updated with pictures at the end of the post!

Other than taking Izzy to the vet for her annual exam, which is slightly more chaotic when you have to bring two kids along……we’re just having at an home day. I have to dig up a 3×10 patch of grass and then mix in 6 bags of dirt to get ready for our plant shipment. We were out a lot yesterday and I have learned that both myself and the kids do much better if we can sandwich those days with days at home. It’s not that we can’t have multiple plans in a row, but we get spread more thin and then a crabby mama + crabby kids helps no one!

Our lawn guys offered to take away all of our concrete/brick rubble and the wood from the old swingset for less than the cost of a dumpster, so we are really excited to have it all disappear! I’m more than happy to do a lot of our own work around our house, but for some stuff, it’s absolutely lovely to just hire it out. I’ll take pictures when they’re finished!

It’s looking to be another beautiful day, so hope you all get out and enjoy it. Happy Wednesday!

Shazaam! It’s improving!


Let’s strip!

Is the working title of my new (and in my head) HGTV show…because apparently I think I have lots of time to get all this stuff done! James and I took off our front door yesterday, mostly so I could strip and polish the hinges and doorknob, paint the trim, and strip and repaint the door (the yellow paint was peeling oddly). My plans were somewhat foiled by the wind…the temperature was a perfect outdoor working temperature, but the wind! It kept drying my paint stripper and then it just plain wouldn’t work. Big sigh. Towards the end of the day it started to work more and I got a better feel for the last layer of paint, but then we ran out of time and needed to put the door back up, lest we entertain any random someone who decides they want to come inside…..So another day, we’ll take it back off and I’ll get to work. It’s just how it goes sometimes! You can’t really tell from this picture, but the wood grain is super gorgeous and so I’m going to go for it and strip just this side of the door and only this door anyways. I’m not insane! I’m fine with painted trim throughout our house as it actually tends to be a bit dark inside. I would love to have stained trim, but it’s really ok to have painted trim.


I have some new wire brushes, stripper and low odor mineral spirits to finish the job and now that I have tried it a bit, I have a much better sense of how to go about it. In other news, I’m going to be digging up grass this week as well to finish out our planting bed in the side lot. There isn’t much left and then it’s just mulch and more mulch! We tend to mix in some fun days in between the work days to give everyone a nice break., and today is a play/break day! Happy Tuesday!

How Nat finished out her school year…

Really well actually! Socially there was some growth and some heartache, but that’s just part of growing up, so we didn’t do any rescuing (because that helps no one) and instead focused on support through the friendship rough patches. Academically, she flourished! Her reading and writing took off even more and her math skills improved a lot too. Though if you ask her, she’ll tell you she doesn’t do that well in math and compared to how easy it is for her to read this is true I suppose, but honestly she is doing well and we’re really proud of her!

The test that Nat takes is the MAP – measure of academic progress and it is an adaptive test, meaning that when Nat answers a question correctly, the next question will be harder and if she answers it incorrectly, the next question will be easier. Let’s take a look at her fall and spring scores –

Reading (fall 2016): 212  (99th percentile)

Reading (spring 2017): 225  (99th percentile)

Math (fall 2016): 188  (80th percentile)

Math (spring 2017): 209  (89th percentile)

She has maxed out her percentile for reading, but continues to improve her skills in that area as evidenced by her actual score. Her math score improved quite a bit during the year and because her scores dipped between her first grade spring score and second grade fall score, James is going to work with her on math over the summer on a weekly basis (since she primarily read over the summer last year, her reading score went from a spring 205 to a fall 212, so we expect a small increase or at least a plateau in math scores). The reason? Third grade is when the gifted coordinator starts looking at MAP scores for gifted pull out. To qualify, you need to score in the 99th percentile for both math and reading and we think there’s a chance that we can get Nat up to that for math. Just to be clear though, we are not going to force this on Nat, for that defeats the whole purpose. If at any time, she seems to be feeling more anxiety and anger than excitement and eagerness, then we will take a step back and reevaluate!

Today’s agenda sees me working on the front door! James is helping me take it off its hinges so I can properly strip and polish the door hardware and properly paint the door trim. It’s a gorgeous day out there!

Just a day at the pool

Yesterday was our first, hot summer day, so we met some friends at the pool. We also ran into several others there as well! The kids had fun – Nat was off and about with her friends and I would pass her here and there. She has made leaps and bounds with her pool comfort and was jumping off the edge into the water all by herself and going under and practicing and splashing and having a good time! Conrad didn’t really have anyone at his speed, so he was my pool tumor, haha. He did have a good time, even if he got cold quite frequently….he definitely takes after me in this department while Nat takes after James for sure. However, after four hours at the pool, we were all zonked….and a bit sunburn! James got home at his usual time of 6:45pm and we just had a later night than usual….



It looks even better than I thought it would! It brings in some nice warm colors to offset the cool gray, I love it!


Next up on the entry completion list: doors!!

Lawn Service

I just want to say that I LOVE having a lawn service….while I do not like how loud it is and neither do the kids, the fact that it’s done in 15 minutes and is trimmed and edged is nothing short of glorious, I tell ya!

Meanwhile, it’s going to be a gorgeous day today! Conrad is slowly getting better – just a cough remains but is otherwise in good (and talkative, wow) spirits. James has caught a cold and has been ordered to stay away from me because when I get sick, things get backlogged at home……

We are slowly but surely getting the yard in order. It’s looking really nice and we’re really happy with all that we’ve accomplished thus far! What’s left for our yard work extravaganza?

  • Plant ostrich ferns
  • Relocate solomon’s seal
  • Weed and edge side lot planting beds
  • Lay down landscape fabric and mulch!
  • Fill approximately 5000 lawn bags (ok or 25) with stuff we ripped out
  • Relax until next year!

I can usually get in a few hours of yard work if the kids will play…but this is always interrupted by sibling squabbles, letting the dogs out, fixing everyone meals, and other odd jobs like everyone wanting clean clothes…I mean, really?? Haha, anyways, it’s going to all be beautiful in five years!

A little bathroom

It’s important to me that our half bath be period appropriate to the house….maybe because the toilet is so old and I feel like we should honor it’s life somehow…..haha, who knows, but we’re starting to collect ideas and items for in there. We’re in no rush to start work in here especially since outside and the first floor are the focus (hmm ok and the basement, but that’s because I don’t want toys in the living room anymore), but the faucet leaks and has since we moved in, so it will be bumped up on our priority list. We find it easy enough to make little changes here and there – a new towel ring, a new toilet seat, etc. I already have a light fixture for in here (from the Restore for $10) and a new mirror (free, my horse harness mirror, yay!) so we’ll move on in here at some point this year. I’d like to change the flooring too…..but we’ll see when that would happen.

Meanwhile, the black seat looks quite sharp! Check it out:


But picture some pretty new hex tile, a wall sink that is shallower, some pale pink high gloss paint on the walls, a new radiator cover….it will look glorious! Meanwhile, I’m pretty satisfied with just having a new toilet seat, haha. Happy Tuesday!