Thursday, January 21, 2016

Powder Room Renovation

We recently completed a lovely little update to our downstairs powder room and I'm excited to share it here! It was meant to be a relatively quick and easy DIY project, but it's just unfathomable how many unexpected issues popped up over the past 12 days we've been working on the renovation! So many many many little things that we just couldn't possibly plan for caused hiccups and delays, but I'm pleased to say that we're about half a tube of caulk away from calling it all done!

I love to share stories in pictures, so here are a few "before" shots of the powder room. As you will see, it's pretty much basic construction-grade stuff everywhere.

Whew. Looking at those pics totally depresses me! I knew the bathroom needed a makeover, but I didn't realize how sad it looked until I saw it in these pictures! Wow. So happy we have a new look in there!

And here's how the powder room looks now... {squeal!}

((NOTE: We still need to caulk between the quarter-round and the floor))

I love a little side-by-side... ;) 

One of the things that always bothered me about our powder room was the seemingly ginormous pedestal sink. Really, it just seemed HUGE for the room. So I was super excited to find a gorgeous new pedestal sink that I thought would be just perfect for this renovation.

See? Isn't she just beautiful? So, I went ahead and ordered this little beauty on Saturday, 1/9, with delivery scheduled on Tuesday, 1/12. It would be shipped in two boxes: one for the sink and one for the pedestal. So I proceeded to do what any sane person would do: watch the UPS tracking numbers like it was my day job. Both boxes appeared to be on the move. They were only coming to me from Georgia... not very far, right? But one of them started showing updates that the other didn't. I was concerned, to say the least. Not surprisingly, I received ONE box on Tuesday... the pedestal, and no sink.

I called the lovely folks at The Home Depot about it. They did some digging and realized their vendor "forgot" to ship out the second box. Well, lovely. What were my options? Not many, apparently. The only option I was given was to (A) return the pedestal to my local HD for a full refund of my original order and (B) place a NEW order over the phone. Well, alright. But I let HD know I felt they should cover expedited shipping since it was their error. They agreed and confirmed I would receive the new sink and pedestal on Thursday, 1/14. Okay.

So what did I do? Watch those tracking numbers like a crazy person, of course! This time, I saw that NEITHER of the boxes were showing any movement whatsoever. I called UPS. They said they haven't received the items from HD. I called HD. They said the item was shipped and confirmed that yes, I would still receive the sink and pedestal on Thursday as scheduled. Mmmmmmkay... not sure how that was possible since this was Wednesday afternoon at 4PM and UPS still didn't have the boxes, but okay. Sure. I can be patient.

Thursday morning. STILL NO UPDATES on the tracking numbers. I called HD again. This time, they decided to tell me that since my reorder was placed over the phone after 2 PM, it wouldn't have even shipped until the next day, meaning I wouldn't receive the order until Friday. This guy tells me I never would have received it on Thursday (nevermind the previous two HD folks I spoke to who said I would).

Heh. Isn't that nice?

By this time I was considerably irritated for yet another delay on the sink. Thursday evening, there still were no updates (for the sink I was apparently going to receive on Friday) and I called HD yet again. Now I'm told that the item never left the vendor's warehouse. Can you even believe it? I couldn't do anything but laugh at this point.

The corporate resolutions department at HD placed another order for this sink for me, with an expected delivery date of Tuesday, 1/19. If you're keeping track, this is the THIRD ORDER for the same sink. And yes, it was due to be delivered this past Tuesday. Ten days after my original order was placed. HD also requested a "reship" of the phone order I had placed on 1/14.


The best part? We installed the new pedestal sink. We installed the new 8" widespread faucet.

Aaaaannndddd... I hated it.

Isn't that the best? Hahahaha!

The new sink was taller and seemed to take up even more space than the original one did. And I just didn't love the new faucet I had selected for that sink as much as I thought I would. And nevermind the fact that the p-trap from the old sink didn't line up correctly with the new sink, which meant hubs had to fashion a crazy solution using 192 pipe fittings that he was "pretty sure" wouldn't leak.

So we returned the sink. Well, the sinks, technically.

And now? Now I really LOVE our old sink! It fits the renovated powder room perfectly! Who knew?

What a fun adventure this was! I can't wait to move on to the next one... :))

Thursday, January 14, 2016

New Tables!

I've been DIY'ing a bit lately and am super stoked to share a recent win! Our living room coffee table and end tables have seen better days. After nine years, three kids, and extensive abuse, they were just sad and embarrassing. Hubs and I had discussed refinishing these tables for YEARS but never found the time to do it. I decided that time had arrived last week.

For starters, this is what I had to work with. The worst of the three tables. The finish was chipping and it looked just awful. See?

A close-up of the abuse. Please pay special attention to our lovely previous attempts at disguising the flaking finish with brown and black Sharpies...

My first step was to sand the finish off. I used a power sander with 60 grit sandpaper. Surprisingly, there was a LOT of finish to get through in order to get to the bare wood. I think I may have sanded through about 3 inches of furniture polish, too.

Love the cool pattern in the wood on the table top!

After thoroughly sanding the first end table, I wiped it down with a wet cloth (skipped the mineral spirits method and tack cloth method) and put on the first coat of paint.

We decided to skip the labor-intensive sanding with the other end table and instead used a primer that we had tinted gray. It was much quicker and easier to do the primer instead of the sanding, but we were most interested in how the tables looked when they were finished.

The coffee table was a bigger undertaking. We decided to sand it just to ensure the best possible finish as we didn't want to risk the primer plan not panning out.

Here they are after a coat or two of paint. Already SO in love with the transformation!

A few coats of poly later, and our shiny new tables are, well, shiny and new! I'm so happy with how this project turned out. The best part was that we can easily refinish indoors with this process. Neither the primer, paint, nor poly had a super strong odor, and it seemed the primer worked just as well (if not better?) than the messy sanding we had to do outside. This is all great news because I have a ginormous dresser next on my list to refinish!

Here's a close-up of the finish. Such a huge improvement, amiright?

And a little side-by-side of the Before and After! So happy with our "new" tables!!!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Potty Time... again!

I guess it was inevitable. My baby. My sweet little baby E. He would eventually grow up, and it would no longer be acceptable for him to wear diapers. It seems we've reached such a time as this.

I decided last Friday would be a perfect time to begin this torturous joyous process. Prior to this, I had already Amazon'd all the necessities... a Thomas potty (complete with a sound sensor notification each time potty success is achieved!), Thomas big boy underwear, Thomas pull-ups, Thomas reward stickers, and a train-themed potty book. Whew! Not sure if you picked up on it or not, but the little guy is really into Thomas these days. ;)

So Friday morning, I introduced him to his cool new Thomas potty and put him in his new Thomas underwear. He requested to watch (you guessed it!) Thomas on the MBP, and proceeded to make himself nice and comfy as we began.

Assuming the position! Potty + TV = every person's dream come true.

I continuously set the timer on my Apple Watch for 5 minutes throughout the day, and brought him over to the potty each time it went off. Now, this guy knows how to do this right! Thomas (or Chuck the Truck) on the MBP, a large spill-proof cup of chocolate milk, a bowl of Cheez-Its, and he's in business! The kid literally seemed to spend more time ON his potty than OFF of it during the first few days. I think he was pretty happy with the setup and didn't see any need to change things up, except for the inconvenient times I that forced him to get up so I could go through the monotonous process of dumping the potty, washing his hands, and rewarding him with candy. Surely before the next 5 minutes were up, he'd request to be back on the potty, snacks and shows at the ready! I wouldn't be surprised if these were minimum 30-minute increments on the potty.

This process reminded me of a certain older brother of his who spent his potty training days sitting on the potty with a Wii remote in hand, playing Super Mario Bros. Wii or Dora the Explorer. See?

What a cutie.

Truly one of the best things about being the youngest has to be that you have older siblings who are always nearby to keep you entertained. In this case, it was a round of "roll the ball" that kept E's attention while chilling on the potty.

And if your big bro and sis aren't around, and the video entertainment and endless supply of chocolate milk aren't quite enough, you can always sing yourself a little song to pass the time...

This process also reminded me of the potty training experience with both LO and Chase, so I dug up these little gems to share here of these two announcing their potty successes. Enjoy!

LO, beginning the potty process at 2 1/2 years old:

Chase, beginning the potty process at 3 1/4 years old (between his time in the hospital for his heart surgeries, caths, etc., and, well, the fact that he's a boy, we waited until we felt he was ready to give potty training a successful effort, which ended up being a bit later than LO):

Friday, January 1, 2016

NYE 2015

We had such a wonderful time celebrating New Year's Eve with friends! I think we had 8 adults and 12 kids! It was quite a fun and exciting night, and here are a few pics to recap the evening, in no particular order...

Cup stacking game!

E posing in the party hat he decorated himself.

One of the biggest hits of the night? The Popcorn Bar. Butter popcorn, caramel popcorn, and CANDY! CANDY! CANDY! I'm not sure if the adults or the kids were more excited by the deliciousness. ;)

More popcorn and candy! Yes, please!

Popcorn and a show meant the house was suddenly much quieter for a few precious moments. ;)

I did another balloon countdown, but this year I decided to just number the balloons (1-10) instead of put times on them. This made it much more relaxing and fun because we weren't stuck adhering to a set schedule. Some activities took longer than I would've thought, and some of them were over in minutes, so this flexibility was a welcome addition to our evening. A big bonus? We had 10  kids big enough to participate in the process of popping the balloons, so it was extra nice that each kid had the chance to pop a balloon.

Outside we had fun with glow necklaces and s'mores! Kids totally love glow-up stuff. Such cheap entertainment!

Here's a breakdown of our New Year's Eve activities for the kids. I kept this handy so I knew what would be happening before the balloon was popped. This allowed me a few minutes to prepare for the activity, which really helped the night run smoothly.

Karaoke was a big score and the dancing was unexpected entertainment for the parents! Haha!

LO singing one of her favorite "My Little Pony" jams.

Plenty of sparkling white grape juice for everyone to toast the new year!

Mmmmmm... cake! I used cookies for the "2016" along with gold sprinkles. We celebrated the new year with cake and sparkling juice. I sense a new tradition!

We had such a wonderful time with old and new friends on New Year's Eve. We are so grateful that God has brought new families into our lives with amazing kiddos that our kids love spending time with. God is so good and always meets our needs in His time.

We are praying for God's blessings over all of the immediate and extended families represented at our home as well as our church, community, and our nation in 2016!

Happy New Year!