Before & Progress: Dining Room

faux grey wainscoting dining room
I've already shown my master bath, my living room, and my master bedroom, and with most of those rooms it was pretty easy to make them look practically finished (which they are), but now we're going to start to get into rooms that are going to look more progress-y.

Anyway, here are the before pictures. Yes, that's shag carpet in the dining room.

dining room before
You'll notice that I kept the chandelier, and that the doors have fun old molding, but the window does not (that is, if you can see the window under the frilly curtains).

dining room before wallpaper
The first thing we did was fulfill a dream of mine to have built-in bookshelves and a window seat. Those built-ins are 73% full of Woo's record collection.

This record collection and where it should live have been a source of marital discord for years. But now? No more.

Thank you, built-ins!

built-in bookshelf record collection
Yes, I did paint the doors in this room a bright, chartreuse green. And yes, I kind of like them. So sue me.

bright chartreuse green door grey dining room
I made a pad for my window seat, but it really needs a couple more throw pillows to look good. You may be asking yourself why I didn't just run out and buy a couple of pillows before taking pictures.

The answer is: I tried, but no one was carrying brightly colored pillows.

I wonder why? It's almost as if neutrals and muted colors sell.

window seat
This room is so close, I can almost taste it. The faux wainscoting needs a little work, we're in desperate need of a bigger (and nicer) table, some more pillows, some more art, and we're done!

Pssst -- checkout the dining room now, and don't forget to sneak a peak at the other rooms in The Pad!


Ruby Valentine --- Heartbreaker?

little girl short hair
This evening after dinner we all went on a pleasant stroll about town.

We passed the Griggs.

A little boy Ruby's age stepped out on the porch. "Hi Watson!" (His name's actually Winston ... she can never get it right.) He broke out in a smile and was about to respond, but turned sheepish, gave a little tug to his shirt, and suddenly realized that he wasn't wearing any pants.

He was quickly hidden behind a pillar after a swift turn and a few hops, but the turn unfortunately revealed that he was wearing a diaper?! He apparently felt safe behind the pillar because his top half soon emerged waving wildly and yelling "Hi, Ruby!"

We continued on.

After about a block we were passed by another little boy Ruby's age on a tiny motorcycle.

The next time he buzzed past he gave us all a hard look. And we gave him one.

The third time he passed he yelled, "Watch this, Ruby!"

After we'd deciphered what he'd said, Woo asked, "Is he showing off?"

And yes, yes he was.

He buzzed by several times, every time narrowly avoiding wrecks after doing something crazy like putting both his legs out spread eagle or raising both arms in the air, simultaneously yelling, "Hi, Ruby!"

We never could figure out who he was because he was wearing a full face helmet, and the mystery was engrossing Ruby for the rest of the evening.

Woo: I'm sorry, Ruby. You're much more likely to end up with the nerd without the pants, but know that whomever you choose, we're pleased. Very pleased.


Grandma to the Rescue!

family picture 80s
(Dad, Jos, Mom, Tys, Me)

Josey was being potty trained. Dad sat him on the toilet, told me not to move him and left. The problem was ... Josey was crying.

A lot.

He said he was stuck and wanted me to help him off. I pulled his arms, but his bum was down in the hole, and I wasn't strong enough to lift him out. Tyson was with me, but even with both of us, we couldn't do it.

Tyson panicked. Josey was terrified. I thought it was a crisis.

So, I did what anyone does in a time of crisis: I called Grandma.

She arrived minutes later to pull Josey out. Dad arrived immediately after that, and he was mad (I guess I missed the part where he'd told me he'd be down the street at the neighbors and would be home soon).

I remember being confused when he was telling people about it a few days later and laughing.



Herbie's picked out quite the girl for himself.
Herbie (coming in the door from school): Guess who picked out my library book today?
Me: Divinity?
Herbie: Yes!

What's next? His clothes?
Herbie (sheepishly admitting to me that he can't jump rope): Divinity can teach me! She's really good, Mom! She jumps like this (crosses arms).

That's pretty advanced for a kindergartner, isn't it? Or have I just not pushed my kids in the jump roping arena like I should have?

Linus thinks that going outside is the bees knees. He's trots to the door, a huge smile across his face, with anticipation whenever anyone is leaving, and so often ends up disappointed. He's still too young for me to feel comfortable letting him out there without Mom or Dad. But, he has gotten pretty good at sneaking out the door before Moses can shut it. I usually catch him on the steps.

Friday I headed out to pick up Herbie from the bus stop and Linus and Moses were already outside. Linus was wearing Herbie's church shoes, which were so hard for him to keep on his feet while walking that he was clinging to the side of the house, inching around the corner.

Moses is fortunate enough to have a surplus of clothes that he really likes. It's hard for him to decide what it is he wants to wear, but he solves this dilemma by wearing several shirts, pairs of underwear, and sometimes pants at once. One morning, after noticing him moving awkwardly, I discovered that he was wearing 7 pairs of underwear!

Ruby appeared to be doing well Sunday, so we sent her to school Monday. That was a mistake. She was totally wiped out when she came home and almost immediately fell asleep on the living room floor. Tuesday was a miserable day for her, and we kept her home again Wednesday just to be sure. She felt a lot better, but we insisted that she take it very easy. Good thing she likes to read.

A nice thing I've noticed about Ruby? When kids are quarreling, and I ask them to say something nice about each other, Ruby always goes first and comes up with something new and substantial every time. It really helps diffuse the other kids.

I hear Penelope trying to imitate our words occasionally. They're not intelligible, but they're the right pitch and rhythm. I think we're going to have another situation like we had with Herbie learning to talk just following Ruby. This time it will be Penelope not being far behind Linus.

Woo finally finished Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling this week. He was pretty proud of himself, (It's a big book!), and immediately checked out a couple more church history books. He's already a good way into Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith. The weather's been warm, and the days are longer. He enjoys a couple of hours of reading out in the hammock after the kids go to bed.

For months I've had the goal of starting on the kitchen in March. I wanted a couple of weeks to wrap up a few loose ends: I finished painting the trim in the living room and did some sewing. Woo made a trip to Lowe's for most of the supplies we needed. And then ... I decided to start a blog. I'm not really sure why, but that's what I've been spending my free minutes on for the last week and half. I'll start the kitchen in April? Actually, I think I can start next week. Now that the blog is set up, I don't think it will be much work. I'm sitting on 4+ years worth of written material (aka my emails) and 7+ years worth of pictures. I can whip out a post in 10 minutes or less.


Does Your Big Brother

toddler baby
hair in eyes
pink cheeks
sibling rivalry
harass you too?


Before & Progress: Master Bedroom

four poster bed white ikea
Our bedroom was in pretty bad condition when we moved in.

master bed before
Do you see that closet? It was made of 2x4s in the shoddiest way possible. I wanted that down immediately! See that scary looking dark stuff where the wall meets the ceiling? Sawdust. Turns out that's what they used for insulation a million years ago. Our ceilings are dropped about 2 ft., and that space was packed with sawdust.

We also had some pretty serious cracks in the plaster.

cracked plaster
This is just a shot of the other side of the room.

before wallpaper
I'd had my eye on this gold chrysanthemum wallpaper, thanks, in part, to MakingItLovely's dining room, and I originally thought that I could put it in the dining room too.

But, then I remembered that I have a bunch of little kids, and it would inevitably get scribbled on or food spilled on it, so I settled for the master bedroom (where the kids are on invitation-only status).

chrysanthemum gold wallpaper
We replaced that old closet with this nice built-in closet. It spans that whole wall (There's two more sections to the left of the door.)

built-in closet
Once I got those lacy curtains off, this room also had a huge transom window that lets in lots of light, and has the old, original window trim.

transom window victorian window trim



Tales of Daring: The High Dive

kindergarten class picture
(Kindergarten Lyndy)

Lyndy could "swim" when she was very young. I don't remember exactly how old she was (3ish?), but a lot younger than most kids.

We loved to encourage her to jump off the high dive, because we loved watching the life guards get nervous and move to the edge of their seats. She put on a good show by acting like she didn't know what she was doing every single time she did it. Every eye in the deep end would be on her tiny form as she shuffled to the end of the board, paused for effect, and fell like a deadweight off the edge.

There was visible relief when she finally came up for air, but no one was entirely comfortable until she'd made it to the side (paddling mostly underwater, just coming up for air). She occasionally got rounds of applause.

We were so proud.


Bums and More Bums

Herbie's really taken a liking to dancing the last week or two. One night before dinner he was shakin' it to his favorite song, High Five!, when he yells at me,
"Mom, put your hand on your bum!"
"Mom, put your hand on your bum!"
"Like this!"
He enthusiastically slapped his bum over and over (unfortunately, not with the rhythm at all...).

I guess I have Woo to thank for teaching him that move while I've been gone? He's really going to be quite the lady killer.

And, you knew this one was coming:
Ruby (eyeing me critically): Mom, you have a big bum!
Herbie (running in as if he's missing something): I want to see your big bum, Mom!



Before & Progress: Living Room

purple living room
When most people ask themselves, "What color should I paint my living room?" they don't usually pick purple.

Which is part of the reason I did.

I had originally planned on a light turquoise/teal/aqua, but that was the color of our living room in our old house, and I was ready for something new.

Most pictures I'd seen of purple rooms looked terrible, but I'd seen one picture (that I could never find again) that was a dream. I tried to match that picture.

Here's what the living room looked like when we bought the house:

Would you have bought this house? No?

I wouldn't have either, but that's a story for another day.

Almost everyone says, "Oh, It's purple!" the second they walk into our house for the first time. Then they say that they like it, which, of course, they have to whether they do or not, after they've already commented on it.

We put in crown molding and a picture rail molding (which I never even knew existed until I started reading Nicole Balch's Making it Lovely blog), and the fine folks at Young House Love taught me how to hang curtains to make the windows look bigger.

picture rail purple living room
The gossip bench is a craigslist find that I repainted and recovered.

gossip bench
I also know that everyone says that you're supposed to paint your ceilings a light color; otherwise, it looks like the ceiling's falling in on you.

But I had a vision, and I went with it, dang it! And in this case, it totally works. You probably can tell that we have pretty high ceilings. The darker color just draws your eyes up there, and your mind thinks, "Hey, there's the ceiling! Whoa, it's pretty high!"

crown molding purple living room
For being 100 years old, our house didn't have a ton of awesome architectural details. We've had to add a lot of them ourselves, but this arched doorway was here, and I like it a lot.

arched doorway purple living room

This little built-in bookshelf was also here, and it's been kind of fun; although, I'm not 100% set on the way they're loaded up (the bottom shelf needs a tiny bit more, for example).

built in bookcase purple living room