’t quite done yet. There are so many nooks and crannies in our house that are stuffed to the brim with crap and it’s just about time to get rid of it. I feel like we’re constantly bringing new stuff into the house but we aren’t always so good about getting rid of old stuff. Plus, if we can sell some of the random things we have floating around, we’ll have a bit of extra money to do something fun with!

10. Soak up this baby stage!

Jackson is at such a fun age right now, and I want to enjoy every second of it. I get frustrated with him when he won’t sleep or on fussy days, but I also know that I’ll miss this phase of his life once he’s bigger. Corey and I are so lucky to be able to have the next couple of months off of work to be with him, so I want to make sure we appreciate it and make the most of the time we’ve got!

Alright, that’s my list. I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to get them all done this summer, but I’m also pretty good at completely failing at these lists, so we’ll see what happens!

What’s on your summer bucket list?

Date Nights With Baby

I’ll be honest – Jackson is two months old and Corey and I have yet to go on an actual date since he was born.

Those of you with kids probably understand this. It’s almost impossible to find time to go anywhere without him, and quite frankly we aren’t super interested in leaving him alone with anyone else just yet. We’re hoping to go on a real date at some point this month, but over the past two months we have found other ways to set aside time for one another, and in the process we created a new tradition that we are kind of obsessed with.

Game night.

Corey and I have tried to have weekly at-home date nights for as long as we have been married, but over the last year or so they had kind of fallen off our radar. It wasn’t a big deal because we had plenty of time together, and never really felt like we were missing out. But! When Jackson came along we very quickly realized that we needed to start setting aside some specific time for one another again, and thus game nights were born.

Every Tuesday evening Corey grabs a Papa Murphy’s pizza and we eat that while we play some games. We don’t watch television, we don’t zone out at our computers – we just have some good quality time together. It’s a super fun way for us to connect and it’s way more fun than just watching television like we do most other nights.

We’ve gotten really into board games now, and are always on the lookout for new ones. We’ve learned some really unique games and have been introducing them to people we know so we now have lots of friends that will play with us! I still think that 1:1 dates that actually involve leaving the house are important (and our goal is to have at least one a month, starting this month!) but this is such a perfect way to connect a little more at home, and we’re hoping to keep it a tradition even as Jackson gets older. In a few years we’ll probably be playing Candy Land instead of our current repertoire, but we already get excited thinking about teaching Jackson all of our favorite games and having this as a tradition for the long haul.

How do you stay connected with your significant other when things get crazy?

How We Use Our Home

I was having a conversation with some friends the other day about how everyone uses their home – for example, if you have a dining room and a breakfast nook, do you use them both? Just one? Neither?

I had never really put much thought into the topic before, but the conversation was fascinating and now I am constantly wondering how other people use spaces in their home. I always love a good glimpse into how other people spend their time, so I thought it might be fun to share how we use various spaces in our home.

Let’s start with our eating spaces…I hadn’t thought about it until the previously mentioned conversation, but we actually have quite a few different dining spaces in our home…

The breakfast nook is an area I honestly didn’t think we’d use when we first moved in. We were used to only having one tiny little dining area, so this felt so strange and luxurious to have. In reality, though? We use it on a very regular basis! Corey eats breakfast here pretty much every morning during the work week, and we frequently eat breakfast and/or lunch here together on the weekends. It’s a great spot to sit for a quick meal, and I love the view we have into the backyard.

The formal dining room gets a lot of use as well. We eat almost all of our dinners here (or at least we did before Jackson…things have fallen apart a bit with our new routine, but we’ll get back to it!) and we have guests over pretty often and always eat here when we do. We love our giant table and it’s probably one of our favorite purchases to date.

I also use this table pretty frequently for grad school homework and blogging – it’s a nice, quiet place where I can sit and work, and I  tend to get a lot more done when I’m sitting here. This table is a frequently-used area when either of us have something we need to really focus on.

And finally, we have the kitchen island. We don’t really use this as an eating area very often, but these stools get used on a regular basis! They’re the perfect place for one of us to hang out while the other is cooking, or for guests to sit when they come over and we are finishing up in the kitchen.

It feels a little like overkill to have three separate “dining” areas in our home, but they all get used – just in different ways!

Next, let’s chat about the living areas – we have two: the living room and the garage.

The way we use these two spaces seems to shift pretty frequently. Some weeks we spend all of our television-watching time in the living room, and sometimes we spend a lot more time in the garage. It depends on our mood, the weather (when it’s cold I like to have a fire in the living room!), and what we’re watching (we always watch movies in the garage, but tend to watch more shows in the living room). Corey also plays all of his video games in the garage, and while he’s doing that I’m usually in the living room watching television.

I can easily say that both of these spaces get used on a very regular basis, though, which is awesome because I was worried we would spend a ton of money on the garage and never actually use it. That’s definitely not a concern!

We had a lot of people tell us not to spend a lot of time or effort in finishing the nursery, because we wouldn’t use it.

Um yeah, that has definitely not been the case! We don’t spend a ton of time here during the day (yet – I imagine we will once Jackson is a little older and wants to play in here) but every evening we spend a good chunk of time in here. It’s the perfect place for the whole family to hang out while we’re getting Jack ready for bed, and we’re all in here (dogs included!) for at least an hour or so every evening before bed. Corey will hang out on the rug or work on putting laundry away while I feed Jackson before bed, and those sweet quiet moments before he goes down for the night are some of my favorite of the entire day.

It’s been so interesting to see how our use of the various spaces in our home has evolved since Jackson was born, and I imagine it will only continue to change as he gets older.

How do you use the spaces in your home?

The Official Nursery Reveal Post, and Sources

We’ve talked a lot about the nursery so far as Corey and I have been slowly putting it together over the last several months. You can click here to see all of the posts about the nursery leading up to this…the “big reveal”!

I am officially calling this room complete, and it’s a good feeling – it’s the first room in our house that we’re genuinely able to say we’ve accomplished pretty much everything we want to, and there’s nothing left on my list of things to do in here. It feels a bit silly because our little guy couldn’t care less whether or not his room is “finished” but it makes me happy to know that I can put him in a room that is complete, calm, and relaxing for all of us to be in. Corey and I were just discussing the other day that we’re really happy we got this room done before Jackson was born, because we spend a lot of time in there, and it’s such an enjoyable room to be in now.

You’ve already seen most of what’s been done in this room, but there are a few more updates that I haven’t shared, and I want to have one post with all the details and sources…so here it is! Get ready for a photo overload.

(Note: Just to be clear, Jackson does not usually sleep in the bed like that. He is swaddled, no loose blankets, etc. He was just hanging out while I took photos…so don’t worry – he’s safe!)

When we first started this room, I don’t think I ever would have imagined it would end up here. It has ended up being a little more tranquil and neutral than we originally planned, but I kind of love that there is lots of room for more fun and color in the future as he gets older and the room turns more into a fun place to play and not just a place to sleep.

One thing you haven’t seen yet is that art above the crib. My sister showed the animal prints to me months ago and I fell head over heels in love (they’re by MissBojambo on Etsy) so she gave me a few prints for my shower. I’m OBSESSED with them. They have the perfect amount of quirk and color for the room, and I can’t stop staring at them. I paired them with some prints from PrintableWisdom on Etsy – a cute quote about little boys and my two favorite Bible verses.

Another small detail you haven’t seen yet is our changing pad cover. We’ve had the changing pad on the dresser for months now, but we took forever to decide on a cover for it – good ones are hard to find! We ended up with this one and one other from Aden + Anais, and I’m obsessed with how soft they are. It’s a slightly unnecessary addition to the room, but it makes it look a little cuter and now the pad is super comfy!

I’m still not 100% sold on the styling of the bookcases, but I don’t think I ever will be. I don’t feel like I can ever make bookcases look as nice as I want them to, but I am sure this will be an ever-evolving display as we change it out for new toys, books, and other things for our little guy. We also added some hardware to the doors, because we thought they needed a little extra something. I LOVE the gold detail (it breaks up the sea of white a bit!) and I’m glad we decided to go for it.

Overall I can safely say I’m incredibly proud of how this room turned out, and I could just sit in here for hours and stare at it. I’m excited to see how it changes over the years as J gets a little older and his needs change – I think we’ve got a nice solid base for a lot of fun possibilities!

And now for the sources – please let me know if I’ve left anything off! Note: None of these are affiliate links or sponsors – just what we have! 

- Crib: Jenny Lind
- Crib sheet: Target
- Rug: RugsUSA
- Mobile: WalMart
- Sleep Sheep: Pottery Barn
- Bookcases: Ikea
- Hardware on bookcases: Cool Knobs and Pulls
- Chair: Ikea
- Pouf: Target (no longer available, similar found here)
- Curtains: Nate Berkus for Target
- Bamboo shade: Lowe’s
- Blackout shade: Lowe’s
- Dresser/changing table: Craigslist
- Changing pad: Summer Infant
- Changing pad cover: Aden by Aden + Anais
- Fan: Lowe’s (can’t find online, but it’s Harbor Breeze brand)
- Mirror: Target (found at Goodwill!)
- Art above crib: MissBojambo and PrintableWisdom, via Etsy
- Frames on bookcase: Nate Berkus for Target (no longer available, can find similar here)
- Closet organizer: Target (not sold online)
- Trash can: Target (not sold online, was Threshold brand)

- Paint colors
- Top half of wall: Notre Dame by Valspar
- Bottom half of wall: White base paint, by Valspar
- Ceiling: Bay, by Pantone
- Closet: Deep Green, by Pantone