Cecelia at 17 months

This is the first monthly birthday that came and went without me even noticing. I mean, I know seventeen months is a hugely important milestone and all and I do apologize for completely forgetting about it until two days later. (Sarcasm. Why did I do monthly posts until age two with Truman? I'm determined to do it for CC, too, but this is a lot. Note for future self.).

I supposed we 'celebrated' Cecelia's seventeen month birthday in Colorado, which should make up for the fact that we actually totally forgot about it.


But I shall write a post two days late and will keep it short and sweet since I haven't thought much about how to describe the changes in my girl this month. Except that she is awesome. She's so big and yet so little, still. She is absolutely hilarious and has more personality than I could accurately describe in a (forgotten) post. Also, she is beautiful and makes us so proud already. We love the hell out of her in case that wasn't apparent, and we pretty much think she is the best little daughter we could have imagined.


She is a bit of a stinker, though, and can be a total bruiser who is bound and determined to be our first trip to the ER. Cecelia frequently carries chairs that are as tall as her from room to room until she decides the destination is acceptable. She can pick up the giant garbage truck toy we have like it's nothing and only sometimes drops it directly on her foot. Our little body builder has been known to lift pumpkins bigger than her torso and could probably dead lift Truman if she was angry enough.


And yet, she is only about 23 pounds, soaking wet (I think). Still long and lean but with a classic toddler belly that makes us all grin....because it's something she loves to show people randomly. Love that belly so much. She is wearing all 18-24 month clothes and a lot of the pants are still too short, but 2Ts are way too wide at this point. I have a feeling she is going to have the length versus width problem for many years to come. Welcome to my world, little girl!



Proud/biased mommy alert: Cecelia is brilliant. Well, as brilliant as a seventeen monther can be. I only say that because she is verbalizing so much more than Truman did at this age and can almost always communicate with us using words in a way we can understand. Now, obviously, all kids are different and girls are said to be a lot more verbal than boys, but she just seems very smart to me. She never used sign language like her brother did (probably because we never took the time to teach her) but she has so many words I cannot even keep track anymore. She 'gets' things we are talking about which is not always a good thing, especially when I talk about picking up the kitchen and she demands to play in the water at the sink. Watch out if you deny her that request.


She can correctly identify all kinds of objects in books (apple, shoes, train, ball, and water are her faves) and in the real world, but my favorite is calling all jack-o-lanterns 'mama'. Hmmmm. She will also point to the fireplace and say 'dada' and laugh, but that's because she saw him painting the fireplace doors and now wants to tell us that 'daddy did that and he is so silly.' She also attempted to say her full name instead of just calling herself 'CC' and let me tell you, hearing her say 'seeel-ya' is the cutest thing ever. Almost as cute as her calling for 'Tru Truuuuuuuuu' whenever she can't find him.




Since she stopped nursing in the past month, we are getting into a nice bedtime routine now that does not include nursing to sleep. We will brush teeth, read two books with her pacifier, then she will basically request to go 'nigh-nigh' and refuses to let me sing to her. That was my grand idea for some cuddle time but she doesn't care for my pitch, I suppose. She will still cuddle with me after naps or if she is pretty tired and in general she can be pretty clingy. I would take cuddles over clings but oh well. Having to peel her off my legs while I cook dinner or get ready for work is getting a little old but it has been a little better in the past few weeks. I also like to blame 'teething' as a blanket excuse for any crankiness and I definitely do see two new canine teeth in there, so here's hoping we are almost done with all of the teeth. We might have two more canines and then we should be done until the two year molars---wild to think about my baby almost having all of her baby teeth!

And she is definitely still using her nuk for sleeping and the car. Eh, not really in a hurry to ditch it just yet if it means messing with (broken) sleep even more.

Still waking up at least once per night but she goes back to bed quickly, after getting her pacifier replaced and a quick hug. Napping like a champ, usually 2-3 hours at a time. Eating like a freaking horse, as always. She literally ate some of my raw spinach leaves from a salad the other day, she is obsessed with scrambled eggs, and it's actually easier to list what she WON'T eat instead of what she likes. Hope she keeps this up forever!
Real pony tails and real pig tails this month---as her hair is getting a bit out of control if I leave it down.




Sometimes Cecelia is a little rough with all of us, especially Henry, and she has started to smack people as a joke. Obviously that goes over really well with Truman and Henry is getting used to running away when she comes at him with those devilish eyes. But overall she is just a sweet heart who is curious, funny, and trusting. She just completed her third round trip flight and although it was a bit rough due to extreme fatigue from a week in CO, she still had really sweet moments throughout the travel. I think once she is old enough to zone out with electronics we will be totally set, but obviously we are not there yet;)

I feel like this is a vague, non-specific update without many examples but it's all I can do at the moment. Like I said, Cecelia is pretty freaking awesome and definitely keeps us on our toes. Love this little girl so much.

Hello from CO!

I think I failed to mention that we are in Colorado for a little family vacation right now. My camera, iPhone, and Flickr are all nearly exploding with pictures and I will probably do a detailed post (or seven) at some point. But holy man. Colorado is so awesome. Cannot complain about this new state my parents call home, even though we've visited here a few times before (and I lived here for two years when I was 3 years old). It's just awesome. Especially this time around.

Also awesome? My parents. My brother. The mountains. No work for TEN DAYS. Perfect weather. Relaxation. Memaw and Pepaw are coming today. The scenery is simply unbeatable. Built-in babysitters. Need I go on?

I wanted to mention something in this little drop-in post: my kids are freaking awesome. I have to admit that I didn't have high hopes for their behavior on this trip. Not that I expected them to be monsters or anything, but I figured the lack of routine, undivided attention from their grandparents, and general excitement would mean lots of meltdowns and very little sleep. We have been blown away by how well-behaved they have been, how happy, how grateful, and how flexible they've been. Sure, sleep hasn't been the best but is it ever for us? Not really. ;)

Truman couldn't stop hugging my mom and dad the first few days, and said, 'I missed you, GoGo' a few times. He said, 'Thank you for taking us trick-or-treating, mommy. It was really a lot of fun, you were right,' after he was skeptical of going ToTing at a little local farm yesterday. They are getting totally spoiled by my parents and even got two 'just because' toys on shopping trips already. This NEVER happens and I figure it's a special grandparent thing to do. But hearing Truman thank my mom for his special toys makes me feel like maybe he won't morph into a total spoiled brat after our trip;)

One last story: yesterday at the trick-or-treating, my 'little' brother was with us (he goes to grad school 2 hours away from my parents in CO) and he hasn't seen the kids since last Christmas. CC reached up and grabbed his hand and wouldn't let go as we waited in line for our turn. Michael sort of froze and said to my mom, 'Oh man, my heart just melted.' Cecelia totally owned this hip 26 year old college kid, and both kids had so much fun with Uncle Mike. We are gearing up to see Memaw and Pepaw today and will travel back home on Wednesday after a glorious week here.

A few of my favorite pictures so far:

They have lots of microbrews here and New Belgium was the bomb. Beer!! IMG_4505 Pumpkin hats made by GoGo and two very tired kiddos;) IMG_4663 Top of the world, er, at least 7200 feet up there. We hiked up Horsetooth Rock and the view up there was breathtaking. IMG_4763 Untitled In front of my parents' new home, lots of new memories waiting to be had here. IMG_4877 Pigtails, fall leaves, walking the dog with GoGo IMG_4949 Be still, my heart. I have about 100 more from this 'mini car' series that make me weak in the knees for these kids. IMG_5124 Vacation! BBQ lunch in the foothills IMG_5270 Another hike, with Mike this time IMG_5292 Trick or treating Sunday night. Little Tinkerbell and Captain Hook (sans hook) were a big hit. IMG_5353 IMG_5411 IMG_5406 IMG_5467 More to come. Vacation continues;)

Fireplace Update

One more little house update for you...

We bought 'oiled bronze' spray paint, in case we wanted to spray our back door hardware. When we chose to buy new hardware instead, Nate had the idea of attempting to spray paint our ugly gold fireplace doors. We had planned to buy new doors but they were almost $300 and not found in the stores, only online. So we figured we'd spray the doors we have for now and see if it satisfied our desire for a different set completely.

Goodbye, Gold!


 Untitled Untitled

 Hello, spray paint!
 Untitled Untitled


Ta Da!
IMG_4413 Now we just have to decide if we want to concrete stain the bricks, like we originally thought. I don't want them to be too dark now that the doors are super dark. I still don't love the blonde color of brick but maybe we will just leave them for now. I can tolerate the spray painted doors, even though I still don't LOVE the style. At least they are dark and provide contrast to the brick and the floors, and they seem to sort of disappear instead of standing out too much. I feel like they make the tile pop out more, too.

 And so, Before and After: 2013-10-22_0001 Thoughts?

The Back Hall Project

My friends. It is finished. The back hallway has been refinished and we did it without hiring our hardwood company. Sure, it took us about two months to complete but I honestly think we saved about $1500 with this major DIY project. Nate, me, and Saint Tony (aka my handy man father-in-law who seriously did SO much work with us on this one!) are all very proud of our effort on this baby. So I'm excited to finally show you the final pictures.

To recap, we never touched our back hallway when we moved into the house 1.5 years ago. We figured the ugly linoleum and aged woodwork didn't matter much since it's our side entrance. But as time went on we realized that we use this entrance 95% of the time, including having our guests enter the house this way. Now, it's was totally functional and not 'awful'---in fact, I'm sure some of our friends and family who have used that entrance many times never even noticed it. But we did and it became a top priority of our To Do list once I finally decided what we would do with the mysterious 'door that leads nowhere'. Chalkboard wall for the win!

I began by painting all of the walls and the ceiling, changing the hideous cream/worn color to Sage Gray by Behr for the walls and our favorite Dolphin Fin for the ceilings (used in our kitchen and every hallway already). No big deal, after patching a few cracks and cleaning the heck out of the walls first---felt really good just to get that part finished.

Before and after wall/ceiling paint

Then we had the hardwood company we used for our entire house come and give us a quote for the stairs. One flight of stairs including a landing, all covered in two layers of nasty linoleum? $550 just to refinish them, which did not include removing the linoleum first. That would be another $55/hour and we estimated at least 8-10 hours. Gulp. NOPE.


So the men began pulling up the disgustingness and wore masks just in case it was full of asbestos. Totally disgusting and I remember that long weekend being super hot---it was Labor Day weekend and the guys clocked 15 hours just removing the junk off the stairs. Why, oh why, did the previous owners cover up beautiful maple hardwood floors, original from 1925? I realize it's not all that popular to have plain wooden stairs to the basement, but come on. The very first owner of our house was also the architect and he lived here almost 40 years before the next owners moved in (who we bought the house from, since we are only the third owners!). I really wonder if even the architect immediately covered up the wood with something....it seems like maybe a runner was used at some point, just from how the wood looked once stripped down. But then I think the second owners must have recovered it twice with linoleum during their 47 years here. Everyone has different tastes, I guess, but it was a nice surprise to find all of this pretty wood in decent shape. Sort of like how our entire house was carpeted with blue wool and underneath were the gorgeous original floors. Go figure.


So anyway, after we got that quote it made us a little irritated because we should have just had the company do it when they finished our entire house. Maybe it would have been cheaper then and it would have been DONE, but hindsight is always 20/20. I told Nate that I would have gladly paid $500 for the job but 1-2k? For a set of stairs? No. We both decided that we could totally do this with Tony's help, and being the frugal man he is Tony was also pumped to save us some money.

During the worst part of the renovation:




Before and then after the removal process, but before refinishing the wood:


So much better!




After the floors were uncovered, the guys sanded them down with a circular sander. After that it was all me;)

I polyurethaned those bad boys a total of FOUR coats for our clear finish. No small task but I would just do one coat per night after the kids went down and a nice glass of wine while listening to iTunes Radio on my phone. I admit that I love projects like these so even those four coats of clear finish weren't too bad.

And then it was time for my favorite part, just for the stark contrast from the original: painting the woodwork white. Now, I've talked a lot about my love for white woodwork on this blog and I know it's sort of a touchy subject for old home lovers. But I can assure you that this woodwork had seen better days with it's scaly varnish and it was super dark/dirty from years of wear and tear. I knew the white woodwork would definitely brighten up this small-ish space and then it would match the rest of our lower level, so instead of refinishing the wood I painted it. I used my favorite Sherwin Williams paint, their Adhesion Primer (latex) and then their Pro-Classic paint. I believe I just did one coat of primer and then two coats of paint and it has plenty of shine and 'pop' for me.


Made me sad to cover up this penciled 'Hi Mom!' from the previous owner's son ;( A little eerie since I know she passed away and he was the one who basically sold us the house, and obviously loved his mom and his childhood home very much. Sometimes I like to dream about him coming by the house to check out what we've done, and I hope he'd be pleased and not appalled.


(before and after)

Nate had already prepped the random door-that-went-nowhere and added a piece of plywood to make a secure back across the door frame. I primed that, too, and once my white woodwork was done I painted the new board with chalkboard paint. Now THIS little project was sort of a pain because it took me five whole coats of paint. Mostly because Nate wanted to be assured it will hold up from the writing and erasing and smearing from the kids. After coat five I told him he could do any further coats, but I was done.


(before and after)

We added hooks across the top for our keys, and the two hooks on the side are for Henry's collar and leashes. Functional!


Somewhere in the midst of me polyurethaning, the guys decided to update our back door. It's the original, solid wood door (Tony tells me it's fir), and was painted dark brown. Lots of paint coats, lots of chips, not the prettiest. Tony is the pro when it comes to stripping off paint and restoring woodwork so he volunteered to strip everything off of the door with some special chemical (probably deathly toxic) and a lot of elbow grease. It looked SO good immediately just with the natural wood! I also got Tony to strip down our two doors in the kitchen because those have always bugged me with their super-orangey varnish. I actually do love natural wood doors with white trim, so I knew if he stripped off that old varnish we could just add clear poly to them and they'd look great. Apparently one of the kitchen doors is also fir, the other (along with the rest of our house) is oak like the floors throughout our home. Anyway, we are on the second coat of polyurethane for all three of these refreshed doors and I'm hoping to be done after coat number three.


I had help with this one!

(subtle difference here, but this is one of the doors inside our kitchen, before and after (no poly yet))

Polyurethaning is not that much fun, except for the first coat:


(before and after for the main door, but not yet poly'd. I wish it could have remained this light after the clear coat, but I like the final product, too.)

Before and after, with poly.
Hi, pretty door! Two coats of poly...probably needs another. And I need a better picture of it because it's a lot nicer than these pictures show. Love that the grain is really popping out now.

We also wanted to do something with our gold hardware on the back door, since we were dressing it up so nicely with it's natural wood. We went back and forth about just spray painting the existing hardware 'oiled bronze' to match the rest of the house versus getting new stuff. In the end, we bought a new handle, got an amazing keypad deadbolt, and then Nate had to find a backplate online to match the rest. I guess newer doors have totally different hardware than our 1920's baby so we needed that backplate to cover up the old stains. Re: the keypad entry to our house? I was skeptical but I cannot tell you the number of times it's been extremely convenient for me to just type in our code instead of digging around numerous bags for my keys. Or if I take the kids for a walk I can lock the door without a key, and get back in without having to bring my keys. Genius! The best is when Nate is driving our whole family around, I get out with CC to bring her in before the guys come inside, and now Nate doesn't have to stop his car to unlock the door for us. Mostly I just like that I don't have to remember my keys for everything!! And when my parents are here we don't have to hunt around for a spare key--they can just type the code and come on in.

Before and After


Also got a new light fixture. Might still spray paint the metal base to be dark but right now I just don't even care. The best before and after I have for the light:

Some before and afters?? YES, please.

Well, first I'd like to give a shout-out to these guys. Plus the white paint.

Our 'milk box' where we keep all of Henry's poop bags. (Updated to add: a milk box is where the milk man would put milk way back in the day. It leads to the outside of the house and works nicely to store bags for us;) Also, yes, the light switch near the door is cream and the other one is white. Tony is going to switch out almost all of our remaining 'old' switch plates next weekend, so they are all white and not mismatched!)



Stairs--the wood has lots of dings and nail holes that we tried to fill, but it's definitely a little more rugged than the rest of our house. Fine by us!

Before and after, looking down into the basement from the back door. Basement refinishing is next! Eek!

Chalkboard instead of an ugly door!

Before and after, looking down from our kitchen. Love this one. If I showed no other picture, I would still show this one. The door leading to the kitchen is lighter on the right, the woodwork is now white, the light fixture new, the main door stripped and refinished, new fancy hardware on the door, color on the walls and ceiling, chalkboard wall instead of a random extra door, and of course...wooden stairs/landing now. Just a little different, huh?! I might even post this picture to FB and IG just to be a social media nut. I'm really that into it;)

Top three steps during the removal process versus the end. Wow.


Love these wooden stairs!



The landing is in pretty good shape. Not perfect, but that's alright. We'll forgive it for being so old and so well-loved.


Such a nice way to enter our house now! Makes it even sweeter knowing we did it ourselves.

Onto the next home project!!

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