Before and After

The house is far from finished but I’m told it will take years for us to have the house exactly as we like it. I’m sure that’s true and when I look through photos of the changes we’ve made I realize how far we’ve come.

Living Room: in this room we took down the drapes, painted the walls, removed the carpet and brought in new furniture in combination with furniture stored in other parts of the house. Still to be done, perfect the gallery wall, get a new rug, some throw pillows and maybe new lamps for side tables.

Master Bedroom: We pulled down the drapes in this room and painted the walls gentle rain, swapped out the furniture. I had hoped to change the flooring but we haven’t got there yet. I also can’t decide about what window treatment to put on the windows.

Claire’s room: Claire’s room was my great grandmother’s room previously. Here we pulled up the carpet, painted the walls lavender and a light blue, added a ceiling pan, hung some shelves and obviously changed the furniture.

That’s all for this edition. Next time the kitchen/dining room and the boys room.


Bring on the Workforce


As I said in the previous post, I had the best of intentions to blog about our progress this summer but school got out, the kids came home and the priorities changed. We did have an electrician working at the house off and on over the summer. At the very end of summer vacation, the Smiths came to town – boy did they hit the ground running. Bathrooms painted, pictures hung, yardwork and many other smaller details best seen in pictures.

Project one: The bottlebrush. Popular with the avian life but sheltering skunks and who knows what else as well as a BIG allergy contributor. BYE BYE bottle brush.

Project Two: I didn’t get before pictures of the bathroom but I’ll paint (pun intended) the picture for you. Both bathrooms tan/brown tile with yellow like somewhere between butter yellow and yellow-green. Not my choice. Now spring brook and brown/beige. Plus, new hardware for the kids/guest bathroom so the door actually closes and locks! Yipee.

Project Three: Gallery Wall in the living room. This is a work in progress. It feels so great to get some decoration on the wall and it makes it feel so much more like home. That said, the wall is so big and the couch a chunky couch that I’m going to keep my eye out for some bigger pieces that will match more of the scale of the wall and the couch. But its a start.


Project Four: the surprise project, Oven hood. The oven hood was a hold over from the previous oven. No sense in forking over money for a new hood when the old one works just fine except for the color…mustard yellow. I don’t have a picture of the old hood but here’s the old oven for color reference. I went off to an eye doctor appointment and returned to see that Josh had painted the oven hood.

A great thanks to Gary and Janice, without whom, these projects would not have been completed.

so much for summer blogging

Apparently summer is over ?!?! I had intended to share home updates over the summer. Truth be told we didn’t make much progress over the summer. I’m not just saying that because I didn’t post anything, things pretty much came to a stand still.

There was lots of painting and carpet pulling, drape removal right as we moved in then the kids got out of school…So, here’s what we did…

Boys room update

As I mentioned in the previous post, we’ve been attempting forward progress on the house in spite of the limited time we’ve had to fully devote on getting settled. That being said, we got the boys room a bit more settled over the weekend. Enjoy this “before” and “after” shot of their room.


Their room is an outdoorsy/campy theme with vintage national park posters.The bed we’ve had for a couple of years, the bookcase too, the dressers were my grandmothers and Kieran’s birthday teepee is tucked into a corner.Their bedding was on sale from pottery barn teen the burton camp theme and overstock had these adorable eddie bauer camping sheets that I just couldn’t pass up.  My sister today found this nifty rug at Target to round out the look. Still needed are curtains for the windows and fine tuning storage in the room but its coming right along and most importantly, the boys love it.

I almost titled this post “swallowed by life” because that’s about the measure of things around here. Since my inlaws left and we started sleeping at the #elbonitofamilyhouse we’ve had just one thing after another. All the end of year school things, ceremonies, awards, sing a longs, last volunteering, field trips, extracurriculars like swim team, dance class and choir kept us busy. We also tried to keep forward progress on the house then you through in Conor got sick with a randon fever, Claire got strep throat and Conor again came down with a fever. But, I digress, I didn’t title this post swallowed by life, its called the rabbit trail of an old house.

When we started the move in process my dad and uncle decided the lighting in the garage redone but quickly discovered that the electrical in the house is not up to code so it was decided that whole house would be rewired. In order to have the wiring finished, the insulation in the attic needed to be moved. My dad and Josh were going to tackle that task but it quickly became apparent that it would take more time than either one of them had so, we brought in the professionals. Two very nice guys came and worked ALL DAY with a machine and hauled away bags and bags and bags of insulation. They discovered 1. a short in one of the bathroom fans and 2. the bathroom fans don’t vent to the outside, the vent to the attic which means drawing moisture into the attic, not something you want. So a roofer was brought in to consult and it was decided that not only did the fans need to be vented properly but that the original part of the house was also short on ventilation and  we needed to have “eyebrow” vents installed. Parallel to all of this was the purchase of a new oven. The old oven, a something and O’Keefe brand has been good to grammy through the years but now it smells like gas (a lot) every time you use it, not all the burners ignite, and it was mustard yellow…don’t believe me? Take a look…

A museum piece no? Ok so bye bye grey poupon oven. Hello my kenmore five burner range!


She’s pretty isn’t she? Its taken me almost no time to adjust to five burners instead of a nice space in between the burners. It doesn’t smell like gas so strongly when I use the range. Its even got a convection fan though I have yet to use that one. She’s such a pretty appliance you could almost overlook the fact that she sits four or five inches away from the wall. What? You say. Yes four or five inches from the wall. Grey poupon (previous oven) had a recess in the back that accommodated the gas line that came up from the floor. Five burners, well, she does not and did I think about that when I was oven shopping? No I did not. So thar she sits until we can get somebody out to fix the gas line…At least she looks good and works well.


First World Problems

Today started out like many others. Its the final day of May 2016. Summer is in the air. The kids were off to school. I was off to volunteer in Claire’s classroom for the final time this year. I was also waiting to hear from the property management group about our walk through time for our old place. It was bugging me that I hadn’t heard from them despite my phone calls and emails to set up a time but that’s another story. After two weeks of cleaning out the place I just wanted it all to be over and done so that nagging feeling in the back of my mind would go away.

Meanwhile, I had a “spare” hour and change between dropping everybody off and when I needed to be in Claire’s classroom. What did I do with my time? Well, I called our internet service provider to transfer our service. Here’s the problem, its never a short conversation for things such as this even with the most straightforward questions and I called from our “home” phone. Well in the middle of the call the customer service rep informed me that we could easily transfer our old service to our new place after we close out the service that already exists here. So she does that and the phone goes dead. (yay voice over internet phone service). Ok…so there wasn’t time to sort things out then, I did a rudimentary attempt at plugging in our london circle equipment here but of course it didn’t work. So, off to Claire’s class I went. While there the management company called and left a message about when we could do the walk through except the only time they offered was when I pick up the kids and go to swim. Here goes a big shout out to my dad who stood in for me at the walk through and even picked up a new air filter because that’s the one thing we forgot to do. Ok, Anyway, in between pick ups with Kieran and my niece happily playing away, I attempted to fix things with our internet. Well, that was another hour of life I can’t get back. At the end of the conversation the rep says I can’t help you I’m transferring you to David somebody only David somebody didn’t take my call and I got booted back to the original customer service automated assistant loop. So…I hung up. So now we’re down internet and phone service.

While I was at swim practice with the kids Josh took over attempting to restore our internet issues. I also took a phone call from the eletrician that’s rewiring the house that he would be back working tonight if that’s ok and would it be ok to have the power off for a bit? Oh sure, why not. So the kids and I come home to find Josh has now spent two hours of his own life trying to resolve something that this company just can’t resolve. For some reason we (Josh and I) were both really  stuck on getting our phone/internet restored. So COMCAST says not only can they fix us up with service tonight but the whole deal will be $40 less than we were quoted from that OTHER provider and 10 days earlier to boot. Ok, things are moving along and now they get really interesting.

While Josh was getting our equipment the kids and I grocery shopped for some essentials for lunches (and for dinner since our power was out at home). On the way home Josh called and said hey when you come home there’s four turkey, a deer and a skunk on the other side of the fence. I bet the kids would like to see it all. (You see where this is going don’t you?) When I arrived home the electrician showed me the spot on his hand where he happened upon the short  from our bathroom fan and burned his hand and had some copper wire stuck to it as well. Then the kids were in the yard looking for the wildlife. Then the dog came out and found the wildlife…IN our yard now. Lola the fearless cornered the skunk and you guessed it…she got sprayed. Not bad thank goodness and it was pretty funny watching Josh try to call her off (she would not be deterred).

Thank goodness for neighbors who have had similar skunk encounters and helped us with a recipe to fix Lola up (since our power was down and internet was out and we couldn’t look it up ourselves). So Lola is now squeaky clean and fixated on getting back into the yard. We get the kids cleaned up and off to bed an hour and a half later than usual. Kieran needed a little TLC as he was concerned the skunk was going to come in the house and skunk him. But they are all sleeping soundly and peacefully now.

Finally Josh and I (at 9pm) sat down to our own dinner of sandwiches. We set up the internet and it was simple as can be. We even chuckled about the day and how it had gone. Then he went to set up our TV and its broken. Screen is cracked internally, I don’t know how or why. Neither one of us can recall any “trauma” happening to it and it worked fine for the 20 minutes it was on this morning. So it is with this parting shot that we dished up ice cream, kicked up our feet and drown our troubles in sugar . I’m so thankful that, as Scarlet O’Hara says, “after all, tomorrow is another day.”




Hooray for the weekend and the blessing of an increased workforce. Extra Hooray for the goats that were pastured in our backyard, like right on the other side of our fence all afternoon and evening yesterday. Those goats saved my sanity yesterday.

When we arrived at the family house yesterday in the afternoon we were greeted by the bleating of many goats and sheep. During the fall and spring around town herds of goats can be seen roaming the hills chewing on anything they can get their mouths on and keeping weeds at a minimum in our town’s open spaces. Yesterday we hit the jackpot. This precious herd of goats provided a much needed distraction for my three kiddos that have been at each other a bit more than usual lately (I wonder why). The kids had a goat restaurant and even cleaned out some of the excess green waste in our yard by chucking it (with much giggling and glee) over the fence and feeding it to the greedy goats.  These shenanigans lasted for HOURS, it was awesome to hear giggling kids and bleating goats coming from the back yard.

Meanwhile, back in the house the grown ups worked their tails off. Dad was there painting the hall and stairwell. Josh got the living room cleared out enough for us to rip up the carpet. The boys took a brief hiatus from their goat whispering to get in on the carpet ripping action.

VOILA beautiful hardwood floor, they truly don’t make floor like this anymore. While the paint splatter that plagues us in Claire’s room is not present as much in this room, there are five small but significant gouges in the floor. Sigh. BUT the beauty and overall condition of these floors far outweighs the bit of trouble it will be to fix the gouges. Even the space where the floor furnace used to be was patched by using similar wood floor planks and doesn’t look too bad all things considered.

Once the floors were up it was time to pull staples. Those carpet staples multiply like rabbits. Even in Claire’s room where I’ve been over that floor multiple times removing paint, cleaning, etc. I’m still finding staples. So we ended our evening pulling staples and sweeping up carpet pad residue.

Today we accomplished the following:

  • hallway and stairwell paint
  • living room ceiling painted
  • Claire’s room cleaned and treated
  • paint colors selected for kitchen and dining room
  • gate built and installed
  • door installed between the woodshop and the great room downstairs.

Not a bad checklist for one day’s work eh? And we capped off a productive day with a celebration for the birthday boy who graciously spent his birthday working hard on his new house. Happy Birthday to my partner, Josh.