Monday, September 28, 2009

Bathroom Facelift Part 2

The painting is done!!!! So glad to have that behind us, and I don't plan on doing it ever again. Including the coat of primer, this is the fourth time in the past year we have painted the bathroom. I'm happy to announce we BOTH are very happy with the results and agree that we will not be changing the color again. Thank the Lord! There is still a bit of touch up work to be done but I'm going to wait a week or so to do that. Everytime I paint I start to notice places that need touch up and as soon as I do a few spots, a day or two later I notice some more. It's such a hassle to get the paint out and dirty another brush, so I'm going to wait a while until I hopefully find all the spots and then touch them up all at once.

If you look back to my post from last November you can see what the bathroom has looked like for the past 10 months. Those would be some "before" pictures.

After here are the after pictures!
View from the bedroom
I LOVE the look of the two mirrors and the sharpness of the black frames on the brown wall. It looks so modern and clean! The flash from the camera made some weird reflections so excuse those.

One thing we didn't plan for but probably should have thought of was the fact that the wall behind the mirror had never been primed or painted. When we took the mirror down there was bare drywall behind it and a tiny bit of water damage along the top of the vanity backsplash. This wasn't a huge issue but it did delay us a bit since we had to recaulk along the seam and
prime the wall.
One thing that is funny about the facelift so far is that all the nice new things make all the old things look SO MUCH worse! I always hated these faucets but now I can hardly stand to look at them! They look awful! In a few weeks we will have them replaced with something new and much prettier to match all the other pretties in the bathroom.
While I am liking the addition of the hardware, again, all the new additions are kind of making me want to paint the vanity. The color of the wood doesn't look great with the color of the walls now. I'm actually leaning towards a black maybe, something to match the mirrors. I'm still in awe over how much I love the mirrors so maybe that is having an influence on me. If we do paint the vanity, it wouldn't be for a while. I want to get the new faucets in and baseboards done before that happens. You can see on the right side of this picture what the bottom of the walls looks like. They need baseboards bad! That will probably be the next projcet we will tackle in a few weeks.

One of my favorite, super easy updating techniques is changing out the faceplates on the light switches and outlets. If you look at some of the pictures from earlier in the post, you can see that we put all new stainless faceplates on. While it's not really a huge change, I love the way they look, again just very clean and modern. I also love how cheap they are at Home Depot: $1.97- $2.97! Seriously!

Well that's all I have time for tonight. Wednesday night Aubrey gets into town and then Friday through Sunday we will be out at Zilker Park all day long enjoying the Austin City Limits Music Festival! It's the most wonderful time of the year! Check back after the weekend for some pictures from the festival!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bathroom Facelift Part 1

We've begun work on the bathroom, and by work I really mean just made decisions and bought some things. The actual "work" will begin tomorrow. Here's the skinny:

So we picked out the color Pure Earth from Behr, and much to my delight I was wrong about the samples and you can buy them at the store! So earlier this week I tried the color out in several spots in the bathroom and we really like the color.

I'm excited to see what the bathroom is going to look like with this totally new color. I like the contrast of the white towels against the brown color and the way the shower curtain looks next to it. The pictures never really show the color very well; it looks pretty gray in these shots but it's definitely a cocoa brown color.

We also decided to get rid of our mirror and replace it with two smaller mirrors in front of each sink. I don't have a problem with the big mirror, I just felt like since everything else in the bathroom was getting a face lift, it would look silly to have the standard mirror from the builder with no frame or any character. Getting a custom cut mirror and frame would cost more than we were willing to pay, so we found some mirrors tonight that we are going to go back and buy soon. We taped off the dimensions to give ourselves an idea of what it would look like and I think we will be happy with the change. It's still plenty of mirror space, but I think it will look a litle more elegant.

We also picked out some hardware to put on the vanity drawers and doors for another small update. The knobs will be for the drawers and the handles will be for the cabinets. I really wish we could get a whole new vanity but we really don't want to spend the money on it so these will have to do for now.

We're trying to pace ourselves and budget for some of these purchases so it will be a few weeks before we buy the new faucets, mirros and get the base boards done. Hopefully by the end of this weekend we will have at least finished the painting and put all the knobs! Check back in a few days for more photos!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

If I Hurry I Can Still Make Cheyenne...

This post is long overdue, but here it is! Mel beat me to blogging about our fun filled weekend in Cheyenne, but hey, she gets to work from home :) Labor Day Weekend I hopped on a plane and flew to Denver (the closest aiport to Cheyenne) to visit Mel, one of my BFFs, and her husband Matt. I have to say, there is not much going on in Wyoming, but we had a great time anyway. I think one of the nicest things about being with people who you've known for a long time is that it's like picking up right where you left off. It doesn't matter what the scenery is: college house, weddings all over the country, Austin or Cheyenne, you're going to have a good time. And while Cheyenne isn't a booming metropolis, I had a blast hanging out with an old friend. It was also really great to spend time with Matt because up until this trip, I had only spent time around him the weekend of their wedding and when we met for dinner one time for about 2 hours, which didn't total a lot of quality conversation time. Matt is a funny guy! AND also a very tolerant husband, since he had to put up with the two of us and our girly banter for the the weekend. One of the highlights of the weekend might have been beating Matt at one round of Wii Resort Swordfighting... that was awesome!

Here are a few other highlights:

We went to Target one evening and parked next to a car with not only a Texas license plate, but dealer plate frame that said it was from Abilene! I don't know how Mel noticed this, but she about lost it when she did, so we had to take a picture with it. We never found the people, but it made for a great picture.

After a day of shopping and lunching in Ft. Collins, CO we came home with some similar clothing... ok, well I had already bought the shirt at Old Navy in Austin and had brought it with me. Mel and I ran across them again while shopping and so the idea for this picture was born.

Ok, maybe the BEST part about the whole trip was that we went to Texas Roadhouse not once, but twice! This really was like old times! We used to love this place in college (I even worked there for a little while)! One time in college while Mel's dad was in town, he took the two of us out to dinner at Roadhouse and we ate so many baskets of rolls that he was embarassed of us. :)

On the day I flew out we stopped in Ft. Collins for the second time to get pedis on the way to the Denver Airport. I don't think Mel has seen this picture I took of her, so it's making it's Internet debut right now. Mel told the ladies at the nail place that her husband was part Japanese (which he is) and they were SO fascinated and asked a lot of questions. I was laughing in my head as she chatted with them the whole time we were there and I sat quietly and read my magazine and watched the tv. I guess that's the difference between us!

We also hung out with lots of their friends from church on several occasions through out the weekend, played a lot of Guitar Hero, Rock Band and other Wii games, went to see Julie and Julie (which I loved), walked around and ate lunch in downtown Denver, watched a lot of HGTV and got caught in a torrential downpour just to name a few other activities. On top of having a lot of fun with Mel, it was great to get out of town for a few days and not be in the office! Once in a while having a 4 day weekend is really nice! Thanks Mel and Matt for a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Back to Square One

Well we're back at it. As if picking out paint colors the first time around wasn't challenging enough, we're doing it again. I must be crazy. I thought I could come up with an easy solution, but of course that was foolish. Somehow I came up with the idea that we should paint our master bathroom the same tan-khaki color that is in our formal living/ dining room and upstairs hallway. I thought, "We like this color, it's safe, it's neutral, we're used to it, it will look fine." Since we had some of that color left over, I thought I'd try out a patch on the wall. Turns out I didn't like it at all in the bathroom. So I tried two other similar colors we had that I had tested when we were picking the color for the dining room in the first place. Didn't like those either.

So I narrowed it down to two hues that I thought would work: either a sage-y green gray or a soft brown cocoa-y mocha color.
After collecting about a billion color samples from Home Depot of any colors even close to either of these, I think I have decided on one.
It's called Pure Earth and it's in the Behr Premium line. We used Behr paint before and one of the things I liked was that you could order small samples online to try out. Unfortunatley, with the Premium paint you can't get samples online so I'm going to have to get the smallest quantity I can at the store and actually try it on the wall. I really hope I like it because I do not want to go through the back and forth of agonizing over paint colors again!
We've got another full weekend coming up, Aunt Pat and Uncle Sam are coming to town and will be stay with us for two nights. Maybe we can squeeze some trips to Home Depot in there somewhere!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Extreme Bedroom Makeover

Ok, I don't know how "extreme" it was, but our bedroom did get a face lift this weekend. It happened just in time I'd say, since football season is in full swing now and we can never come to an agreement with what should be on the tv. I mentioned in my last post that we were going to make some changes in our bedroom, but I didn't know how much I would actually love it. I hardly want to leave the room now!

Here are a couple "before" shots of our bedroom:

When I planned the room, I knew I wanted to use this gold colored slip cover on the love seat and paint this wall white for juxtaposition. We wanted to place the tv so that we could watch from bed, but it made it impossible to watch tv from the love seat. At the time I was really opposed to puting the love seat in the middle of the room because I thought it would take up too much space. Since I had gone to the trouble of painting the wall white so that the love seat would look good there, I did not want to move it.

Fast forward a year. After living in the house for 12 months and getting a better feel for the space, we started to think we needed more "liveable" space. I love that we had a big formal living/ dining room because it's come in handy several times when entertaining BUT on a daily basis, it's not really liveable space for us. I really like that we have guest rooms (someday kids rooms, but don't read too much into that, especially you Mom) since we have family and friends coming to town all the time, but again not really practical space for our everyday lives. We started to think it would be nice to have another "living area where we could watch tv, read, etc. so we decided it was time to tweak the layout our room.

So here is what we did:

  • moved the loveseat off the wall and into the middle of the room
  • ditched the coffee table and got a storage ottoman that can double as a coffee table
  • hung a 32" flat screen tv on the wall
  • moved the bookshelf that used to support the old tv
  • changed around a few other decorations, mirror, pictures, etc.

Hanging the tv was quite an adventure since it seemed like our wall had no studs! We were really baffled for about an hour as to how our wall was actually standing since we could not find a stud anywhere. We were using a studfinder but turns out, those things can be a little misleading sometimes. Eventually we resorted to the old hammer and nail method, which you would think would have helped us find the stud....

... about 20 holes later, we found it! Good thing we have plenty of spackle and left over paint! We'll be needing to do a lot of touch up before we move out someday! For now, the tv is covering all these holes.

So here are the pictures of our new improved room, one taken from every corner of the room!

And a few close ups of the new and improved sitting area:

I am really loving the new layout and am not bothered at all by the love seat being in the middle of the room. There is still plenty of space between the foot of the bed and the back of the loveseat to walk through. When we first looked at the house I remember loving how big the master bedroom was but having no idea how we would use all the space. I think we've finally figured it out! Here is my view from bed now:

Another exciting change that won't be in full effect until Friday is we signed up for AT&T U-verse and are ditching our old Time Warner Cable. If you haven't heard of it or don't live in a place where it's available, it's AT&T's cable, internet and phone service that they offer. The cable service has a lot of cool features that are not available with Time Warner Cable. For example, we will be able to play back DVRd shows on any tv in the house. That means that Andrew can be watching football downstairs and I can be watching last week's episode of What Not to Wear on the DVR upstairs. Even guests who are staying in the guest room can watch shows from the DVR on the tv in there. We can also record 4 shows at one time on the DVR, which won't always be necessary, but will be handy on Thursdays when it seems like EVERY show we like to watch comes on tv. There are other cool features like setting the DVR from my iPhone, NFL network comes standard, $100 cash back, and free installation! All in all, we will pay 5 dollars more a month than we paid with Time Warner, but it definitely seems worth it. Also for the first 6 months we get $30 off the cost. The installation will take place on Friday and I seriously can't wait.

We have plans over the next month or so to really finish our master bathroom that has kind of been hanging in limbo for a while. After we did the tiling we never finished the baseboards and have lived with it that way for a year. We also haven't been that thrilled with the paint in there, partially because we don't love the color in there and partially because I did a really crappy paint job. We also want to install new faucets and put some hardware on the cabinets and drawers like we did in the guest bathroom. None of these things are too time consuming so if we pace ourselves over a few weekends, we could easily have the bathroom done in a month or so. We took a long break from house projects over the spring and summer and now I feel refreshed and ready to take on a few more things. There are a lot of little projects that we just need to wrap up and get out of the way. I'll update about the bathroom as we go.

I need to blog a little bit about my trip to Cheyenne to visit Mel as well as the arrival of Baby Adley, our friend's Jaime and George's little girl. Those posts will come soon so check back. For now I'm headed upstairs to enjoy my new tv!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Catching Up

I promised I would be better about getting back into posting and then I let it slide again. Here are a few highlights from the past month:
  • The last weekend of July was a busy one for us. We attended the wedding of a coworker/ college classmate on Friday the 27th, the on Saturday the 28th I helped host a baby shower for Jaime, our old neighbor. Then that evening we went to see the Rocketboys play a show at Stubbs. It was a fun weekend but I was glad when Sunday rolled around and I could catch up on some sleep!

  • On August 6th we celebreated our fourth wedding anniversary. Andrew did a very sweet thing and surprised me at work with some delicious chocolate covered fruit.

The funny part of this story is that before he went to Edible Arrangements and bought these, he attempted to make chocolate covered fruit at home by himself. The few strawberries he was able to make tasted delicious, but he burned a lot of the chocolate and had some problems with the technique. It was very sweet of him to do this and I feel bad it didn't turn out as well as he had hoped. As a result, we had a TON of fruit to eat that week. :) We celebrated that evening by eating dinner at Kobe Steakhouse, a Japanese hibachi style restaurant where the prepare the food at your table. I feel like these four years have flown by and gone so fast, but at the same time I can hardly remember life before we were married.
  • The weekend of the 22nd was a busy one for us again. Our friends Ellen and Jeff reserved a party barge for a big group of people to go out on Lake Travis and celebrate Jeff's birthday. It was really fun!! We were on the boat for 4 hours but I wished it could have been all day. The water felt great and we had a blast hanging out. After the boat party we went home for a few hours to rest and get cleaned up and then we were off to a barbecue at Andrew's boss's house. Both parties had been in the works for several months so we were glad that neither one interfered with the other despite being on the same day.

  • August 27th marked one year of homeownership for us. It was funny to actually go back and read my blog posts from the few days leading up to the closing. I remember how gung ho we were to get to work and start all our projects on the house. Now the thought of all that work makes me so tired I need a nap. We "celebrated" this milestone by driving down to San Antonio to see Andrew's dad. He was in town for work so we made the trek down to have dinner with him.

  • Right now we are working on some fun projects in our room. Nothing major, just rearranging furniture and maybe adding a few new things. We have this big master bedroom but the way we had the furniture arrnaged made it hard to really utilize the space. Hopefully now we will have a more practical sitting area where we can relax, watch tv or read a book. We are planning to get a new tv for a our room, a big ottoman to go with the love seat, probably a floor lamp, maybe a vanity table, etc. Once it's all put together I'll get pictures up on here. I'm exciting about making it happen because it will give me a place to hang out when Andrew is playing his video games on the tv downstairs!

Next weekend (Labor Day weekend) I am going to visit Mel in Cheyenne! I am sooo excited to see her and see their house and all the work they have been doing! I'm also excited to get the heck out of here for a few days and not have to work! A four day weekend will be awesome! Maybe if you're lucky I will actually post some pictures from the trip!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

How Many is Too Many?

The other day I was flipping through the channels when I stopped for a few minutes on the TLC show "18 Kids and Counting." I don't normally watch this show but am familiar with the Duggar family and their famous 18 children since they have received a lot of media attention. Andrew paused for a second as he walked by the tv and said "Those people have got to be the most selfish people on earth." I laughed and said something like, "Really? I think they are the EXACT opposite of selfish!" I mean, I imagine someone who has birthed and nurtured 18 children would be quite selfless, but after a little deeper reflection, I understand where Andrew was coming from.

I've been thinking this over in my head for several days now and have been wondering what other people think about this topic. First off, if you've not familar with the Duggar family you can visit their website here: or for a slightly more objective article: Now I don't want to make this all about criticizing this particular family because by all accounts they do seem to be very caring, faithful, people. However, I am going to share a few thoughts about this particular lifestyle and am curious to hear feedback from others.

Let me back up to Andrew's comments. Andrew looks at a lot of things from a more scientific perspective than I do. Right now the world's population is estimated at 6.7 billion people. Humans are reproducing at an alarming rate: in 1939 the population was approximately 2.3 billion (70 years ago, 1/3 the population) with a possible 72 million killed in World War II alone, not to mention other wars, famines, epidemics, etc. (Read more here) While we may not see it in our cozy homes in comfortable suburbs, we have an overpopulation crisis on our hands. If things continue as they are, forty years from now we're looking at a world population of 11 billion people. Wow.

Worldwide issues related to overpopulation include: famine, lack of fresh water, disease, proper healthcare, education, shelter... the list goes on. Here in the U.S. where healthcare is such a hot button issue, the unemployment rate continues to rise, and a college education becomes more and more expensive can we really justify having 18 children? How many is too many?

Andrew tends to be pretty conservative when it comes to answering that question. He says two children is enough for one couple, the exact number to replace the parents. I'm not quite sure where I fall. I definitely don't want 18 kids, but I may want more than 2. Hopefully there will be room for negotiations one day.

The Duggar family is associated with a movement called Quiverfull, where families have as many children as God allows them to have. Here is an explanation taken directly from their website about their decision to have as many children as possible:

"Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar married July 21st, 1984. At that time, they chose to use the birth control pill. They thought, “We don’t want children right now. We can’t afford them. We want children in our timing, when we’re ready.” Four years later they decided to have their first child. Then, Michelle went back on the pill, but she conceived and had a miscarriage. At that point they talked with a Christian medical doctor and read the fine print in the contraceptives package. They found that while taking the pill you can get pregnant and then miscarry. They were grieved! They were Christians! They were pro-life! They realized that their selfish actions had taken the life of their child. They prayed and asked God to forgive them, and to teach them to love children like He loves children. They asked God to bless them with as many children as He saw fit in His timing. Right after that Michelle got pregnant with twins! To date they have been blessed with 17 children, (10 boys and 7 girls) Joshua (& wife Anna), Jana & John-David (twins), Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jedidiah & Jeremiah (twins), Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer (and #18 due in January 2009!). "

Like I mentioned before, I think raising 18 children would require a parent to be selfless and focus on their children rather than themselves. But is wanting 18 children selfish? Can you be selfish in your selflessness? I would be remiss is I didn't mention the Octo-Mom that has also received a lot of attention from the media. Obviously I don't know her personally but I think it's safe to say that she might have a few screws loose. I'm sure she loves her children and wants the best for them in some way, but is she really in a position to support 14 children as a single parent on government assistance? I think in this case wanting to have children (or at least continuing to) was selfish of her.

I understand for couples that have fertility issues that IVF can be a wonderful thing and an answer to many prayers. I can't begin to judge because that is a situation I have never been faced with and pray that I never will be. I understand that many women want the experience of being pregnant, creating life with their spouse and carrying their own child. With IVF of course comes the chance of multiples (again, the famous Gosselin family) but I honestly can say I don't fault families for using IVF, despite the fact that it could result in six babies. Of course there is the ethical issue of whether doctors should allow someone such as the Octo-Mom to have 6 eggs implanted... but I digress. Most couples who are using IVF are hoping for just ONE baby, which is very different from 15 pregnancies producing 18 children. For families such as the Duggars, who can quite obviously reproduce without complications, love children, and want to grow their family, maybe at some point they should consider adoption. I understand wanting to have a large family, and if that is what you want, why not adopt? And in case you were wondering, I asked Andrew his thoughts on families adopting several kids and how many would be "ok": as many as they want, he says.

I'm going to wrap up now because I've said a lot, but I really am curious to hear everyone's thoughts about this. This is quite a switch from my normal posts about painting bathrooms and installing ceiling fans, but I've been thinking about this a lot and wonder what other opinions are out there. Give me your feedback!