Monday, December 29, 2008

Tomorrow is Tile Tuesday

We are laying the tile on the floor and shower walls tomorrow. Who knew that the prep work would take so long and would be so much work?!

Here are a few of the things that my friend Leah and I have been doing the last few days:

1.) A trip to Lowe's to purchase all the supplies for tiling and preparing the walls and floor.

2.) We discovered that the demolition crew wasn't quite as finished as we thought, and that required several hours of us pounding and ripping drywall and removing nails from the upper shower area.

3.) We then had to start cutting and measuring the cement board, (AKA HardieBacker to the handy folks of the world!) This might SEEM like an easy step, but when you have an old house, measurements never seem to come out quite right. So there is lot's of measuring, cutting, hauling the piece of cement board back and forth between the bathroom and outside, and then re-measuring and re-cutting. Thankfully, that is done!

4.) Then all the seams had to be taped and sealed.

Here is Leah taping the seams. Oh yah, and we have a bath tub again! Just can't use it quite yet...the kids have been running around a bit stinkier than usual.

So pretty much Leah rocks and has some mad skills in the handy department. She will literally be saving us a couple thousand dollars with all the work she is helping me do. We will be heading to Home Depot at 7am tomorrow morning to rent a tile saw and we will be tiling until we finish. So it might be a really. long. day.

Of course, we have had lot's of other things going on besides our bathroom remodel. There was Christmas...hope everyone's was Merry! My Mom and Dad took Seth to a local outdoor mall to see live reindeer and other Christmas-y fun.

I will post Christmas pictures after we get this Tile Day over and done with. Must go to bed and rest up for a long day of manual labor :-)
I will leave you with a picture of my Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake I made for Christmas dinner at my Mom's. I got the recipe from
The Pioneer Woman's website, and it was quite tasty and not too shabby in the looks department either.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tile - Chosen and Purchased

The plumbers are here and think they will be finished by the time they leave today.  Hooray! That means we can start right after Christmas on the portion of the remodel we are doing ourselves (with the help of our ultra-handy friend Leah!)

We went and searched for tile on Saturday.  I finally settled on this really neutral ceramic tile that has the appearance of travertine stone.  There are two reasons it is better for us to use ceramic tile rather than actual Travertine: 1) Travertine is porous and uneven in texture, therefore it is harder to sweep and mop because things get caught in the crevices.  2) Ceramic is much cheaper!

So here is the tile.  We are putting 18x18 squares on the floor and 12x12 tiles in the shower.  

This is the sidesplash of the granite that is on the countertop of the vanity. The granite is really warm, so I liked how this neutral tile brought out the tan tones in the granite.

We are also going to do a row of accent tile at eye level on the shower wall. It will be a row, two or three tiles high, of this 2x2 accent tile.

In other words, we will cut this sheet of small tiles into either 2 or 3 rows and lay them side by side in a line.

Here are some examples of what an accent row of tile looks like in a shower:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fun Times with Father and Son

Steve and Seth using a head lamp to read "Go Dog, Go". 

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I am finally over my Vanity issues

Thanks to everyone who chimed in on the bathroom vanity choices.  About 80% of you preferred the black cabinets, and I was going to go in that direction. And then...I had a wrench thrown in my plan!

Because I found a different vanity than any I had posted that day.

And I loved it.

And I bought it.

I decided that black is popular, but warm wood is more "me". Almost everything in my home is warm tones, and when I saw this one, I knew it was the one! It has clean, simple lines and I feel like it is a classic piece that will not go out of style. It was delivered yesterday, and it is beautiful! It came completely assembled, and it weighs over 400 pounds. Yowzer.

Now I just have to pick tile that will match it for the flooring and the shower. So many choices, and I am not known for my decisiveness!

Here is the shower faucet I picked out this morning. Things are moving along!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Full Throttle Re-Model

It is upon us.  The bathroom re-model that we have been 
anxiously anticipating for months.

There is no turning back.  Not when your bathroom looks like this:

Here was our starting point.  
Seth is taking us on a tour through Pepto Bismol Land.  

"And here, ladies and gentlemen, we have more pink tile!"

Yes, there was a whole lotta' pink in this bathroom.  Pink floor tile, pink wall tile, pink countertop tile.  There actually used to be pink and white striped wall paper going from the tile line to the ceiling, but we got rid of that pretty soon after we moved in.  My friend Amy really liked the pink tile in a "vintage" sort of way.  Sorry Amy, I didn't save any for you!

(Side Note**- Click on Amy's name and head over to her blog to see information about the book that her and her husband Josh wrote called "From Ashes to Africa".  It tells the story of the adoption of their son Silas from Ethiopia and it will be out in March. We are so excited for them and are eagerly anticipating our copy!)

This is our friend Danny:

He owns a landscaping business (Ponds and Lawns if you live in the Collin County area) and it was too cold to work outside yesterday.  So he brought two of his guys over and they demolished the heck out of our bathroom in less than 4 hours.

Here are some pictures of the process:
Bye, bye pink tile.  We shed no tears for you.

So this is what it looks like currently:

It is a bit unsettling that the underbelly of our house is now exposed to our cozy, warm dwelling space. It is cold, drafty and downright scary under there. I have to keep Seth and Caleb from getting into that bathroom. Because if one of them decides to go exploring and crawls under the house (Caleb), Mama's not so sure she is going to go in after him!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Discounts - It Never Hurts to Ask

I learned two things this past week about discounts and I thought I would share the love.

#1 - Medical Bill Discounts

We know a little something about medical bills during this season of our lives. Between hearing tests that required anesthesia, ear tubes, stitches and emergency room visits, urgent care, and an unexpected root canal (all this in the last two months!) we have bills coming out the wazoo.

I was going to call and pay a bill over the phone this past Monday.  Before I called, my Mom had reminded me to ask if they would give me a discount.  That might sound funny, but I guess they have so many people who either don't pay or ask to pay maybe $25 per month from now until 2015 that they might give you a discount if you can pay in full.

So I called and asked, hoping but not really expecting, and after putting me on hold to speak to her manager, she came back with the good news: 30% discount!  This particular bill was for over $1000, so a 30% discount was a significant chunk of change.  Thanks for the reminder Mom!

So before you pay any medical bill, ask if they will give you a discount if you pay in full.

#2 - Online Shopping 

I have done some online shopping this Christmas season.  So convenient, no crowds to fight, no gas wasted driving around town.  And if you have to ship gifts to family members that live out of town or state (or country!) you might as well just pay the shipping once and have the company gift wrap it while they are at it!

I needed to order a gift from the site for my little cousin Gemma.  I picked out what I wanted to purchase, which was this baby feeding bowl made out of Cherry wood...

Pretty cute, huh?  (I hope Gemma's not reading this blog or she knows what she is getting for Christmas...)

Before I made the purchase, I did an online search for "Nova Natural Coupons".  I only had to click on two sites from the search results before I found one that had a coupon code for $5 off your first purchase at Nova!  Even if it says that the code has expired, try it anyways.  This one said it expired in 2007, but it still works.

Here are some other sites where you can find coupon codes for anything from discounted or free shipping at some of your favorite retailers, or a certain percentage off your total or specific items.  It never hurts to invest a few minutes on a Google search to see if you can get a better deal!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

California Moment #1

I have California stories to tell.  I just haven't seemed to have the time to tell them!  
I think I will tell them in little spurts, when I have a pocket of time here and there.

Moment #1 -  Steve and I took a scenic drive up Mt. Baldy which is a 10,000 ft. mountain that is practically in his Dad's backyard.  Every time we go up there, we take a picture by the same cluster of beautiful white barked trees.

Steve always tells me the story of when he took a group of kids (from the children's home we worked at) to Ice House Canyon on the way up to Mt. Baldy.  He almost lost one of the small ones in the snow that day.  It was one of those "What was I thinking bringing all those kids up here by myself that day for a hike in the snow" moments.

I always hope that the ski lift will be open the day we go up.  It never has been.  Someday...

We always marvel at all the houses along this steep, twisty road headed towards the top.  Most of them look like they are carved into the side of the mountain somehow.  The places they park their cars are feet away from sheer drop-offs that go hundreds of feet down.

We rescued a beautiful, squatty, droopy basset hound named Carlos from certain death on the curvy mountain road.  Well, maybe not certain death but it seems more dramatic to think of it like that.  He had wandered from his yard and we pulled over and helped him find his way home.

We pulled over at the "Scenic Overlooks" and took pictures...because that is what you do when you don't have any kids with you!

(We won't talk about how my head looks twice as big as Steve's in the above picture.  He said it had something to do with the lens and that my face is farther forward than his.  Thanks for covering for me, babe!)

Thanks Steve and Jacey for keeping the kids ALL DAY so we could have many fun adventures and recover from 3 days (and 3 sleepless nights) of a sick kiddo!

Friday, December 5, 2008

I Have Vanity Issues

Hee hee.

I still have not made my decision.  I went to the store today to look at the Black Vanity cabinet, which most people seemed to prefer.  I thought it would be made of solid wood.  It wasn't.  

Maybe I am asking for too much.  Maybe my expectations are too high.  So I poked around on the internet and found a few other options.  I have been emailing my girl friends like crazy and they have been patiently giving their opinions on each one I send them.  (You guys rock by the way!)

I promise I will let you know the one I end up choosing, and I just MIGHT post a few more to get a final vote on.

In fact, why don't I just go ahead and post one right here.  I know you have nothing better to do on your weekend than comment on bathroom vanities...

This is the one that I really like.  I have one hang-up - the way the sinks are mounted.  On most of the vanities that I have seen, the sinks are undermounted.  That means the entire surface top is smooth, one level.  On these, they are top-mounted which means there is a lip all the way around each sink.  I am just thinking that will be a booger to clean.

What do you think?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Need Serious Help....Please

We are about to remodel our hall bathroom.  This has been in the works for many moons, but we are actually, really, most likely about to (possibly) start. Our tub is leaking, and it is about to drive my husband loony!

So I need a vote, please.  I have determined that the first thing I must pick, before I pick the tile, wall colors, fixtures, etc is the vanity (fancy name for bathroom cabinetry).  Because I have waited until the last minute and the plumber will need to know where the sink pipes need to be, I have to have this picked out and purchased before the beginning of next week.  Therefore, I cannot pick one that has to be ordered. I must choose one that is in stock at the store.

Here are the ones that are available in the store.  Could you tell me which one (or two) you like the best and why?  I like certain ones for different reasons, but I really want something that is going to stand the test of time and not look "dated" in 5 years.

#1 - Black

#2 - Off White

#3 - Warm Wood

#4 - Honey

Here is the granite top that I have picked out. It is neutral so I think it will go with all of these cabinets.

**Scar Update**

We have been thrilled at the way Caleb's cut has been healing.  He got his stitches out two weeks ago today, and the scar is already looking really good. Everyone sings the praises of Mederma, so we have been putting that on twice a day since the stitches came out.

Mr. Sensitive wasn't really, well, "sensitive"...but he obviously knew what he was doing when he stitched Caleb up.  There isn't even the slightest bump where the scar is.  It is perfectly smooth.

So here is what Caleb's scar is looking like over the past week.

I can't believe it was only 2 1/2 weeks ago that it looked like this!

Sorry to put you through that again. I will leave you with a more pleasant image...

Oh, to be four again.