Tile Removal (Finally!)

Alright, so I wish I was coming back from my impromptu blogging hiatus with a more exciting post, but I’m not. It may not have the prettiest photos or be the most fun to read, but I searched the entire internet for posts like this as we were gearing up for this project and they’re sadly lacking – so I want to document this for anyone else who might take this on in the future.

With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get to it. A few months back, Corey and I replaced the flooring in our dining room – it was a major change and we’ve been very happy with it. Our goal was to get the living room done as well before summer ended, because Jackson has been spending more and more time on the floor lately and we hated to have him on that nasty carpet.The only problem with tackling the living room was all of the tile – there was a small spot of tile in front of the fireplace and a larger area by the entryway…and we were terrified of getting it up.

My sister and brother in law took this project on a couple of summers ago, and we have heard nothing but horror stories about how tough it was to get the tile up, how long it took, and how much they hated the entire process. So needless to say, we weren’t looking forward to it. But, as much as we weren’t excited about it, summer is quickly coming to an end so we decided to get it done last week. My sister emphasized to us that we needed to get some sort of a power tool to get it up rather than doing it all by hand, so we knew we wanted to start there. We headed to Home Depot (we chose them over Lowe’s this time because they’ll rent tools and Lowe’s won’t) and asked the guy at the tool rental department what he recommended. He pointed us to a demolition hammer with a chisel bit (for getting the tile up) and a scraper bit (for the thinset). It was a bit pricey (about $100) to rent it all for the day, but we figured if it made the job easier, it was well worth it.

I could practically end this post here and just call it a day – I’m telling you, that tool was amazingMost of the blog posts and tutorials I read prior to renting the tool didn’t seem to give us much hope – people mostly seemed to just use a plain hammer and chisel to get rid of the tile and thinset, or they didn’t elaborate on what they did. Let me tell you again - the demolition hammer is the way to go.

It was noisy and messy to get all of the tile up, but Corey got everything up and smoothed out about an hour – it didn’t mess up the concrete foundation at all, and thanks to how smooth it left the concrete there was no other prep work for us to do besides cleaning up. It was fabulous! Once we had all the tile up, we ripped up all of the carpet in the room – while we still had the tool, we also used it to smooth out any weird areas of concrete that were bumpy or would otherwise interfere with the flooring. It was exhausting (and disgusting) but soon enough, we had a carpet-less living room…and a giant mess.

And here’s where I’ll leave you because I haven’t gotten around to taking photos of the finished room yet. But it is finished, and I’m in love! I’ll take photos soon and hopefully be back next week to show it off – it’s looking amazing!

Okay, anyone have any fun house updates? Up to anything exciting lately?

 

Jackson: Six Months

Stats: We had Jackson’s six month appointment this week – he was 15 pounds 15 ounces (apparently our scale was way off last month when it told us he was over 16 pounds!) and 26.25″ long. He’s also got a giant head (17.72 inches) which places him in the 90th percentile for head circumference. Corey and I both have large heads, so no one is surprised there. :)

Clothing Size: Still in all 3-6 month clothing for now! We have his 6-9 month wardrobe ready, but it’s all pretty huge for him still. He moved up into size 3 diapers this month, though, so he’s definitely growing!

Sleep: We’re officially at three good naps a day. They’re usually 1-1.5 hours, but it’s not too unusual for him to have a two or even three hour nap at some point in the day! Bedtime is about 6:30, and he wakes up to eat once between 4 and 5-ish, then he’ll go back to sleep until about 8:00. We’ve been very lucky with sleep so far, and I’m glad the sleep regression seems to officially be in our past – for now. Of course, now that we have him napping exclusively in the crib at home it can be hard to get him to nap while we’re out and about – he’ll sleep in the car but doesn’t like to sleep on us or in the stroller if he can help it…he doesn’t want to miss out on the fun!

Eating: We started giving him solids here and there soon after he turned 5 months – and it’s just been in the last couple of weeks that he’s really started to ingest the food. He’s had avocado, asparagus, broccoli, toast, chicken, squash, and part of a frozen greek yogurt popsicle! He still doesn’t actually eat very much at meals, but he loves being offered food…though if we give him something that we aren’t eating (for example, if we just give him broccoli but we are having pizza for dinner) he’s not happy – he wants to eat the same food that’s on our plates!


Milestones: Jackson is sitting up like an old pro now – he’ll fall over every once in a while if he’s not focusing on what he’s doing, but I would definitely consider him an independent sitter at this point. He’s VERY close to crawling, and I have a feeling it’ll be happening pretty soon – he’s big on scooting around and gets so frustrated when he can’t move as efficiently as he wants to. He’s taking baths in the big bathtub now without a baby bath – we just lay him down and he kicks and splashes and screeches away. It’s amazing how much he changes on a daily basis and I still can’t believe my tiny little newborn is gone and I have a full-fledged, wiggly baby now!

Things we want to remember: I want to remember how much fun baths are without the baby tub – I could watch him splash and giggle in there all night long! I also never want to forget how hilarious it is to watch him trying to figure out how to eat – his eyes get really big and he opens his mouth as wide as it will go as he tries to shove the food in there. Too cute! I also never want to forget the moments right before Corey and I go to sleep when I sneak into Jackson’s room and watch him sleep for a few minutes. He’s always so peaceful and I love to lay my hand on his back and just soak up his quiet breathing. It’s also always entertaining to see what position he’s sleeping in – the kid moves like crazy in his sleep!

Special outings or adventures: We went to the botanical gardens and a food truck park downtown this month – Jackson had a blast! We had Jackson’s first trip to the pool (and several more trips after that!) and visited friends several different times. Jackson also got to go up to my school with me a few times this month – it’s next to impossible to actually get things done when he’s there, but it’s fun to have him with me!

Favorites: He loves bath time and naked time in general, playing with Sophie (still!) and eating real food. He also loves when we make noises at him (he’s trying to figure out how to make them back!) and hanging out in his crib after a nap – he rolls around and screeches for quite a while before getting bored and calling for us to get him. We love waking up to his happy screams and how excited he is when we come to his room to get him from the crib, and watching him get a little better at eating. It’s just so fun to see him develop and learn new things – I feel like he does something new every day!

What we’ve learned: Every time we go out with him we get a little better at it – we have dealt with so many blow outs and various meltdowns out in public at this point that we feel like old pros. We’re starting to get into some uncharted territory here as he gets more mobile and starts eating more, so we’re feeling a bit lost with some of the new things we’re dealing with, but I’m sure by next month it’ll be old news to us as well!

P.S. After a nice blogging break, I’ve got something to share finally! Stuff has been happening in our house and I’m excited to show it to you! Look for another post later this week with an update.

 

The Top 10

Every once in a while, I like to comb through some of my old posts…that’s one of the beautiful things about having a blog. It’s like a little diary of all the things we’ve done to our house, along with some little life updates along the way. It’s so fun to look back and see what we were doing a few years ago, and marvel over how much things have changed.

The other day when I was doing this, I realized that there are probably quite a few of you out there who haven’t been reading since the beginning of this blog (and if you have, a million points!) and I thought it might be fun to do a round up of some of the best posts of all time. A list of our greatest hits, if you will.

So, I grabbed the stats on the top ten posts since this blog started, and I figured I’d write ‘em all down and do a quick update on the projects. Sounds like a good time, yes?

Let’s dive right in.

10. Dining Room Inspiration

I imagine this post is in the top 10 because it’s the post that preceded our most popular project/post of all time, but we’ll get to that in a minute. It was fun to look back at the post and remember the horrible, horrible light that used to be in the dining room, as well as think about all the other options we went through before landing on our current fixture – it’s crazy to think our beloved dining room light was almost something different!

9. An Island Dream Comes True

I wrote this post right after we bought our kitchen island, and I have to say I’m not sure why it’s as popular as it is! We absolutely love our kitchen island, and it still lives in our kitchen and gets used on a daily basis, so I can definitely say this was a project that stood the test of time! We recently saw in Ikea that they’ve added some different versions of this island – they have one in black – and they’re gorgeous! We briefly wished that we had the black on instead, but ended up agreeing that white is probably till best for our kitchen. But man, that shiny black island sure is pretty!

8. More Form, Same Function

Oh my word, this is an old post. Corey actually wrote this post back when we tried to convince ourselves that he enjoyed writing enough to participate in writing blog posts! The pictures are awful and all taken in our old little duplex in College Station, but I stand by that project! That dresser is still in our house and we still use it under our television, though I have to say it looks much better in this house than it did in that one.

7. Enabling Our Dogs

Another old one! This little old bench has seen a lot of love in the years since we bought it…and it has definitely reached the end of its life. It is still in our bedroom for now, only because we haven’t bought anything to replace it and our dogs are still spoiled and need a bench at the foot of the bed. But, it’s looking very rough. It’s starting to fall apart, the fabric is horribly dirty and has holes in it, and it’s clashed with our bedroom decor for a while now. We’ll be saying goodbye to this bench just as soon as we buy a new one to replace it!

6. Summertime Staples: Sangria

Mmmm, I don’t blame you guys for loving this post. This is my favorite drink recipe in the history of ever. Seriously, it’s the best sangria I’ve ever had in my life. We’ve already made it several times this summer and I’m planning on grabbing the stuff for another batch the next time we’re at the store! All of my “summertime staples” recipes are pretty high on the list of popular posts, so I’m thinking I’ll have to write up another post or two about our favorites before the summer is up – we have a killer shrimp taco recipe that goes really well with this sangria…

5. DIY Black & Gold Globe

I love this project! It was something we got the idea for when we participated in Creating With the Stars, and we loved it so much that we decided to go for it after the contest was over. This guy is still in our living room, but to be honest I’m not sure how well it fits in. I’m not ready to get rid of it because I like it too much, and I’m on a “get rid of all the things” kick right now, particularly in that room, so I’m hoping I’ll get struck with a brilliant idea for what we can do with it. In the meantime, I still really love looking at it!

4. Creating With the Stars Week 4: Home Decor

Speaking of Creating With the Stars… It’s so fun to look back at this project and think about how different that room looks now – that’s Jackson’s nursery! We loved this project but, of course, a reading room wasn’t really practical for our house. We did this entire thing knowing that we would eventually be transitioning it into a nursery. Honestly we both thought we’d leave the wall color the same, but I’m glad we ended up changing it to the more neutral gray we have now. I’m pretty infatuated with how the room looks now, but we’d never have gotten here if it wasn’t for this project!

3. Home Sweet Home

I still love this project just as much as I did on the day I finished it. It still makes me smile every time I walk down our hallway, and it’s still one of the projects I’m the most proud of! I want to do a few other updates to our little hallway so this pretty guy isn’t all alone up there, but it’s still pretty low on the priority list. We’ll get there someday.

2. A Homemade Curtain Rod

The only project that is no longer in our house! We loved these curtain rods and they served us well for a few years! I do wish we had done a few things differently – I’ve seen tutorial where people made them sit out from the wall a bit so that you can actually close and open the curtains, and I wish we would have done that. I also wish we would have made the rod more easily removed – it was a pretty permanent structure so when we wanted to replace the curtains we had to take the whole shebang down…and that’s how we ended up replacing them. We wanted something that was a little nicer looking and easier to swap out, so we ended up buying new curtain rods for the living and dining room as we replaced the curtains…but I do love looking back at these guys!

And finally, our #1 viewed post of all time…

1. A Handmade Dining Room Light

The dining room light. The one that always makes people stop in their tracks when they visit our house and ask where we got it. The one that still makes me smile every single time I turn it on. The one I will be clinging to, screaming and crying on the day (many years in the future) when we move away from this house and have to leave it behind. I’m a big fan of this light. It is a huge statement piece in our dining room and makes the whole thing feel elegant and put together. I still get regular emails about this project and have had many people tell me they’ve attempted it themselves, which I love hearing! Definitely my favorite project we’ve ever done!

And with that, if you’re new around here you are officially caught up on the best of the best posts! It’s pretty clear you guys are big fans of project posts…and I’m a big fan of writing them. I sincerely miss having more project posts around these parts, and I’m hoping we’ll be able to get back to it soon. We haven’t been putting hardly any money into the house lately, but Corey and I have both agreed that we miss it dearly and are hoping that within the next few months we’ll be able to loosen up the purse strings a bit. Our house is feeling neglected!

What kind of posts would you like to see more of around here? Any requests? Anyone else love going back and looking at old blog posts, or diaries if you don’t have a blog? I love reading what was on my mind all those years ago!

Curtains & Chairs

Ever since we added some new flooring in the dining room, Corey and I have been all about working on the room. Something about that shiny, happy new floor just makes us want to make the rest of the room pretty. If only we could get our butts in gear to get the living room done so we’d feel the same way about it. Still crossing my fingers it gets done before we go back to school!

We’ve been talking about new curtains in the dining room for months – ever since we replaced the windows on the back of the house, really, but we haven’t been able to really settle on what we wanted. We’ve got patterned curtains in the living room and I already feel like the living room is entirely too cluttered looking and was desperate for something neutral, calming, and not at all cluttered for in here. When we found these navy blue jute curtains at Target, we new we’d struck gold – they’re gorgeously textured, they flow well with the curtains in the living room, and they look amazing against our bamboo blinds. Basically, they’re perfect. We had white curtains in here before, and while we enjoyed the breezy and fresh look, when you have three dogs it’s almost impossible to keep white things clean. Add to that the fact that one of the curtain panels is right next to the doggy door and you’ve got yourself a formula for perma-dirty curtains and they had to go. I feel like this look is so much better and I love how much more polished the room feels now. We also, as I mentioned on Monday, got some new chairs at the table. We found these chairs on Craigslist and actually bought them with the intent of painting them red. Now that we have Jackson’s red high chair in here, I’ve been wanting to sprinkle in some other red accents throughout the house (which Corey is thrilled with, since it’s his favorite color), and we thought that having red chairs on either end of the table would be fun. We both love the look of the cane back on these guys, and we thought that they’d look fantastic in a bright, shiny red. And then we got them home. And we looked at them, and we looked at each other, and we both declared that there was no way we could ever even think about painting these chairs. They’re gorgeous and in amazing condition, and I will never touch a paint brush to them. I don’t even care that I swore we wouldn’t be bringing any more wood tones into this room because we already have more than enough. So now, we have a dilemma. With the addition of the (dark) blue curtains and the (dark) wood chairs, this room is feeling pretty heavy and, uh, dark. We both agree that the rest of the chairs at the table need to be white, but we also both agree that the chairs we currently have don’t really fit with the look we’re going for. We’ve got a few ideas on what we’ll do for the rest of the chairs, but it’s low on our priority list for now. We also want to replace the art on the back of the fireplace with something else (no clue what yet) and find some accessories for the table to break up all the wood. Oh, and we’re eventually going to add baseboards back into the room. Just in case you thought we were digging the exposed sheetrock look, we aren’t. The plan is to wait until we get the flooring done in the living room (since the two rooms are open to one another) and then we’ll start working on the baseboards in here and in there. And it will be a glorious day when it is complete! What do you think? Any suggestions on fun tabletop accessories that could brighten our dining room back up? What about some awesome large-scale art for the fireplace wall?

Brain Dump

Well, hi there! Have you noticed the radio silence around here lately? I sure have… my free time lately has been completely consumed by graduate school and I’m getting sick of it. I’m currently 3/4 of the way through my last class of graduate school (as in, ever…I graduate next month!) and it’s kicking my butt. I think I’m finally over the hump of the hardest assignments and am starting to wrap things up so hopefully I’ll have a little more time for blogging soon.

Since my mind is completely bogged down with writing papers, turning projects in, and reading research articles, I figured I’d do a quick drive-by post today with a few things we’ve been up to lately…and issue a promise that I’ll have actual content up soon. We’ve actually done a little bit more work around the house!

The first thing I want to tell you about is the new chairs we got in the dining room. I don’t want to spoil anything because I want to do a more thorough post on them later, but I’m in l-o-v-e with them. We finally gave up on the head chairs that we’ve been talking about reupholstering for like two and a half years now (do you remember those? no? that’s because it’s been over a year since I’ve even mentioned them…) and got these instead – and I’m thrilled with the decision! More on them later, just know they’re awesome.

We had a fabulous Fourth of July weekend – had some pool time, had friends over, did lots of relaxing, and just enjoyed our time together. So basically, it was like every other day we’ve had so far this summer. Perfection!

Jackson is officially starting to actually eat some of the food we put in front of him (mostly just avocado as of now, but he had a few bites of squash and sucked on some toast the other day) and it’s so fun to watch him start to explore it. We’re doing baby-led weaning and we’re taking it very slow, since he isn’t quite six months yet. We’re mostly just letting him play around and try a few different things at this point, but I have a feeling that within the next couple of weeks he’ll be ready to start eating more – he ate a whole slice of avocado last night at dinner!

I’ve had a lot of questions about Jackson’s high chair – it’s the Blames high chair from Ikea and we also bought the Pyttig support pillow, since he’s still a bit small for the high chair on his own. We love both of them and have been very happy so far. The high chair is very easy to keep clean and actually looks great at our table – some reviews I’ve read complain that it sits kind of low, but it’s perfectly level with our table, which we love because it feels like he’s really participating at meal time. The support pillow has been fantastic to help him feel more secure in the chair, and we’ve even brought it with us to restaurants a few times so he can sit in the big high chairs there too – we’re thinking about getting another one to keep in the car! I’d highly recommend both of them for anyone looking for a high chair.

(Just because I can’t resist a couple more cute photos)

And that’s our update as of right now. I’ll be back soon (hopefully later this week!) with a real post, promise!

How was your holiday weekend? Anyone do anything exciting?