3.30.2015

Picardy Poll: What's Your Favorite Front Door Color?

I had so much fun with the last Picardy Poll, I wanted to do another.

The market is insane here in the Bay Area lately. Like, ridiculous. I've got it on my to do list to write a post about it (because it's actually pretty depressing), but I haven't gotten to it yet.. Just over the water in SF, it takes over $100k (yes, that's amazingly fucking right) to afford the median home in the city (and a lot of those are CONDOS). And all those folks who don't want to pay that (because they're not insane) are coming over to our neck of the woods and driving up the prices of homes in Oakland (especially). More companies are moving over here too, which is driving the cost up as well. There are LOTS of factors, but anyway, that's an entire other post...

With all the homes on the market going like hot cakes, I've noticed folks quickly "fixing" up houses to get them on the market. There are many things I hate about that (again, that's an entire other post), but one of the most noticeable things is seeing what happens on the outside of these houses. "Landscaping" goes in and a quick, sloppy paint job goes on the house. And nearly every time they pick a red front door.

I HATE red front doors. I don't know what the obsession is (maybe one of you can school me in this?) It got me thinking, do other people have the same hatred of red front doors? What are people's favorite color front doors? We painted ours a cheerful yellow maybe 4-5 years ago, and I love it. It always makes me so happy whenever we come home.

What's Your Favorite Color Front Door?

3.26.2015

The Little Gardener

Our backyard is a bit of a mess. I mean, not a MESS, but definitely not tended to.

There are weeds on the raised pergola bed


The veggie garden is a weed garden


The grass needs to be mowed and sour grass needs to be pulled


The side of the house continuously grows the craziest amount of weeds despite weed block, rocks and hardly ever any sun


I'm not complaining about the calla lilly weeds along the other side of the house


But there's also the general accumulation of garbage, waste and boxes from working on other people's houses



So two weekends ago we resolved to attempt to get things in order. Zoe LOVES to be outside frolicking about, so we thought she might like the idea of pulling weeds. No, seriously, we thought she would. And it turns out, she thought it was MAGNIFICENT




It was actually quite helpful. We'd just pull, pull, pull all the weeds, stick them in a pile and then Zoe would wander over, pick up the pile and toss it in the green waste. If there wasn't a pile waiting for her she would say, "More weeds?" She had quite the splendid time



We filled up the green container with just the weeds by the calla lillies and the weeds in and around the veggie garden. It was a bit ridiculous. I was hoping to get a lot more done, but we didn't want to just leave a giant pile of weeds on the patio waiting for a week to go into the green waste after garbage had been picked up.

Zoe ended her gardening with the dismantling of the old onion plants



Our child is slightly strange: she requests to eat raw onions. She's got an interesting palette.

Then this past weekend with the green waste container empty, we got to work again.

Zoe was ready to go again. Throughout the week when she would wake up from her nap and we opened her window (that looks out on the backyard) she would ask me, "More weeds?"


And to compliment the onions she ate the week before, this past weekend she decided a lemon would do




Chris and Zoe got to work planting all the veggies we got at HD earlier in the morning...



While I tended to this monstrosity


The cherry blossom: gorgeous. The plants around it: in need of serious help


This area is a bit far gone to just pull weeds now that all the grass has come in and at least one of the lavender plants is dead (the other might be also, I just can't find it among the weeds). I also made my way around the rest of the yard yanking the rest of the weeds. Again, another entire green container was made full by weeding about half of this flower bed and the weeds around the perimeter of the yard around the dwarf orange and lemon trees, under the deck and on the raised pergola beds. I was hoping to get to the side of the house and mow the grass, but I guess that will have to wait till this weekend.

Meanwhile, while I was a weeding machine Chris and Zoe got all the veggies planted


We put in potatoes (they've always done really well), onions, 3 cherry tomato plants, big boy tomatoes (Zoe LOVES tomatoes), and a raspberry plant. I'm not sure how the raspberry will do, but it seemed exciting.

We also bought a hanging strawberry plant and hung it from the pergola


The backyard is now looking somewhat acceptable (you can see all the weeds I pulled along the side of our neighbors garage behind the strawberry plant in the above pic). But the front yard? Ooompf. With so little rain this year, but a LOT of sun, the weeds have gone crazy out front. We usually mulch in May or June, but this year we're going to have to do it a lot earlier - it's on the to do list this weekend. Along with Zoe helping to pull, "More weeds." She's proving herself to be quite helpful lately :)

3.23.2015

Dad & Wendy: What's Left

I was over at my dad and Wendy's house this morning dropping off the kiddo so they could watch her for the day (hooray for close grandparents!) and I thought I would take some pics of the projects that are left before we can tentatively say the project is "done." It will take a while till things really are done, but these are the projects I think we'd like to check off before the "Before & After" pics are taken.

So what is there...?

Well, of course there are the last bits of boxes, etc that need to be unpacked (that last 10% I feel like takes a year to unpack. At least it did for us). And after that it'll be all the artwork, mirrors, pictures, etc. that need to get hung up and put up around the house. That ALWAYS makes a place feel like home.

Of course, there are also some other larger-ish things that need to get checked off. The tile in the main bath needs to be installed, as well as the vanity mirror


You can see the tile we picked is sitting on the counter next to the sink. The tiler is super busy at the moment - his crew is installing tile in a bunch of new homes a couple towns over right now - so hopefully we can get on his calendar soon.

Wendy will also be picking a carpet/runner to go on the stairs down to the basement and up to the second floor



And we've also got to get the mirror situation figured out in the master and second bath upstairs

please excuse my red face - my dad and I had just gotten back from a run with the Zoe girl when I ran around the house taking these pics this morning

That mirror looks fancy, right? ;) My parents put this mirror up for my brother and his wife while they were in town this past weekend. We'd like really wide mirrors in both this bathroom and the master. But the cost is NOT cheap. The mirror for the master if it was one piece all the way across (which is preferred) would be over $800 (it's 8ft long). Yowza. We're trying to figure out if there's a less expensive option.

And, of course, the house needs to get painted! That'll be exciting actually. I'm SUPER excited for that one because I know I'm a little tired of the acid wash color combination that's currently decorating the house. AND, great news, a color combo is picked!


Wendy ultimately didn't want to go as dark as Chris, me and my dad were all voting for (the three of us all liked the same color). So we went lighter, but not terribly light. The color selected is the bottom right one (on the right in the below pic), it's Glidden Dry Goods Neutral


It's neutral, a little on the browny side. And the trim will be Ben Moore Cape May Cobblestone (the color me and the boys were voting as the house color). It's actually the dark color between all the paint samples. We're thinking something in the orange range as the front door and the rest of the doors in the courtyard, but we haven't picked it yet.

AND lastly, the garage doors have been installed!


Much better than this



We all like that the arched windows on the garage door mimic the arched windows throughout the house. I think they look pretty damn good.

Alright, now it's off to get a little bit more work done before this cutie comes home from grandparent fun


Ahhh, it's nice having more family live close :)

3.19.2015

Zoe: 21 months

This nugget is now 21 months old

19 months


20 months


21 months


Sigh, that crazy kid.

It's been a pretty crazy last 3 months. As much as I absolutely LOVE this kiddo, that last 2 months or so have proved to be slightly...challenging. I think the "Terrible Twos" have officially started and Chris and I are trying our best to figure out what our temper tantrum strategy is. She really is THE BEST kid when we're out and about doing things - but left to her own devices at home or told we have to stop doing something and she freaks out. We're working on it, but oy, it's hard sometimes. Our strategy is asking her what she needs, if she continues throwing her tantrum we move on, ignore her and let her get over it on her own. It seems to be the best method for us, but jesus if it isn't frustrating dealing with her when she literally flings herself on the floor yelling about something. Toddlers will be toddlers I guess.

Sleeping has also gone down the tube a bit recently. Zoe has been a champion sleeper at night for about the last year. Day sleeping is still questionable, but nights: she's a dream. That is until about 4 weeks ago. I'm not sure what happened - maybe just a lot of mental and physical development or something - but we put her down at 7 (her bedtime for the last year) and she would stay up for the next 2 hours. Ooophf. She doesn't really cry at all (sometimes a little wimper), she's mostly staying up "reading" her books and talking to herself. When I think about it, it's actually quite adorable and I like that she can entertain herself, but I can only think she's exhausting herself (waking up earlier too) and that's contributing to her day time tantrums a bit



Some things we tried: REALLY wearing her out during the day, moving her bedtime, moving her nap time, going into her room after about 45 minutes and quickly reminding her it's bedtime, totally ignoring her and hoping she goes to bed...nothing really worked. Then, miraculously 4 nights ago she was really wailing (doesn't happen often) and Chris went in there. She pointed to her nightlight and Chris asked if she wanted it off. She seemed to indicate yes, so he pulled it out of the wall and she conked out about 2 minutes later. It was amazing. Since then, she's fallen asleep A LOT sooner. So, I think maybe because she's developing so much right now mentally she really likes "reading" her books and having her nightlight on actually "helped" keep her up and entertain herself, even if she was really tired. That's the only thing I can really think of at least. We'll see if it keeps working having the nightlight out.

Besides the sleeping challenges and tantrums, the great thing about this stage is just the amazing amount that she is learning. It's fascinating. The amount of words she knows now, how much she's linking words together to form "sentences" - it's really exciting. I love watching her learn, having her communicate with us and being happy that she can really express what she needs and wants.

eating her first Oreo, hehehe

The most hilarious thing about her talking is her fascination of running through the names of everyone she knows and telling us that she'll see them "tomorrow." Another stage at the moment is now running through everyone's name and saying she's going to "hit" them. We're trying to stop that one...so we say, "No, we don't hit, we hug," because she loves to hug everyone. Then she gives a great big smile.

She is a crazy talker though. That is something that has really continued to stay with her. She gabs and gabs and gabs. Sometimes we have to tell her it's quiet time because Chris and I will be talking about work or something else and here comes Zoe running in and yelling about something. It's sweet, but sometimes frustrating I must admit. Now I understand why my dad used to get annoyed with me when I was little and would interrupt him (maybe all the time...)

She still loves other people and kids so, so, so, so much. She'll walk up to kids at the park and just give them a giant hug. Sometimes other kids think she's a weirdo and I feel bad for her - she just loves to love. But hey, I've got friends who aren't very physical, and I'm not super physical, so I also understand other kids maybe not liking it. If I can tell another kid doesn't like it I try to encourage Zoe to play with something else. I don't want to put down a loving behavior, so I just try to distract her.



Things she's a little obsessed with:

1) diaper wipes. I don't know what it is, but she LOVES to rip them out of their container, so we have to keep them out of reach. If we forget at night we are almost 100% guaranteed to walk into her room in the morning with every single wipe taken out of the container and in bed with her. I let her have one when she's a good girl about getting her diaper changed. She's always very thrilled.

2) certain doors need to be opened, and certain doors need to be closed. I don't know why it's one way or the other, but she will cry and freak out if we close a door that she "needs" to be open. And the same feeling about some being closed. It's weird. But, I have a lot of OCD issues, so I can't really blame the girl.

3) Things being dropped or somehow out of order and needing to put things back. If she drops something at the table and it falls on the floor she gets really upset and needs it to be picked up. We try to tell her that it's okay and that we'll get it when we're done with dinner/lunch/breakfast, but we frequently give in and pick it up. She's the same way about certain things she perceives being out of order - like if we're at the store and things are all hung up on a rack, but there's one thing on the floor. She says, "uh, oh" and insists you pick it up and put it in its rightful spot. At day care when kids leave their cups out she insists on putting them back in their cubby. She also won't leave when we come pick her up until she's put every toy back. I can't really blame her for these things, they're pretty helpful actually :)

4) Seinfeld. It is CRAZY how much she loves Seinfeld. Chris and I love Seinfeld and it's pretty much the best show ever, so we're very pleased :) We didn't let her watch TV almost at all for the first year, and let her watch barely any after that (really just a little bit in passing for a minute or two). We try to keep her away from phones and the computer as well, so she wasn't really exposed to Seinfeld. But something happened about 3 weeks ago and she watched a little for some reason and now she just wants to watch it all the time. She knows all the character names, she'll laugh at stuff and when she's not watching it she'll talk about the characters being at work, or coming back, or wanting to "hit" (then "hug") them. It's quite hilarious.

5) Being helpful. She loves a task, a chore, getting to do the things big people do. I know most kids are like this, and it certainly is a helpful stage :)



Very frequently when we go for a ride in the car she needs to be a little hoarder and take many items on the ride with us. We keep a lot of books in the car because books are still one of her favorite things, but she'll take her purse, a toy car, a blanket, a block - and she'll take all of those at the same time. It cracks me up every time.

Adventures and people are the best thing in Zoe's life. If you could take her out on a giant adventure for the entire day and let her meet 100 new people, she would be the happiest child in the world. She's cautiously adventurous and just loves people so much. It warms my heart. One of my favorite things to do lately is take her to the Little Farm at Tilden (a part of a regional park in Berkeley where you can feed cows, pigs, chickens, sheep and goats). She LOVES to feed the animals lettuce, talk to the animals, mingle with the other kids there - it's a lot of fun to watch her be so happy. I love taking her out and about on adventures. She just has so much fun (and is also super well behaved).



She's still also our giant kid. We had a Dr.'s appointment at 20 months and she clocked in at
Height: 36" (100%)
Weight: 27lb, 5oz (85%)
Head: (100%)
She's almost all out of her 2T clothes and getting into her 3T clothes. The 3T are still a bit big, but her 2T shirts are getting to be belly shirts and her pants are kind of floods. I wonder if she'll keep up being a tall girl, or if she'll even out at some point. I still have yet to meet a kid her age who's as tall or taller. She's usually about the same size as 3 year olds. I'm still amazed by it because I was just a teeny tiny thing when I was little.



Well, that's our girl at 21 months. Next update will be 2 years! I love you my crazy, silly, chatty, smart, adventurous and independent lady!

3.17.2015

They're Still Moving In, Don't Worry

Oh, hi there. I know, I kinda left you hanging on my parent's move-in, didn't I? Well, Zoe got really sick, then she wasn't sleeping, then I had to play catch up on all my work, then I had to play catch up with my parents...The good news is my parents have been so busy that as of this past Friday when Zoe and I stopped by to visit, they were still getting things moved in. Wendy gave a big sigh and allowed me to take a picture of the organized madness. Thanks Wender! :)


I didn't really want to show a ton of pictures at this stage because they're actually fairly close at this point to getting things moved in and finished up. Another week or two and they should be mostly done. Because most of the construction fun is done (on the inside at least) I wanted to share more when we have "official" before & after comparison shots. That's the fun of things, right?

So what's left on the inside? Just a couple things here at there - a few more pieces of hardware, the grandkid room to put together (it was called "Zoe's room," but now there's another little bugger coming along), and the tile in the first floor main bath still to do (it wasn't in the original plan, so our tiler didn't have it in his original estimate, so he's gotta find some time to get it done).

THEN I'll share some B&A photos :) I've also got a couple run down posts I want to do (what I learned from doing a large scale, all at once remodel like this, a very large source list post, etc.) And THEN we'll move on to the outside. The garage door is actually being installed today, hooray! And soon the exterior paint will begin (all the scaffolding needs to be installed first).

Don't worry fair readers, I didn't mean to leave you hanging at all. Life just got away a little bit. I've got a bunch of other posts I want to get to also: some clean up in our backyard, Zoe's 21 month update, how pregnancy 1 vs. pregnancy 2 is going (spoiler: the second pregnancy while running around after a not-quite 2 year old = slightly more tiring), my thoughts on our insane Bay Area market, and another 12 draft posts I have waiting to be written, ah!

I hope you're all having a fabulous day!

3.06.2015

The Movers are Here!

Yesterday I was going to spend nearly the entire day finishing up installing contact paper and then 81 pieces of hardware throughout my parents house, but at 10:30 I got a call from day care that miss Zoe was a sick little girl :( Instead, I got the little lady, brought her home and had some snuggles. I did get all the contact paper installed before I picked her up, so that was a victory :) And we did make an afternoon stop after nap time to visit Papa because.....the moving truck brought the first load!


Zoe - the lover of trucks and anything with wheels - thought the moving truck was just about the best thing since sliced bread. I tried to keep her away from the ramp and getting in the movers way, but they thought she was pretty cute and one of them brought her up with them and let her look all around. I wish I had gotten a picture of her with all of them, it was pretty adorable.

We didn't stay too long, just long enough for her to "help" a little bit


The load from yesterday included most of the bedroom stuff. Today, they're packing up the second truck and it'll be all the living space stuff making its way to Oakland in the afternoon. Miss Zoe girl is sick still :( so depending on how she feels we may make another stop to say hello. I try to desperately keep this girl calm, cool and collected whenever she's been sick or not feeling well, but she has none of it and asks to go outside or on a walk or some other adventure. Sigh. I guess I can't blame the girl - she takes after her parents :)

Hooray for moving days!

3.02.2015

Week 23: It's Crunch Time

Well, this isn't really much of an update because [theme of my life lately] I didn't bring my camera when I was at my dad and Wendy's this morning. But, that was also for good reason: it's complete crunch time. My parents have the movers scheduled Thursday and Friday of THIS WEEK! Thursday will most likely be spent loading everything into the truck at their old house, and Friday will be spent.... MOVING IN! That means it's basically pure insanity there this week. This was all the food I bought for everyone at lunch today


7 burgers and a salad. And lots of french fries.

So, what's going on? Well Chris is just about the busiest man there is: he's attempting to get SO MUCH on the do list done this week (he'll be spending 3 days here this week), but we also have another client who we've been working with who has a move in date of about 10 days from now (we've done a smaller face lift throughout her house - new paint everywhere, new lights, remodeled bathroom). At my dad and Wendy's he's been installing a ton of hardware on allllllll the cabinets throughout the house, installing the wine fridge, installing the dishwasher, installing trim and shoe molding and baseboards and door casings, installing soft close hardware on all the kitchen cabinets, and then A TON of small things all throughout the house (doors that stick, windows that leak, random pieces of trim here and there).

Our painters are there today too still working on touch ups everywhere (those damn flooring contractors!) They're also painting the utility room. And then they'll start prepping the outside for paint because...WE PICKED AN EXTERIOR COLOR! And, once again, I didn't take a picture :) You're welcome.

My dad is there also working everywhere trying to get all sorts of things done.

And my step mom and two other lovely ladies are cleaning the house within an inch of its life. It has gotten VERY dirty throughout the last several months, so those 3 women are working their magic and getting it ready to be moved into. Ah!

Oh, and the tile in the master bedroom fireplace got installed over the weekend (it arrived last Wednesday)! Hooray! Our tiler is awesome. I of course forgot to take a picture of that as well today when I was over there. You're welcome again :)

Zoe and I were over there for a couple hours this morning going over all the last minute picks, measuring for things, counting how many pieces of hardware needed to be purchased and what kinds, getting lunch for everyone, etc. Like I said, it's crunch time, and madness with everyone in there today. It'll be like that for the rest of the week, but come this weekend my folks will finally be Oakland residents! And they're babysitting Zoe on Monday to celebrate the occasion :)

Okay, now I need to get a shit ton of work done while Zoe naps, then it's off to HD to buy about 100+ pieces of cabinet pulls and knobs later this afternoon :)