Blog Announcements

Even though I've had this blog for a while, I feel like I'm just now getting on my feet.  I'm starting to find my voice, and participate more in the blog community.  So I've decided to host a link-up.  I'm not sure if I'm quite ready for hosting a link-up, but I'm going to go ahead and jump in with both feet and see how it goes.  I've been pretty consistent with my Day in the Life posts, so I'm creating a monthly Day in the Life link-up.  I take my Day in the Life pics on the first of the month and put up my post on the second, and that's how I'll run the link-up.  Grab your camera and snap a pic of whatever you're doing each hour for 12 or 24 hours, write a post, and link-up.  Easy cheesey!  I'll open the link-up the morning of the second and I'll leave it open for a week (so there's plenty of time to take those pictures).  Oh, and be sure to tell a friend, or some strangers, or your boss, or whoever, just get the word out!

I am also trying out another blog challenge, the Blog Every Day in May challenge hosted by Elizabeth of Rosalilium.  I failed miserably when I tried to blog every day in February (and that was a short month!), but Elizabeth's challenge should be somewhat easier.  She's put together a list of topics to cover every day to help in the inspiration department.  A lot of great bloggers have signed up to participate and I'm really excited to get to know them.  I'm also more than a little nervous about taking on this challenge, but I need to write every day if I'm going to be a writer.  And now I have the accountability of being part of a group. (But my palms are so sweaty - what have I gotten myself into?)

I also decided to redesign my blog a little.  I really liked the green and orange, but it was time to move on and so I pulled the trigger last week on a new design.  Just like that.  I'd been over thinking it for months, and had frozen myself in indecision land.  One morning I woke up, decided to tinker, and bam!, new blog design.  I'm sure I'll tweak it here and there, but now things feel a bit more grown up around here.

And that's what's been going on around here!

The (New) Kitchen Layout

I know, I know, this post is a long time coming, but I am finally writing about how we have decided to best use the space in our kitchen.  When we bought the house the kitchen layout was less than desirable.  The fridge and stove were in weird places, the water heater was out in the open, the cabinets were ugly and off center, the washer and dryer didn't fit, and there was virtually no counter space available whatsoever.  Not to mention the floors.  The ugly, ugly, ugly floors that had to come out.  After considering a number of options, and thanks to all the comments I got when I posted about how awful the kitchen was, this is what we came up with:

The changes aren't drastic, but we think this is the absolute best way to use the space we have, and let me tell you, what a difference this layout makes!  It's not quite the kitchen of our dreams; okay, who am I kidding, it's nowhere near the kitchen of our dreams, but compared to what is was, it's heavenly.  We never quite intended to gut the original kitchen, but that's exactly what ended up happening.  In fact, the day Jack was born, this is what the "kitchen" looked like.  Somehow, in the two and a half weeks Jack was in the NICU, the kitchen got put back together.  The walls got painted.  The cabinets got installed.  The stove was acquired.  The washer and dryer were installed.  The water heater was installed.  I know I'm probably leaving out things, but I was with Jack in the hospital, so I wasn't there for any of this!

The first thing we decided to do was invest in a tankless water heater to save space.  Dennis installed it in the master bedroom closet since it doesn't take up much room.  We considered putting it under the house, but since the place is so old (1928) and not all the plumbing has been updated we added a water filter for to the water line going into the tankless so it won't get all gunked up.  And since water filters need to be changed regularly, having the whole set up in the closet made much more sense than having to climb under the house once a month.

Moving the water heater freed up space to put the fridge and to add a pantry.  We haven't bought the pantry cabinet yet, so for now we have a pantry fridge, but we at least know where the pantry is going to live.  It's so much nicer to have the fridge in the alcove where the water heater was, instead of looming in the middle of the kitchen.  Just tucking the fridge into the alcove makes the kitchen feel so much bigger.

We thought about the possibility of putting a stackable washer and dryer in the alcove and putting the fridge in the place of the washer and dryer.  We decided against this idea for a couple of reasons.  First, keeping the washer and dryer in their original spot meant we wouldn't have to do any massive plumbing work.  Second, we were gifted hand-me-down front loaders from my sister-in-law and brother-in-law (thanks, Linda and Mark!) and keeping them in the original spots let us extend our counter space.  Third, putting the fridge in the alcove almost makes it feel like it's somewhat built in.  If we had put it next to the back door, it would've felt as massive and imposing as it was in it's original spot.  We're also able to put shelves above the washer and dryer for more storage, and couldn't have done that with the fridge there.

We did swap the washer to the dryer spot and the dryer to the washer spot.  The dryer vent is on the right and we can't quite figure out why anyone would've put the dryer on the left at all.  In fact, when we pulled out the old dryer, it wasn't even vented to the outside of the house!  Dennis also recessed the plumbing into the wall so the washer could sit a few inches back and that also makes a world of difference.  The entire door frame is now visible and the washer and dryer actually look like they fit into their spot.  Small changes really can make a big difference.

The sink and dishwasher stayed in the exact same place, and the upper cabinets were replaced and actually centered around the window.  Dennis had to pick out the cabinets and sink without me, since Jack and I were in the hospital (and I wasn't willing to leave his side), and I think his choices are perfect.  Dennis said he picked a cast iron porcelain sink instead of a regular stainless steel one because Jack would look cuter in the cast iron sink!

The last thing we needed to figure out is where to put the stove.  Moving the fridge into the alcove meant we couldn't leave the stove where it was; the stove would've been in the way of the fridge door.  Obviously, the only place left was where the fridge had been (against the wall that makes up part of the master closet).  We measured the distance between the fridge, stove, and sink (the kitchen triangle - our triangle is less than ideal, but the best we could do with the space), and the stove seemed miles away from the sink.  Plus, there was no way to have any counter space on either side of the stove.  What to do, what to do?  After a couple of days, we finally had a stroke of genius.  We'd make an island out of the stove and put a cabinet on either side (more storage space, yay!), giving us counter space to prepare food (yay, counter space!), and making the distance from sink to stove feel less like a hike (less steps, yay!).

We're not quite sure what to do with the space behind the stove.  At first we thought bar stools would fit nicely back there, but we still needed a place to put the cat bowls.  After actually living with this layout for a few months, we're going to extend a counter from the back of the stove to the wall (yay, even more counter space!) making a peninsula instead of an island, and probably put a few shelves in (yay, even more storage!), leaving enough room to put the cat bowls.  We still need to get the cabinets for each side of the stove and the pantry, and we also need to hang the shelves above the washer and dryer, but for now the kitchen is functional, and we know where everything is going to go.  There's also a long list of other things to do to the kitchen like paint the cabinets and install a backsplash, but those things will come in time.  Right now, I have a baby to take care of!  We definitely have plenty of stuff to keep us busy.

Six Months of Jack

It's hard to believe it, but my baby boy turned six months old yesterday!  Jack had his Well Baby doctor's visit and his official measurements are 24.75 inches tall (that's over two feet!), and 13 pounds 3.3 ounces.  He's smaller than most 6 month olds, but he seems pretty big to me.  But that's to be expected since he was almost 7 weeks early.  In fact, he's growing so well he's almost on the normal growth curve for his birth date instead of the adjusted one for his due date.  That's a huge improvement!  Time has flown by, and I can't believe that in the same amount of time he'll be turning one.  I'd better get started planning his party.

I waited so long to finally become a mom, and went through so much to finally get pregnant (read about that here, here, and here), and I am so thankful for my baby every day.  He's brought more joy into my life than I ever expected.  I cherish every day.  I love you, Jack-Jack!!!

One Month

Two Months

Three Months

Four Months

Five Months

Six Months


Portrait Giveaway by J.Renee Design Studio

The lovely Jessica from J. Renee Design Studio is having an amazing Mother's Day giveaway!  If you're an expectant mom, or know one, she's giving away an entire year of portraits, starting with maternity, and going all the way till the baby's first birthday!  Wow!  I wish she had had this contest 6 months ago!  The entry form is here, and you can also show her some love by liking her on Facebook.

When I was pregnant, I planned on getting maternity photos taken.  I mean, I really wanted maternity photos, badly.  It was one of the things on my must do while pregnant list.  Okay, it was just about the only thing on my must do list, along with doing a cast of my belly.  Jack had other plans, though, and decided to arrive early.  The past five months have been a blur, and while I have taken thousands, yes thousands of pictures of Jack (gotta love the digital age, right?), I really wanted professional pictures done.  I didn't get newborn portraits because he was a preemie and the doctors didn't want him exposed to anyone or anything he didn't have to be exposed to during flu season.

Enter J. Renee Design Studio.  I was going to have Jessica do my maternity photos and newborn portraits, so when she offered a Spring themed photo shoot, I jumped at the opportunity.  I am so glad I did!!!  She met us at a local park with a bunny and some chicks and clicked away.  She was fast and efficient without seeming rushed, which is important when dealing with a baby.  You never know when they're going to go rogue and have a melt down.  If you're in the Houston area, I highly recommend her.  You can contact her here.  As you can see, she does great work!  So spread the word, and good luck!


Day In The Life, April 1, 2013

I'm back with another picture an hour post!  It looks like taking a photo an hour on the first of the month is starting to become a "thing" around here.  Hopefully it lasts because I really enjoy it.  As usual, I used my iPhone's Instagram app, and, yes, my profile is still private, so you'll have to request to follow me.  If you want to see my other Day in the Life posts, click here and here.

I was off most of the day yesterday.  I did go in for a few hours in the evening.  Momma's got to make some money!  I like this trend of not working on the first of the month; it makes for much more interesting pictures.  I don't try to plan anything special on picture day.  I do whatever needs doing that day, no matter how boring or mundane.  Some days seem to last forever and others just fly by.  Yesterday melted right through my fingers.

9:30 am
the baby slept in and so did I
coffee as always

10:30 am
Jack watches me make breakfast

11:30 am
time to run some errands

12:30 pm
at the bank

1:30 pm
getting the 4Runner inspected

2:30 pm
home again
lunch and some New Girl

3:30 pm
photo shoot

4:30 pm
heading to work

5:30 pm
getting ready for my first client

6:30 pm
finishing with my client

7:30 pm
in session with client*

8:30 pm
home again
Den's cooking dinner

9:30 pm
nursing Jack to sleep

10:30 pm
Jack asleep in his co-sleeper

Yay for babies who sleep through the night!

5:30 am
early morning feeding

8:30 am
good morning

9:30 am
cooking breakfast

So there you have it!  Another typical day for us.

*I did not actually take this picture while in session with my client.  I went back and took it after I was done. Taking a picture while in session would just be too weird and disrespectful.  "Ummm, excuse me for a second, I have to take a picture for a project I'm doing." said no massage therapist ever.
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