We’re Moving!

No, we’re not moving houses. Are you kidding me? We’re so far from moving it’s not even funny!

However, we ARE moving blog domains! Our new blog isn’t perfect and it will definitely be tweaked as we go along, but we’re ready to be our very own dot com address! You can find us at www.gourleygirlandguy.com If you are an email subscriber, PLEASE keep following us! Followers at wordpress.com, you will not be able to follow us *on* wordpress since we are now self-hosted, but we would LOVE for you to become email subscribers! We have loved learning more about you as well!

We are working on getting email subscriptions up, but can also be found on facebook, twitter, and instagram (my personal favorite)!

We have SO appreciated your support in the last few months and hope to see you all at the new blog! Don’t be surprised if we email you and say PLEASE COME FOLLOW US AGAIN! 🙂 Have a fabulous weekend! More posts coming ASAP at www.gourleygirlandguy.com ! 🙂

Our Battle with Infertility: Year 2


If you’re following up from the last two weeks, welcome back. If you’re new on this post, welcome into the inner recesses of our marriage and family planning. To catch up, you can visit our Infertility page.Sorry if this is TMI. If you’re dealing with infertility, please please please let us know if there’s anything we can do to help and…we hope this helps you, too. 🙂

In our last post, we recounted summer of 2011 to summer of 2012…that was the year of tracking, basically. We couldn’t really do anything because we hadn’t been trying “long enough”. To hear that is so disheartening, especially when you feel like something may be wrong. I felt like something may be wrong. In fact, I felt that way before we ever started trying. When we were first married, I knew we couldn’t financially handle kids and life and everything. We thought we might move shortly into our marriage and it just seemed like waiting was the right idea. All along I was worried, though, that when we were ready to try, it wouldn’t work. Being right about this really really really sucks.

Typically, I see a nurse practitioner at my OB/GYN because my favorite doctor EVER left a few years ago to stay home with her kids. I have never had any issue with the nurse practitioner and they have a great staff, but in the summer of 2012, we needed to see the doctor. The doctor started to test for EVERYTHING. We had day 3 labs (to make sure my cycle was OK), day 21 labs (to make sure I ovulate properly), more cycle tracking (joy.), and we scheduled a semen analysis for Chris and a test called an HSG for me. Sidenote: Getting bloodwork done on vacation because that is when your cycle lines up is REALLY annoying and WAY more money than we anticipated. Nothing says relaxing beach day like hanging out at the medical center getting blood drawn. Some of my cycles (as I noted in last week’s post) were a little off, but ovulation seemed normal and my bloodwork was A-OK. Chris’ analysis came back and was pretty good as well. At first, my doctor’s office told me he had abnormal numbers, but later we found out that “abnormal numbers” means “one level might have been ‘off'” and that one level can be affected by external sources (heat, time, etc) so it wasn’t really anything that should be affecting us long-term. Looking back, this is awesome. At the time, it was terrifying (and painful for my sweet husband).

HSG stands for Hysterosalpingogram. Basically, you go to the doctor (between your cycle dates and ovulation, I believe) and they insert a catheter that will release dye into your whole lady-system. You can watch it on a screen so, that was entertaining. They basically do this x-ray while you stare at the monitor showing your uterus and fallopian tubes. The intent of HSG is to check and make sure your tubes are working properly. Well, the dye SHOT through the tubes. I mean, it SHOT through there. That is totally normal, but, wait- THAT IS TOTALLY NORMAL. At this point, we were in to September 2012. Translation: I was missing school for this. We have definitely maintained the mindset that growing our family is more important than a job, but the 2012-13 school year was a year where I took more leave than ever before. (Foreshadowing: 2013-14 has been even worse, in terms of leave.)

We tried to stay really focused on the process in 2012, but it was so difficult with work and everything else. On top of that, going to a regular OB/GYN’s office can be *really* frustrating. For one, I couldn’t take off all of the time just because my cycle said so. For two, they can only work regular doctor’s hours (unlike fertility specialists). For three, they TRULY are fabulous, but didn’t seem to understand that my life runs on a TEACHER’S SCHEDULE. No, I cannot come get 10 minute blood work on my “lunch break”. What is a lunch break?!

Chris got two analyses during this year. They both had strong numbers in some ways and weak numbers in others. When you’re getting a semen analysis, you want good a) count [duh], b) motility [that they’re movin’ and shakin’], and c) morphology [that they look like tadpoles]. He went to see a urologist (super nice guy!) who said that he really didn’t feel like there was any reason that his numbers should be keeping us from getting pregnant. Great, right?!





Fall 2012- proof that we’re normal and not just crying about being infertile all the time. But, look at those people. Won’t they make CUTE babies?!

Next week, I’ll be talking about the second half of 2013. This was the time when we really started making moves and tried (as much as possible) to stop leaving things to chance. (You might even get to see pictures of my pee! Lucky you!) Obviously, we’re not very close to a due date so, some things didn’t work. However, that brings us almost to now and we have more answers than ever before. No, we’re not pregnant at this moment in case you thought that was our cryptic way of telling you.

Emotionally speaking, my breaking point in the process (meaning, when I almost broke someone) was when my nurse practitioner (bless her) said, “Sometimes these things take a while,” at my October 2012 yearly checkup. I wanted to harm her. Don’t get me wrong, people are SO well-meaning and they just.don’t.know.what.to.say. BUT, sometimes it’s better to say, “I’m sorry, I don’t know what to say.” Write that down. Then, if anyone ever tells you they’re dealing with this and you’re out of your depth, say it. And, read this. Don’t say these things. It will save you from a mental or physical punch to the face. 🙂 If you’re STILL unsure, google “things not to say” and “infertility” in the same search. Many brave women have opened up about this…and I promise none of them will want to hurt you. 🙂

Also, there’s a great post written by a *husband* no less, at this link about ten words that describe infertility. I have thought this over many times and could probably add a few, but he just says it SO well. For me, it’s #10 on his list. That has been my station in life for the past 8 months or so. Heart-wrenching ambivalence. We know that anything that has been said has been meant to be supportive, but if you’ve struggled with infertility, MANY of these will ring true and you will want to high five this man! 🙂 And this man, he says beautiful things about a situation that is not so beautiful. Thank God for good husbands in the world. Mine is practically a saint (even my students tell me so) for putting up with my crazy throughout this whole journey.

Thanks so much to all of our friends and family. So many of you have reached out since we started blogging this journey and we are truly grateful. We’re still not really up for giving up to date information. The timing of everything is still too sensitive for us to feel the pressure of keeping so many people informed. We love you (even you readers we don’t know) and appreciate your prayers and happy thoughts as always. Thank you SO much for sticking with us on this crazy ride!

Take Off Your Coat and Stay Awhile: Entryway “Board and Batten”

Welcome, friends! I say that because today we’re talking about the very. first. thing. you’ll see when you come into our house. I know that some people are blessed with a big beautiful coat closet but umm, our entry/living room is a little odd. When you come in you face this wall. Like, right in your face.


In fact, you have to come in, walk to the right, and close the front door to get to our roommate’s bedroom (to the left). It’s craaaaaazy squished in there. We DO have a coat closet, but it’s on this awkward angled wall and it’s built with an angled wall (where the closet door is) so there is one awkward little shelf, which we actually moved a few years ago.


It holds more coats now than it once did, but it still only holds about…my coats. I have a jacket/coat problem. I look really cute in coats. That’s the problem. Also, we needed it to house some other random things…I think it holds air filters and our little spot-treater steam machine thingy..and extra Ikea throw pillows that don’t have covers…and beach towels? Guests don’t need to be seeing all of that, right? Plus, like I said, really inconvenient to be opening ANOTHER door when you don’t even have the first one closed.

I could never really figure out what to do with that wall right as you come in the door. I think at some time in my roommate history it may have had some kind of picture hanging on it, but that could be totally made up in my mind. Well, I kept shopping around for cool entryway ideas and I found one at House of Smiths. Shelly (co-author of HOS) had a great idea to peek behind her existing closet…and she found the mother lode. She had space to expand on each end and create this cool recessed bench with storage above and below (seriously, go look at it- it’s incredible!). So, I thought, “Maybe the coat closet could become and entryway and we could just tear out that wall, push it back to the depth of the closet…and voila!” Um. No. The closet still has a hole where I cut into it, reached through…and knocked on the wall of our roommate’s shower. That was unfortunate. {note to self: patch that wall!}


Our house has a weird floor plan, obviously, because his shower is right up against the wall you see as SOON as you come in the house. One day I’ll have to share floor plans or something because this house is hard as heck to explain to people. Even once people have been inside the house, they don’t realize where all of the doors lead. In my head that sounded really creepy and was followed by, “Where DO all the doors lead? mwahahahahahahahahaha!”

Like some sort of crazy fate, John & Sherry from YoungHouseLove posted a Reader Redesign by a photographer named Sada Lewis & her husband. Well, to say that I fell in love with her idea would be an understatement. I had seen similar ideas on other blogs for hallways and mudrooms, but we don’t really *have* hallways or mudrooms. Now my house sounds totally crazy. There’s a shower wall as soon as you come in, no formal entryway/mudroom space, and NO hallways- at all. We actually live in a clown car.

Our entryway is not nearly as long as Sada’s so, we altered the plans a smidge and used different sized boards. We didn’t want anything as big as a 1″x 4″ or a 1″x 6″ for fear it would look too heavy and overpower our narrow little baseboards. In all of my amazing design and technical prowess, I drew up some “blueprints”.



Oh yeah, we also had to remove the chair rail that you saw up there. That is the worst and really makes the drywall  hard to paint over. We got it as smooth as a baby’s bottom and it still showed up through the paint…so we had a random step that the normal person without chair rail wouldn’t have to do.


Our supply list was:

1″ x 3″ x 6′  (6)

trim molding (one piece)

white semi-gloss paint (Oh yeah, gotta repaint all of the trim in the house, too. Sweet.)

circular saw (It’s what we have, but you could ask Lowe’s/Home Depot to cut for you.)

Kreg Jig


Countersink bit

Anchors with toggle bolts

Wall anchors


wood filler

regular ol’ drywall spackle

That seems like a lot but we had…almost everything. Just like with our rolling pantry, we originally bought the wood and then let it sit somewhere unsafe for long enough that it had warped and we would be unable to make it level. Genius. We also needed screws, but we had everything else left over. The paint was from the rolling pantry and…some other project I don’t remember, maybe the mirror? That’s beside the point.

At the bottom of my blueprints, I had written steps. Some of these we followed well. Others didn’t really matter if they got messed up or didn’t exactly match my blueprints. I think I swapped the order of hanging some of the boards between the drawing and the steps because I realized it would look less choppy or something.

1. Measure the length of your desired entryway wall and cut one of your boards. This will be your top horizontal. (Sorry, the pictures are grainy. It was very dark, but I couldn’t wait to get better photos.)


2. Cut a second board exactly like your first one. This will be the display “shelf” that rests on top of your horizontal board. Set aside.

3. Using wood screws (for studs) and toggle bolt anchors (for drywall), mark your wood, drill holes (with countersink bit!), and insert anchors (if necessary). Because our wall backs up to a shower and closet, the studs are in weird places so we had one side with lots of studs and one side with none. It was bizarre.

4. Measure from the bottom of your installed horizontal to your baseboards (vertically). Cut four boards at this length. Attach your outside boards first. This is where the job started to be ridiculous because our corners were obviously not square and one of our walls curves so the boards popped out…but we’ll address that later. For now, we just attached them as best we could and got them tightly secured to the wall. You could also cut the bottom edge of your vertical boards at a 45 degree angle (we used a miter box) so that they don’t sit out from your baseboards. We did this, but I’m not sure it was necessary from the angle we typically view this wall. Oh well, it doesn’t hurt. 🙂


5. Measure the space between your two vertical boards. Figure out how many sections you want on your wall. I wanted 3 so I had 2 more vertical boards to place. Take the total measurement (ours was 47 inches) and subtract the width of ALL other vertical boards. Since I had two and they were 2.5 inches wide EACH, I subtracted 5 inches. This left me with 42 inches. Hallelujah, this can be divided by 3! So, since 42 divided by 3 is 14, I needed a space of 14 inches between each vertical board. We started from the left and attached a vertical. Then, we measured 14 inches from the right and attached the last one. I figured that if my measurements were wrong, the two side panels would be the same, even if the middle was a smidge larger. Guess what? I wasn’t wrong. Booyah!


6. Cut 3 (or however many sections you have) boards to 14 inches (or the width of your sections between verticals) and attach them to the wall as well. Yeah, we ran out of screws/anchors and had to buy more. Upside? This joker is NEVER going to fall down. Like, we could climb it.

7. Screw and/or nail in top “shelf” board. We originally tried to Kreg Jig this, but with our wall being so curved, it was cuh-razy. We ended up just nailing it on top. Done and done.

8. Using wood glue and tape, secure your trim molding under the shelf. We actually forgot to do this until after we’d primed, but luckily our trim was pre-primed so it got painted on schedule with everything else.


Once the glue is dry, remove the tape and move on to step 8.


9. Fill…and sand…and fill…and sand…and run your hand over the wood to see if it feels like a baby’s bottom…and sand…and fill…and sand…and vacuum. every. surface. ever. Our downstairs is all open, not as in open concept, but as in, no doors between rooms. The only doors close off our coat closet and our roommate’s bedroom/bathroom. Therefore, every surface in our living room and kitchen is COVERED in sanding dust. I mean, I vacuumed…ish…but STILL. It is EVERYWHERE. I mean, look at those countersunk screws! There was a lot of filling and sanding.


10. Now, prime. We did two coats of primer because the wood was so brand new and we did sand in between coats.


11. When you’re finally done with all that crazy (bonus points if you had to also put drywall spackle in a big huge crack because your corners aren’t square- high five!), paint the heck out of that. Sand between coats with some fine grit sand paper. That entryway will be the smoothest on the block! *I also chose to paint my baseboards (since the whole house’s trim needs semi-gloss) and quarter round, which has been wood-toned since I moved in…almost 10 years ago…

{11.5} Bonus steps: We realized that where we had removed our chair rail to start this project, there was just NO saving the drywall. I mean, the drywall is structurally fine, but there is just no amount of sanding that will make it *look* smooth. It feels fine. SO, we went back and added a second row of horizontal boards to disguise that little guy instead of skim coating. It’s a million times better, than before. We hung it first, filled/sanded, filled/sanded, primed, painted.


12. Caulk. Now, you  might reverse this. We actually do have paintable caulk, but I actually didn’t see all of the spaces that needed caulk when the materials still appeared mixed (and knew I wouldn’t) so we bought paintable white caulk and chose to caulk at the end.If the whites ever look different, it’s paintable. I can go back and paint over it. Here are some examples of how much better it looks with caulk. 🙂

Before caulk there was a pretty big gap that I mentioned above toward the top of the board & batten where our corner wasn’t square (it got thinner as you went down the wall). We went back with caulk later and it looks WAY better…not perfect, but WAY better.


And after, still not *great*, but it looks way better in person than it does in the picture and our entryway light doesn’t do me any favors, hah.


13. Pick out cute hooks (ours are from Home Depot), put them in place, and get to decorating that cute shelf that now welcomes everyone into your home! 🙂 Bonus points if you invite over your neighbors so they can pet your entryway and be jealous of its smoothness!

**For EVEN MORE IRRELEVANT bonus points, while you’re doing wall touch-ups, paint your alarm box! It looks a bajillion times better!**


I took some pictures with flash, too. It was so dark outside that there was no natural light to be seen for the foreseeable future. It helps to see the true colors of the paint and appreciate the contrast of the crisp, shiny white! 🙂



I also realized, while taking pics, that the hooks in the middle make a face…like a teddy bear face. Am I the only one who sees that?


I think the true cost of this project was about 30 bucks. We had to buy the wood (but I’m only counting that once since we messed it up, but will use the other as scraps) and screws/anchors. We had everything else on hand. We DID buy new drill bits because we got the new drill that I can’t. stop. talking. about. for my birthday and didn’t have the drill bit set, but that doesn’t count as exclusive to *this* project. I’m pretty pleased at the bang for our buck and also that our guests have places to hang coats/bags! Hooray for a more welcoming home in 2014! 🙂

Now, how about YOU? Anybody else have a phenomenal mudroom that I can drool over? How about some place to drop your crap that guests don’t have to see? Am I the only one who sees the face in the hooks? Anybody tried board and batten or sprucing up the entryway? Anybody? …Bueller?

Accessorized reveal with *daytime* photos coming this weekend! Hooray!

Our Battle With Infertility: Year 1


**So, I know that we brought it up on facebook, but people really have blown us away with support since we opened up about our ongoing battle. We have received texts, facebook messages, “likes”, comments, conversations in person, hugs (well, less hugs because I’m not a BIG hugger), etc. It has been overwhelming and beautiful and phenomenal and, did I mention overwhelming?! We could never have imagined how many people have shared our struggle, felt our pain, been concerned for us, and just plain reached out. That being said, your support definitely encourages us to continue sharing. Again, PLEASE share this with anyone, but especially those you know who are struggling with this. They may be ahead of us in the process, or just starting out, but we are always open to suggestions and second opinions! We are also more than willing to answer questions for anyone just starting out on this journey. And please, don’t feel that your story isn’t “as difficult” or “as painful” as ours (we’ve had some people apologize) because anyone suffering from this knows that it’s not just about whether you’re struggling to have your first or your fifth, when you feel like you are supposed to be a parent and you can’t be one, something feels broken. We are always here to empathize and listen. This post may be offensive or hurtful or painful for you to read. I am SO sorry. It is about documenting where we were at this point in the journey. We are not necessarily in the same place now. We just have to be honest and authentic to our journey.**

To read Part 1 of Our Battle With Infertility, click here.

We left off in the summer of 2011 with a huge yearning in our hearts for babies and nowhere to go, but being a family! Little did we know, this was the beginning of a still-continuing journey. Get excited, guys! This is the post where start posting intimate details and pictures of my cycle charts. In future installments there will be awkward pictures and talk of bodily functions- TO THE MAX! Woo! Infertility!

The time from the summer of 2011-2012 or “The First Year”, as I like to call it, was pretty simple. I started tracking my temperature daily (to try to predict ovulation) and we tried to “time” intercourse. I feel like “timed intercourse” always means we have a stopwatch out, but –and there are people who DO NOT KNOW THIS– since you can really only get pregnant a few days a month, it’s important to time it correctly.

This has been a great source of bitterness for me and if you are struggling, it may be frustrating for you, too. SO MANY PEOPLE have gotten pregnant in the last 3 years and have just not known “how this happens”. #1- I can tell you how. A 15 year-old in family life can tell you *how*. Now, I know that’s not what people mean and I know that the surprise/shock of an “accidental” pregnancy is probably terrifying (I am one who likes a plan, after all!), but SERIOUSLY- only a VERY FEW days a month. #2- If you’re anywhere near “regular”, ladies, it’s almost completely predictable. I don’t say ANY of that to offend anyone who has had a surprise. You are SO lucky (and I’m sure that sweet baby smiling back at you lets you know that daily)! However, now that you’ve felt the mama tug and the amazing sensations and experiences of pregnancy, I’m sure you can’t imagine ever going back. Just keep praying for those of us who so badly want to be where you are. 🙂  Please don’t feel angry at the bitterness of those dealing with infertility. Feeling your body NOT work the way it is “supposed” to, CREATED to, for that matter and then seeing those who didn’t even plan it at the time…it kills. You feel that if they weren’t planning it then they didn’t want it and when you want it SO badly it just…suck. It just sucks. I don’t know how to put it. Sometimes not being happy for others is unfortunately part of this journey. Please believe me and grant me grace when I tell you that I still pray DAILY for the grace/mercy/strength to be happy for every other pregnant person I know/see. Honestly, sometimes it’s the random girl at Panera that just makes me want to cry. It’s so irrational. From what I hear though, there are irrational things in motherhood, too. Maybe I’m getting good practice? 🙂

If you are struggling with infertility, you likely have an app. I have found that the Fertility Friend app is super easy-to-use and tracks all of the information you need. There have been MANY months where I was just ridiculously bitter and could NOT care about tracking, but we’ll get there in a minute.

Well, we were hopeful that year. In the fall, October to be exact, I had a 40 day cycle. I also developed an aversion to meat. It was terrifying. I started eating dinner one night and just gagged and ran upstairs. I barfed multiple times that month. It was disgusting. Because of the stomach thing (I’m assuming), my sense of smell was also RIDICULOUS. Like, DO NOT MICROWAVE ANYTHING STRONG-SMELLING IN THE TEACHER’S LOUNGE! I just…didn’t eat. A lot. I flew to Vegas for my college roommate’s wedding and talked about it with the girls and there was SO MUCH HOPE in that elevator, y’all. Also, who doesn’t drink in Vegas? This girl. When she is already late.

This is what I look like when I’m up early in the morning and feeling nauseous for (literally) no reason, thought I didn’t know this at the time. If you ever get married in Vegas…pay someone to do my makeup. Clearly, I am a hot dang mess. That. Lazy. Eye. And. Huge. Zit. #classy


So, this is what our app looked like for that cycle (soon after we started tracking):

image (1)

Sept 2011 Calendar

Sidenote: I will eat ALL THE TINY CAKE, even with an aversion to meat. Chocolate cake is not meat. Chocolate cake is delicious. #classier


I was obviously not pregnant. Nor was I pregnant that February when I had another almost 40-day cycle.

Feb 2012 Chart

February 2012 calendar

Nor have I been pregnant every October/February since then when I’ve had an extra-long cycle. It’s been fun. Now, if you’re a guy reading this, you’re probably thinking, “Gross. Also, aren’t some women always crazy with the periods?” Two things: No. And, not me. I have been 100% regular for 15 years. Sure, I took birth control which contributes to regularity, but there were significant periods of time where I was not on any kind of hormone and EVERY. TIME. I was like clock work, down to the day of the week. Oh right, until this time when I’m ACTUALLY TRYING TO HAVE A CHILD?!!?!?!! Of course my cycle is now insane-in-the-membrane. Literally-hah! (Ew, too far.)

Even more frustrating, there were MANY months where we did EVERYTHING “right”. If you look at our charts, it’s not as easy to see on the calendars, and a few more charts will follow, you can see that there is a “t” made over certain dates in red lines. That means it’s the day where you most likely ovulated. The symbols on the charts for MANY of those months indicate that we DID EVERYTHING AT THE RIGHT TIME. This is when you get frustrated. On the other months? The ones with no red line? The ones with no little symbols mean we’ve been having sex on the right day? Ya know, when life gets in the way on the ONE day where you need life to leave you alone, or when you start a new workout the week before and you can’t move, let alone…ya know. or when you get sick. GOD FORBID YOU GET SICK AND YOU CANNOT DO EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED WHEN YOU NEED TO DO IT. Well, then you don’t get a baby. Exhibits E, F, G, and H:

March 2012 calendar

May 2012 calendar

June 2012 Chart

June 2012 Calendar

You may or may not know that doctors will also not help until you have been trying for at least ONE YEAR. ^That calendar marks one year! When you’re trying (unsuccessfully) to have a baby, one year might as well be one million years. Trust and believe that I knew approximately 39823897429837 pregnant people in that year, too. I am consistently the person in ANY group of friends who knows the most pregnant people. It’s weird. I draw them to me or something. That being said, 9 out of 10 times I am SO OKAY WITH IT. People who are infertile don’t hate babies. We WANT babies. Snuggling their babies may be hard, but THEY JUST SMELL SO GOOD. RIGHT?!

All this basically means is…the first year sucks. There is LITERALLY nowhere you can turn for ideas/support besides the internet. And geez, that is like searching WebMD when you have a cough and thinking you have esophageal cancer. But, we did everything. Have I ever told you all that my husband lost FIFTY POUNDS after we got married?! FIFTY POUNDS, PEOPLE.

Husband circa 2010 (right after our wedding):


Husband, circa 2011, less than 10 months after the above photo (what a fox, right?!):


This was right before we read that being active helps. It was a happy coincidence, but we were SO sure we were doing everything right! You know the worst part? We were.

Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll keep sharing. 2012-2013 was a big year in terms of progress! (No, we’re not pregnant.) You’re more than welcome to share or stop reading. We completely understand if you don’t feel right getting in our business, BUT in the case that this EVER affects anyone and we can help…we will. SO many people have misunderstood our course of treatment or what the acronyms mean that we feel obligated to share–even the weird/gross stuff. Thanks for sticking with us and, if you’re praying for us, hopefully this will continue to give you some insight to help you figure out where our heads and hearts are. 🙂 Thanks again.


Chris & Jessica

To read the next chapter of our journey, click here.

Rolling Right Along: Our New Rolling Pantry

Our kitchen has the problem that I hear SO many other people have as well: not enough storage. We have two-ish walls of cabinets/appliances. Literally. Fridge, skinny cabinet, stove, corner cabinet, sink, dishwasher, end skinny cabinet. A 3rd wall is our laundry closet and the 4th is a window nook and some floating shelves we’ve added with an antique cabinet (hallelujah, more storage) on that wall that we added in spring of 2013.

AGES ago, I was reading IHeartOrganizing and found a Reader Space by Classy Clutter. And by ages ago, I mean, at the end  of 2012. Truly. We bought these supplies on Super Bowl Sunday (like, February 2013) and finished it like, January 5, 2014. Punctual is NOT my middle name.

This is the plan, by Mallory of Classy Clutter. Her plans are very detailed eloquent and, in fact, this “blueprint”, as she calls it, is what had me at, “Hello.” I mean, it’s SO DETAILED, right?!

Can Organizer PLANvia

I’m going to start this off by saying that we altered the plans. No, that wasn’t on purpose. Yes, I’m severely type-A when it comes to a plan, but my sweet husband got tired of all of the supplies sitting in the floor and went about it in such a way to make it the “most stable” (without realizing I had pinned the plans on pinterest). **Most stable is NOT a reflection on Mallory’s original plan, but more Chris’ opinion when he didn’t realize there was a legit plan from which to work.**

Our two middle shelves are spaced further apart, a.k.a taller, than the others. That is because the middle board braces the whole thing. Spacing the shelves out equidistantly would’ve kept there from being a middle brace in the “ladder” structure of the rolling pantry. I just figured he was finishing a project I begged him to start and then dropped…so, I can’t complain. This is the best picture I have to show you that. I truly thought we took photos of this as we went along, but it’s been almost 12 months so, no surprise, I can’t find them. This picture is well past most of the first steps of her plan, but I wanted you to see what I meant about shelf spacing.

rolling pantry frame

We also built the frame and then put the beadboard on the back…then inserted shelves. This was for a few reasons. #1- We jacked it up the first time and the wood sat outside for so long (note: do projects WHEN YOU BUY THE SUPPLIES) that the wood warped and we had to buy new shelves. #2- We decided to put the shelves in using our Kreg Jig instead of screwing them in from the outside, like the plans instructed. (Dear Kreg Jig, We love you. Love, GG&G) The 4 outside boards were still attached with screws coming from the outside of the structure since we had done them first. In fact, when we started building this, we may not have even figured out the Kreg Jig. This is what happens when you complete projects ELEVEN MONTHS after you start them!

So, basically, we built the whole thing once, took all of the shelves out, built it all again (with the Kreg Jig) and THEN filled, sanded, painted, sanded, painted, sanded, painted, drilled for dowels, painted dowels, added wheels, and added a handle! Seriously, read Mallory’s blog for better plans. I couldn’t even pretend like I was as well thought-out as she. I was just really psyched to clean out a cabinet and dump it all in to this guy!

I do have to brag on my sweet husband. He found a box from…something(?) that had one of those unnecessary cardboard flaps on the top. You know, the ones where you open the top and then you have a flap that opens to the left, one that opens to the right, and THEN you get to see the product? Well, this one had holes in it and we may NEVER RECYCLE IT. It is perfect for drying painted dowels!

drying dowels

True life: All I did was inspect, take photos, and add the handle. I was darn proud of that handle, by the way. It was my first time using my birthday present (our new Ryobi one+ drill) and it is THE BEST, let me just say. Here he is, all decked out with his spices and bottles!


Did you SEE that handle?! That is some quality craftsmanship! 🙂

We currently have him to the right of the refrigerator, but are in serious talks to move him to the left…we just have to move the fridge. As of right now, here’s how he looks when pulled all the way out from the cabinets. It fits SO well between our fridge and cabinets. Yeah, it leans a little, but we can usually line it up pretty nicely and Chris can reach a lot of things (spices and olive oil) that he needs while he’s cooking. We even have room to grow into it AND we have cabinets to rearrange! I know that the little guy isn’t built perfectly and we didn’t fill every nook and cranny with wood filler, but for this house at this time, he’s perfect. Hopefully we’ll have a kitchen with amazing storage or at least a more customizable layout. Also, maybe one day I’ll clean up the splashes of spaghetti sauce before I take photos. Nah, probably not. And that spaghetti was DELICIOUS. 🙂


Aaaaaand, here it is pushed in by the refrigerator. If you’re thinking, “OH MY GOSH HER FRIDGE IS SO CLUTTERED?!?!!?!??!!” You would be right. That’s the next order of business once I snapped these photos. Well, that and painting over the yellow, cleaning and repainting the cabinets, and tiling a backsplash. So, not really “next”, per se.


In summary, I love the Kreg Jig. I love the Ryobi one+ drill. Follow Mallory’s plans at Classy Clutter for legit directions and to see her SUPER cute chevron background. We didn’t paint a pattern/design on ours because we’re re-doing the kitchen decor/scheme/painting this year (eeeeek!!!!!) and I wasn’t sure what would go with it. I may punish myself and go back and do a stencil or something later. I’ll keep you posted.

Is this adulthood?! Being excited about moving fridges, tiling a backsplash, rearranging cabinets, and clearing off counters?! Ugh, I’m lame.

What have YOU done for secret storage? Please share tips because our kitchen is still teeny-tiny and we need all the help we can get! 🙂

P. S. Mallory from Classy Clutter? You’re my hero. Thanks for giving me so much inspiration! 🙂

Our Battle With Infertility: Back to the Beginning

Hey, friends! I realize that I haven’t posted since…August? There may not be any of you out there anymore. If that is the case, I deserve it. Luckily (?), today’s post is as much for me as it is for you.

Chris and I (and typically, our budget) love DIY projects and making our house a home a little bit at a time. Don’t worry, if you are friends or family of ours who haven’t gotten to visit lately, we have more projects in the works than we did for ALL of 2013. Some of them will be posted very soon and we hope you will feel the virtual welcome we extend for you to come on in and make yourselves at home.

I, however, have always been an open book…except about this one big thing. Besides Jesus and Chris, this one big thing is the most important thing to me (us) and I’ve finally just gotten tired of keeping quiet about it. So, Chris and I have finally decided to break our silence and address the elephant that is literally living in the room with us at. all. times.

Backstory: I was married before. Chris was engaged and a month out of a wedding, also. We were both young and, of course, had a “5-year plan” with our previous significant others. In my plan, I got married in 2008 and we were going to start trying for babies in 2009. I have literally wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember. When I was born, my mom wanted to include “Danielle” or “Heather” in my name (hello 80s!) but my dad wasn’t feeling it. When I found that out, I hypothesized (at like, age 8, mind you) that I would have boy/girl twins with the names Heather Danielle and Daniel Harrison. Those poor children, haha. As time went on, my future-family-fantasy grew to include another boy and another girl. I wanted 4 kids. I grew up in a house by myself (sibling-wise). I really wanted a big family and I didn’t want an odd number, partly because I’m OCD and partly because I didn’t want anyone suffering from middle-child syndrome. I became a teacher. I practically adopted some of my students. I became personal friends with families. I got divorced. My 5-year plan came CRASHING down, to say the least. Lowest of my lows, by far.

Then, I decided I didn’t want kids. I didn’t want a husband. My divorce was God’s way of telling me that I was a terrible wife and that I shouldn’t make plans and that all of my plans were crap. It was a dark day. Then, Chris and I hung out. It was a very different feeling from before. He had moved to a different city and we didn’t see each other or talk very frequently. Then, all of a sudden, he came back to visit and everything was…weird. I talked to him about my feelings of failure (I mean, he’s a minister, that’s his job, right?) and he talked to me about how he had felt that way after the deterioration of his engagement. His relationship had been 7 years long and they had grown up together and planned to grow old together. I met him for the first time a little over a year after the end of his relationship and his pain was still evident back then. We continued to talk and realized we had feelings and that maybe, just maybe, God really did want us to be someone’s spouse, maybe even each other’s. Thanks, God. We decided that making all of those plans hadn’t helped us before so we would try to just be married for a little while. Chris was working part-time at a church over an hour away and trying to have kids just seemed like too much…but God had brought us this far in relationships and after being friends for 6 years…so we had PLENTY of time for a family.

Engagement Photo

This is from our engagement shoot by the lovely Rachel May Photography. *Finally* we found where we belong. 🙂

In June of 2011 I caught wind of a rumor that my friend from work was pregnant. She wasn’t making a “big announcement”, but was OK with it being public knowledge so, I went and asked her if it was true. Then, I cried. (She is a really great mom.) I left work that day and I KEPT CRYING. If you know me personally, at all, you know this is strange. 1) I hate to cry. 2) It was a Wednesday and we had church, but I could not get it together. I believe I actually went to eat dinner at church and then went home and cried some more. Honestly, I had NO idea why I was crying. I prayed and cried and prayed and cried and realized that this friend of mine wasn’t planning on being pregnant, but she was. It made me realize that I REALLY wanted kids and I didn’t want to wait. I wasn’t mad at her. In fact, I went and bought that baby some onesies right that second because I knew she would be the most precious little baby ever. She is gorgeous, by the way. But it made me realize that I have this amazing husband and we know we eventually want a family so why would we NOT want whatever God was trying to bring us, even if it was soon and scary and our finances weren’t 100% stable. I think that some part of me had a tiny intuition that we might not get pregnant right away (probably best described as paranoia) so, maybe we should start sooner so we have time to iron out any wrinkles, right? Weird analogy, but accurate for how I felt at the time.

Chris came home from church that night and we talked about it extensively. I cried some more because I was just so caught off guard at my jealousy that someone was accidentally pregnant and I wasn’t. I mean, duh, of course I wasn’t. I was trying NOT to be pregnant and doing a darn good job of preventing it! Even in my first marriage, I was working NOT to get pregnant the whole time because we HAD. A. PLAN! Well, Chris and I realized that kids were what we wanted, even if it was sooner than we had originally thought we would. I mean, he’s a youth minister and I’m an elementary school teacher. It’s not exactly a secret that we love kids. I knew he would be a fabulous father and I could not WAIT to see him in that role. We decided that since I was supposed to start new birth control in the middle of June (during the last week of school) it would be perfect timing to discontinue the b.c. and start trying that next month. We were totally aware that it takes time for hormones to work out of the system, but we knew there was an app for that (haha- seriously!) so I started taking my temperature and monitoring all of my fluids (gross, but true) and we started to try to figure out WHEN we could possibly get pregnant. It was SO exciting for us! We couldn’t believe that God had overwhelmed me with that crazy jealousy and made me realize how badly I wanted a baby. [Sidenote: The jealousy did NOT negatively affect my friendship. I love my mom-friend, even more now, and her baby girl is so. freaking. precious. I love knowing their family and she is 100% supportive of me/us. She actually felt sad when I told her- just this fall- that I cried the day I found out she was pregnant because it made me realize I wanted babies, too. She’s awesome.]

So, we embarked on our little journey of trying to go from a family of 2 to a family of 3. As you may well have realized by now, that was 31 months ago, but who’s counting? We are. We didn’t know it at the time, but June of 2011 began our journey battle with infertility.

Us- Photobooth-September 2011

This is us in the fall of 2011, not too long after we started trying. I mean, who wouldn’t want these folks as parents, am I right?!

You may not understand why I started writing about this. If that’s the case, you surely won’t understand why I write the posts to come. During this whole journey, until relatively recently, we have felt VERY alone in this. It’s not the fault of any of our family or friends. Infertility comes with a LOT of shame. We decided to start writing about it because I truly believe that someone out there is googling this and there just aren’t a lot of resources that make you feel much better. I’m hoping that this sheds some light, answers some questions, or just lets someone out there know they’re not alone. There will be more to come, some with personal details. All we ask is that, if you comment, you comment politely. If you’re related to us or consider us close friends and you don’t know MANY of the details of our journey, don’t feel hurt or offended, please. For one thing, we can’t really juggle anyone else’s feelings. For two, it is NOT personal. It is hard for us. It is scary. Sometimes, it’s too much to verbalize. Writing it down, I hope, will help us AND someone else.

To those of you who do know and have been supporting us, thanks. If you’ve been praying for us, thanks for that, too. Keep ’em coming! 🙂 I promise we will be back with house updates soon, but, we will also be filling you in on our story of the last 31 months. AND last, but not least, if you or someone you know is battling with infertility, there are great blogs that make you feel less alone. One fabulous blog friend I’ve gotten to know is Bethany from Sawdust & Embryos. Her story keeps that light glowing at the end of the tunnel. 🙂

To read about the first year of our battle, click here.

To read about year 2, click here.

“I see a white door and I want it painted black.”- Painting Our Interior Doors Black!

I hope normal people understand the Rolling Stones reference in the title of this post. My husband started singing this song as soon as I went to start this project, looked at me from the bottom of the stairs and said, “Blog post title!” When he comes up with the title, I’m so proud that it sticks. #bloggerhusbandpoints

OK. So, this was a terrifying project. This was one of those love-it-or-hate-it projects. I have seen some REALLY beautiful doors on pinterest (where you should follow me!) and the backsides were…painted black. The first glimpse I saw of this was from the lovely Carmel at Our Fifth House. She painted both her sliders AND the back of her front door black. You can see that in the photos below. Sidenote: Carmel, if I didn’t source these properly, feel free to give me a virtual stink eye and/or to write me and tell me how you want it fixed. 🙂

black sliding doors

See how she did it here!

I mean, WHAT?! Those are gorgeous…but it didn’t quite sell me (because our sliders are ugly and not super paint-able) until she did her front door, too.


Find out more about her beautiful front door here!

I mean, the DRAMA! I’ll be honest. I didn’t then spend hours pinning different black doors all over the place. I was preeeeetty sold and I told Chris. He wasn’t so sold. Don’t get me wrong, he thought Carmel‘s house looked AMAZING, but he wasn’t sure *our* house could pull it off. Let’s just say our house isn’t as… lovely, distinguished, open, gorgeous, light as hers.

Obviously, I did what any wife would do. I harped on it. Every time we talked about painting something I said, “…and of course that door will be black on one side…” until he finally relented. in fact, when I met Carmel at Haven, I said, “Thank you for having the black doors that helped me convince my husband we could handle it.” I know what you’re thinking, “How does any self-respecting blogger NOT love meeting you, Jessica?!” I truly don’t know.

Well, we got REALLY fired up when Ace Hardware gave away free quarts of paint. We just thought, “Hooray! We can do this for free!” On top of that, a parent from my school (whose kids I love-love-love) called me and said, “I know you do things at your house and there’s free paint. We’ll redeem our coupons for you, too.” WHAT?! I was now looking at a possible FOUR QUARTS- THAT’S ONE GALLON, PEOPLE?!- of free paint!

Too bad they average 40 quarts per store (read the fine print, people!) and I don’t wake up until 11 a.m. on summer Saturdays. They were all out when I got there.

However, my darling husband, in the interests of actually having me complete a project this summer keeping me sane said, “Let’s just go to Home Depot and get a quart of the paint anyway.”

DO YOU HEAR THOSE ANGELS SINGING?! This man bought me PAINT?! True love.

We went to Home Depot and picked out Onyx by Glidden in a semi-gloss finish. I love a good semi-gloss in places semi-gloss isn’t supposed to go. It’s like where the sun don’t shine, only…where the ceiling/doors/trim DO shine. It’s just so…shiny! I love it. A lot. I decided to paint the upstairs doors first. In our little tiny hallway/alcove there are five doors. FIVE. It’s probably less than 30 square feet and FIVE DOORS. To date, I’ve finished three. Don’t judge.

First up, our guest room door. Please don’t judge the spackle on the wall in the crack from where our house settled, the boxes on the floor because this room is stacked 3 feet high with stuff to…deal with, or the random assortment of junk in my hallway. A lot of that is gone now, except for the spackle and the stuff in the room. But! Look at that LOVELY door!


Next up, the linen closet door (the one on the left in the above photo) which is maybe the dirtiest door ever. Why? I have no idea. Three grown adults live here and only two of us ever come upstairs. Why was my door SO DIRTY?!


Lastly, but possibly my favorite, our bedroom door:

Sorry I had to turn the light on for this picture to look even…tolerable. Also sorry for the piece of ceiling HANGING DOWN from the corner. Yes, we fixed it once. Yes, it leaked again. Yes, the leak is fixed FOR REAL now.


So, first I sanded our doors (I forgot to take a photo because, well, I don’t have but so many hands-in fact, just 2), wiped them down (the dust was unbearable, wish I could blame the sanding process instead of my housekeeping skills), and then got to painting. I realize that I probably should’ve used primer and deglosser, but I realized that after there was already a coat on the doors. That being said, I painted more doors downstairs (to come later) and the paint adhered VERY well because they were more recently painted. These doors took three solid coats, but they really do look fantastic…just you wait!

I try to follow an order when I paint doors like this (which has happened a lot in this house):

1. Around the panes and the doorknob with a short-handled, angled brush. I call it my Sherry brush. It is nerdy. I am aware.

2. With a cabinets/doors roller, I paint all of the horizontal sections of the door.

3. I paint all of the vertical sections, including the panes.

Now, a good blogger would’ve showed you a picture of the splotchy, oh-my-gosh-this-will-take-forever first and second coats.

I don’t claim to be a good blogger. I will however, show you the scariest step of all. The first one.

On night one of this project, I was sitting in our floor painting around our door panes when I said, “Honey? Does this black make it look like a crazy serial killer house?”

“No…not a serial killer…maybe Tim Burton.” Cute. Just the look I was going for. Here are the photos of the doors on the Nightmare Before Christmas.

guest-room-door-panes-black linen-closet-panes-black bedroom-door-panes-black

You’ll note that those photos are complete with bad lighting and no focus…just to creep you out a little further. You’ll also notice that I went rogue and didn’t tape off the bedroom doorknob. Watch out! I have a paint brush and I’m on the loose!

Here are the finished doors. I love how the white trim looks so crisp next to the shiny black doors. Did I mention I LOVE semi-gloss paint?!


#hothusbandphotobomb Do you see how baggy his undershirt is? This man has lost a LOT of weight. I am so proud. 🙂


I’m not gonna lie, this was super simple and even though this was a love-it-or-hate-it project, I’m glad to say I don’t just love it. I L-O-V-E-lay-in-bed-and-gaze-at-my-doors-LOVE it. And my husband thinks it’s awesome, too. Now we just have to figure out what to do about all of this mismatched hardware. Brass on the linen closet, brushed nickel on the bedrooms- what?! Ugh.

Coming soon… Back In Black: The Door Painting Saga Continues with our remaining 5 unpainted doors! 🙂

Would YOU paint your doors black? What about navy? Laura from The Turquoise Home just used a stunning navy on the back of her front door. Check it out! 🙂

The Longest (& Worst) Project We’ve Ever Taken On…

**Warning:  This is wordy and I didn’t believe in focusing photos, apparently. I also didn’t own a tripod…and it was Christmas. So, be ready for Christmas in August! Woo!**

OK…so, we’ve admittedly never taken on a big whole-room reno. It’s not something we’ve ever been in the position to do (financially or otherwise). We actually live in a rented house, but not in the typical “renter” sense. When I was in college, my parents bought a house for my roommates and me to live in knowing I had 3 years left in school. My junior year, I moved out with my two lovely friends, Katie and Meredith, and we lived together for our last two years of undergrad. Then, my friend Greta moved in during my Master’s and my friend, Lauren moved in during my first year of teaching. At the end of that year, I was married to my first husband, then lived here alone, and finally, with Chris (and Jess for two summers…and Michael) for almost 3 years now!

My mom still owns the house, but we pay the mortgage and take care of most home-related things as best we can. She lives 2 hours away, so we’re usually in touch with professionals (like when our AC broke- worst summer ever) and try to do cosmetic things ourselves. **Funny story, when I first drafted this I had no idea our AC was going to be undercharged and not work AGAIN this summer!** Last summer, we decided to embark on the biggest DIY project to date. Luckily, at the end we still liked each other and like our house WAY more.

Mom paid for us to get all. new. floors. There may have been some squealing/dancing/merriment that ensued (not just from me). We went to Lumber Liquidators where the manager, Mike, was super helpful. He answered our questions, measured our square footage, estimated padding, and took Mom’s credit card # over the phone. He even taught me how to tell a credit card type from the first digit of the card number. I’m a nerd.

Now, before I give you a million details, please note that our floors don’t get a *ton* of traffic. Three adults and two cats live here, we mainly use one room (the living room), and we don’t plan on being in this house forever. We ordered a very thin laminate floor because we are…frugal…and we don’t regret it. (Our flooring was called Black Forest Oak, but I can no longer find it on the website! Sorry!)  However, this floor was slightly frustrating to install because it was SO thin that it didn’t “click” like they said it should. Also, it does chip super easily when you’re installing it. Now that it’s in, we’re not noticing any problems, but it was touch and go in a few places and I may or may not have used clear nail polish to make sure one corner stayed down. We weren’t sure if we would have enough flooring to use brand new pieces if we noticed defects so we tried to make do as best we could. **Update: we have TONS of this flooring left over, so overestimating is good…even though we still have extra boxes of flooring.**

Dear future buyers of this house, please don’t crawl around to inspect our floors. Please just buy this house as we’ve put very much love into it. K, thanks. Love, us.

OK, we started in Michael’s room because…he has the least amount of stuff in this house and it meant we had to finish it asap. Poor boy’s stuff was out on the back porch. We had torn out the carpet in Michael’s room before he ever moved in last June because…it had some cat pee on it and it was grossing me out. Michael lived on concrete floors for about two months before we started this little endeavor. I don’t have many pictures of this room because most of them are awful since we worked VERY late into the night with one tiny lamp. There are definitely spots where I would redo this room if we could/wanted to, but it wasn’t bad for our first room.

Some things that may be different from other floor-laying blogposts: we did NOT pull up baseboards. When we tore out carpets, there was TONS of space under the baseboards so we just floated the floor with some underlay in between the concrete and the flooring itself. This does use TONS of spacers. I mean, tons. It was crazy town how many spacers we were rotating around to do the whole room. **Tip: run your underlay opposite of your floor planks.**

This is maybe the best picture I got (during the entire 5 month process) that describe the color of our flooring. Yes, it took us 6 months. We couldn’t start until the end of July (by the time the floors came in and they acclimated) and then we went on 2 weeks of vacations and I started back to work the following week.


Needless to say, I basically refused to live with no furniture for the first part of the school year. My saintly husband did many, many rooms by himself while I was at work. He’s a keeper.

**Helpful hint…don’t box yourself in with a 300 lb. piano.** Another helpful tip, never try to move said piano by yourself if you are a small girl.**

I did that once about 4 years ago and couldn’t walk for a few days. Whatever, I was still proud. I kept this awful photo just because it’s so funny that we shut ourselves into this room. You’ll note that the piano’s keyboard tray made a great dispenser of flooring.


Aaaaaand, Michael’s room: check!


Nothing you can say will make me hate that wall color, as badly as I do want to repaint his room. It’s called Marmalade by Behr. And I love it. L-O-V-E-LOVE it.

We figured the next best place to do was our office/guest room because it’s a room we don’t need. This, however, meant that we had to start doing the upstairs and just keep on truckin’. Our entire upstairs has attached floors and we felt like putting transitions in every doorway would make the upstairs too broken up. Also, pulling carpet out of plywood=110x easier than out of concrete.

I don’t have a ton of photos of this process because it was pretty self-explanatory:

1. Pull up carpet/padding.

2. Pull up tack strip (the WORST).

3. Sweep everything up and clear the floor.

4. Start laying underlay in the opposite direction of planks and tape each strip together.

5. Start laying plans with spacers of about 1/4″ next to baseboards (check for level in case you have to shave a bit off).

6. Space them out so all of the joints aren’t RIGHT next to each other and get to layin’ floors!

7. Start cutting quarter round to your desired lengths, tack in with tiny nails, drive in enough to cover, go around every. thing.

8. Pass out on your floor. Amen.

So here is the guest room pre-floor:

guest-room-plywood guest-room-closet-subfloor

Then we did into our hallway and my sweet husband did my ENTIRE BEDROOM by himself while I was at work. What. A. Man.

So, we moved to downstairs: kitchen first, then living room (woof).

The kitchen/living room have the most photos because I was on Christmas break. Woo hoo! That was almost 8 months ago! *Worst Blogger Ever Award- Congrats to me!*

Again, Chris tore out all of the previous wood-looking laminate before while I was at work- no photos. However, you might wonder why we took thick laminate out instead of matching the rest of the house. Well, two reasons, one transition wasn’t properly installed and it would come up if you looked at it the wrong way. For two, it was improperly installed and had some water damage/bubbles in it. So yeah, later cherry-looking laminate!

Under that was…this:


No, for real. What HAPPENED on those floors?! Gross. Tape remnants were everywhere, GIANT yellow spots (as you can see). What. The. Heck. So yeah, we weren’t sad to tear that up as well. We considered floating over it, but planned to do the new laminate in the living room as well and didn’t want to risk anything being “off” in terms of leveling.

Next step: Enlisting a teenager, a heat gun, a small spade, and a utility knife to tear up linoleum.


Once all of the linoleum was up, we got back to work just like the other rooms. You might notice that we ran our floors completely under our appliances. We researched a million different ways (the previous floors only went partly under the appliances), but this floor moves easily so we wanted all surfaces to be secured. Not everyone will want that, but we made sure our appliances evenly distributed their weight and so far, so good! 🙂

kitchen-underlaykitchen-stairs-flooringThis is where our floors “meet” so to speak. We weren’t ready to go whole hog in the living room without doing quarter round in the kitchen. This also shows a pretty good representation of the floor’s color. I love it. It’s a sickness.

Then we installed quarter round (just like upstairs) and- tada!- a completed kitchen! 🙂

**Please don’t mind that the quarter round isn’t caulked to the baseboards and none of it has been repainted. We’re very good at not biting off more than we can chew at any one time and almost all rooms are being repainted anyway.**

quarter-round-kitchen quarter-round-fridge kitchen-flooring-table-wall kitchen-flooring-refrigerator-wall

See how messy the counter tops are? This is improvement. During the kitchen-floor-process, the living room looked like this:

living-room-floor-mess refrigerator-living-room-mess

This is keeping it real to the max. Our house was a flipping disaster. Thank goodness we could both stay home and work on it all day.

So, we FINALLY started the living room. For some perspective, our living room is about 12 feet wide at its widest point, but about 24 feet front to back. This room is ridiculous to style, decorate, orient, everything. Painting it the first time (the walls SUCKED in paint) took almost a week and a half because of the coats on the ceiling, walls, chair rail, crown molding, and baseboards. It was in.sane.

I’ll let these photos do the talking. Keep an eye out for our “sketchy surprise” from under the carpet, our “helper”, and the migration of our Christmas tree. I refused to take it down so we just moved it around. A lot.








Is it just me or does anyone else LOVE how Christmas lights reflect on a hard floor as opposed to carpet? I sat and stared for a while. It’s the little things, right? No? Maybe that’s just me, then. OK.


Then, the BEST thing ever happened. Well, not *THEN* because it really happened on Black Friday…but RugsUSA had a HUGE sale. We got a rug that is normally $800 for about $200 bucks. I may have screamed/cried/squealed and even figured out my Christmas present when looking at the bank account to see if we could afford the rug. Sorry again, honey. But, it was worth it. We LOVE our rug. It is the Moroccan Trellis in Navy, though it doesn’t read quite as navy here as it does in real life. So, come over. We’ll put up a Christmas tree, lay on our cushy rug, and stare at the pretty Christmas light reflection in the floor. 🙂


Our TV has been taken down since then and no longer hangs over the fireplace, we have new arm chairs that caused a whole rearrange of the living room, hung floating shelves over the buffet, and we moved the piano in (it sits where the tree is in the last photo) as you saw in my last post…so…there are clearly more posts to be had on this ever-changing living room. Seriously though, come over any time just don’t be shocked that our house is a disaster zone. In the meantime, anyone done any laminate flooring? We HATED it while we were in the midst, but any time we even think of talking about moving, we get so sad about leaving our floors. Stupid, but true! We love them and would do them ALL over again (and likely be much better at it the next time)!

Thanks for bearing with me through all of the pictures and ALL of the words! What was YOUR worst house project?! 🙂

Engagement-aversary: The day I screwed up all of my husband’s plans

OK so, after posting this morning about the gallery wall, I wasn’t going to post this. Then, I wrote a status about how I hi-jacked his proposal and people (including my sister- how have I not told this story to my whole family?!) asked for the story…and THEN, the episode of Friends was on where Phoebe and Mike get engaged and she botches it, like THREE TIMES. It was a sign from God, I think…so here it is. Our WHOLE story is really long and would take 1405938 posts (OK, I make up numbers like Claire from Modern Family…but still). Has anyone seen that one? I couldn’t get a link that worked…but Claire makes up numbers to confuse Cam, like…”Eleventy-four”. Oh man, it makes me laugh. Sorry if I’m the only one laughing.

Three years ago, August 8, 2010, my husband and I got engaged. He tried to propose in like, 3 different places. I screwed them all up. Welcome to our life. He’s romantic, I screw it up. We laugh about it later, much later in this case.

Chris and I had talked about engagement, but we’d only been together for about 7 months…so I didn’t really know what we were going to do. I also really wanted a fall wedding if/when I got married again…and it was already August. So it was like “dribble or shoot” time if we even hoped to get married that fall. We had like, weeks. We had talked a LOT about the fact that we had both been engaged before and, in his case, he proposed on a freezing cold, wet, January night and I was at the beach for my first proposal, but there was no get-on-one-knee-pop-the-question, it was written on a piece of paper. Both were very thoughtful, but neither was ideal. We were SURE *our* proposal would be idyllic. Hah. Hahahahahahaha. So dumb we were.

Chris actually met with my parents to talk about proposing and they planned to meet at a Panera in Richmond (where he lived). Funny thing, both he AND MY MOM called me and asked me for directions to Panera. What?! Seriously, guys, get it together! My stepdad thought it was really funny when I called them both out on it later.

So, at the time, Chris worked in Richmond so I would go to church with him every Sunday and we would drive back on Sunday afternoons to squeeze in a little more hanging out time before I started my work week. This particular Sunday, we drove back and went to Moe’s to eat with our friend/former roommate, Jess and her awesome sister, Steph. After Moe’s, Chris asked if I wanted to go to a new ice cream place that we’d seen all summer and thought about visiting. Unfortunately, sometimes Moe’s jacks up my stomach (and Jess is lactose-intolerant) so I was like, “No, let’s not get ice cream. Let’s come back out later and go take a Sunday NAP!” [Botch #1]

We took a nap (it was AWESOME) and then Chris asked if I wanted to go to one of our favorite places in Newport News, the Mariner’s Museum Park & Lion’s Bridge. [He actually wanted to go to “our place” at the Newport News Park and realized we didn’t have time because I overslept.- Botch #2] Lion’s Bridge has an AWESOME sunset and we used to go on walks there. We were all ready to leave when the phone rang. It was my best friend in Seattle, Chau (pronounced Cho). Well, we talked for…hours. Literally, probably 2 hours. By that time, sundown had occurred. Chris started acting squirrelly. [Botch #3]

Finally, we were sitting on the couch watching TV around 8? or 9? and he was being really awkward and I got super annoyed. He jumped up off the couch, walked into the kitchen, and got some water. I was *super* annoyed. Like, what on EARTH was he doing being SO weird?! He walked in and he got REALLY serious. Anyone who has met Chris knows that he doesn’t really *get* serious. He sat down next to me, muted (or turned off?) the TV, turned to me, and went off on a whole shpiel (shpeal? shpeel?) about how much he loved me. I don’t handle compliments well, so I got really awkward. REALLY awkward. He opened his hand, said some more mushy stuff about how much he loves me and wants to spend the rest of his life with me, and then asked me to marry him! It was precious, but I *REALLY* screwed it up. I mean, two proposals and never a knee?! Sheesh. I did botch our proposal EVEN further though. We had joked since I forced him to watch we watched Love, Actually about how I would answer like Aurelia, the Portuguese girl who learns English for Colin Firth (would someone NOT learn English for Colin Firth?!) who says, “Yes is being my answer”. Isn’t that the cutest?

Well, I got flustered listening to his compliments, realized that he was actually trying to propose 3 (THREE?!) different times that day, felt like an arse (to quote the British- get at me, Colin Firth?!), and hugged him. I backed up, went to pick up the ring he held in his palm, and he said, “Uhhh, you didn’t actually answer me…” WHAT?! Sheesh. I’m the WORST.

Knees, pretty locations, “planned” answers…all of those were great in our planning stage…but we have a pretty funny story and it REALLY suits our (way too long for today) story of mishaps that eventually led us together. Thank God this man has the patience of a saint and he stuck with me through an awful day. I might’ve been superstitious, thought it was a sign, and panicked. Thank God for him. Three years later, I’ve never regretted a single day, only wished for more. I love you, baby! 🙂

Engagement PhotoProbably my favorite engagement photo, courtesy of the lovely Rachel May. Can you believe my sweet husband has lost like, 40-50 lbs since these photos?!


aaaaand, last but not least…

Engagement Records

Thanks for reading our story! 🙂

stuff from my grandparents’ garage & wedding photos: finally making our gallery wall

So, most of my readers know me in real life and know that I have a tendency to “collect” things, a.k.a. hoard junk until it’s coming out of my ears. It just so happens that this has started working to my benefit. My grandparents are the original generation of DIY-ers. I’ve probably mentioned them before, maybe back when I was collecting items for my ladder or my floating shelves? I’m not sure. Either way, most of the things I have to display, like my insulators and jars, come from trips with Memaw and Pa or trips TO Memaw and Pa’s. Memaw and Pa comb Pennsylvania with us every spring looking through antique shops and shows. They have repainted all of the rooms in their house multiple times, including layers of wall paper, and they do all of their own (beautiful) landscaping. If my external hard drive hadn’t eaten all of my old pictures (I still can’t talk about it without getting emotional), I would show you how beautiful their house is. It is truly my favorite place in the whole wide world. Anyway, due to my subscription to Country Living and the magazine Flea Market Style, I’ve been getting a LOT of ideas. My grandfather listens intently when we look through magazines (although he sometimes acts like he doesn’t hear me when I make requests) and usually when I go back to their house, he’s found some old tool I “might want” for a project.

A while back, I don’t know how long, he sent me home with the head of a pitchfork, an old mirror, and some shears. I had no idea what I would use them for, but KNEW that I would use them. Months passed…as per usual. My “collecting” also coincided with us getting a roommate. Our friend moved into our downstairs bedroom, which only *really* housed junk and our piano. We made him live with the piano for too many months to mention (sorry, Michael) and FINALLY moved it out this spring! I wanted it to be a feature in the living room…and I also wanted to be able to play it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty sure Michael would LOVE to wake up to me sitting on a piano bench in his room. That’s not creepy. At. All. So, we moved the piano out and I had a randomly hanging picture on the wall from a previous furniture arrangement. Are you ready to see how ridiculous this looks?!

before-over piano

So sorry that this makes my living room look like the darkest pits of you-know-where. Also, you can see my not-so-secret stash of CRAP that we “hide” behind the couch, making it clearly visible to anyone who steps foot in our door. I go back to work in less than 2 weeks, I should maybe get on that.

But you get the idea, the picture placement was NOT going to work anymore. So, one night, while watching The Facts of Life on TheHub at about midnight, I decided to pull down all of the things I thought would add to a gallery wall and start laying them on the carpet. This post is super short on photos (you’re welcome, obviously my photog skills are inCREDible), but it was really dark, really late, and I was working by myself until the installation.

The pile of junk in my floor included: the pitchfork, the shears, mirror, our wedding-photo-“guest book” frame, the hand-holding engagement photo, a new hanging light for free from the youth room at church (nobody wanted it, we asked), and one of our post-wedding photos from upstairs that we took down when our ceiling had a leak. So, after getting a few copies of the photos (almost 3 years ago) and buying a few frames (also almost 3 years ago), we basically spent nothing on this project. My favorite kind. Cheap.

We took everything off the walls, leaving us with this (I promise our walls aren’t gray/yellow/green, we just truly have zero. light. and I couldn’t wait for daylight):


(Seriously, the more I look at the awful white balance and how crap-tacular this picture is, the more I want to throw up. The cat on the couch is its saving grace.)

I moved things around in the floor (over and over and over again) until I had an arrangement that I liked and then…I just started hanging things. I’m not good at rhyme or reason. I don’t do well mapping it all out with perfect 2″ intervals between frames. I do really well with throwing it on a wall and moving it (to hide the previous nail hole).

So, here’s where we are today (well, at night time)…


And this is daytime…not much better, but at least you can tell our walls are gray…ish. Also, why the heck is there a can of WD-40 on my piano bench? And why is it STILL THERE?! These photos were probably taken in like, April. I just can’t seem to clear out my giant junk pile long enough to take better photos. That’ll happen next-to-never when I do a house tour. I’m all for keeping it real, but sometimes I’m a little too “real” for you all to have to handle.


I love having tools from my grandfather’s garage displayed. I love that we FINALLY have some wedding photos up (but we have a canvas I can’t wait to hang!) and I love that it happened after midnight on a Saturday. That’s like the witching hour for me. I get all crazy and start doing projects. Chris LOVES it. Also, he figured out how to hang 99.9% of this stuff and just drove nails where I asked, so he is a rockstar, even at 1 a.m.

p.s, Ikea, why are are ALL of your mattes NOT AT ALL WHITE, even in WHITE FRAMES?! top photo doesn’t look as pee-yellow in person, but it sure does make me crazy in the head here. Crazy in the head isn’t a far cry from my “normal”, but still. 😉