Oh BOY!

Looks like we’re officially expecting a little man this July!  This also means first baby pics!  Wheeeee!

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I am notoriously bad at deciphering ultrasound images, but I could usually figure out the head and spine.  Once the tech started pointing out the stomach and kidneys….. um, sure.

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I just think this shot’s kind of hilarious.  This is a frontal view of the face and if you look for it you can see the left eyeball, the nasal cavity, and the mouth open in a fish-faced little pucker.

Everything’s looking normal for the kiddo, but I do need to go back in another 4-6 weeks for them to check if I may have Oligohydramnios (ie Big Scary Word Thing that may or may not be an issue). In the meantime I’ll just be trying to drink water like it’s going out of style.

Now that we know the gender, I can finally get cracking on the nursery design!  My current inspiration is a selection of Yago Partal’s Zoo Portraits.  I picked up a calendar a few years back just to dissect it for the artwork (calendars are an awesome source of cheap art!).  We had them in the hallway in our apartment, but I think they’re awesome for a baby room–whimsical, but not overly cutesy.  It’s harder to find bedding to coordinate with art than vice-versa so the prints may possibly get swapped out.  We’ll see…

Next week my dad and brother-in-law are coming to work on the nursery.  All the drywall is up on the walls, but we still have to tape and mud (and sand and mud and sand and mud), and do the whole ceiling.  It also looks like we’re going to have to route some custom casings, because despite the fact that the door and window casings in this house are the simplest design ever (apart from just a plain 1×6) they are impossible to find.*  Hopefully my dad will save the day with his router!  This also means we should have actual house stuff to show in the near future! Woot!

 

*We found something really close once, but despite the fact that it was the company’s standard back-cut knife, there would be $200 setup fee plus the cost of materials.  For 2 doors and 2 windows (and only the vertical casings) that seemed excessive, so we’re DIYing this shit!

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Slice of Life: Bad Advice Division

Me: I don’t think [brother-in-law] is going to take my crappy parenting advice.  He was wondering what to do about an 8 year old who won’t stop asking questions, so I suggested “why don’t you turn it into the game of questions?”

Matt: What’s the game of questions?

Me: You mean you don’t know?

Matt: Should I?

Me: Do I need to look everything up for you?

Matt: Don’t you always?

Me: Aren’t you an adult?

Matt: …

 

Winner: Me,  Loser: Probably our kid

Random Thoughts I Had This Week

I’ve been a little ADD this week for some reason.  My best guess is that my energy level is finally going up and just hit me a little too fast to process.  I actually started writing this post when I was supposed to be finishing up previous one.  That one got posted a day later than planned and I kept adding to this because I don’t do Twitter.


There were some reps from Lifetime Fitness in our lobby at work today.  They were advertising free seminars on sugar and carbs.  I considered asking if there would be free samples.

I’m pretty sure Mort falls pretty low on the emotional intelligence scale.  He’ll try and play with Schmutz, she’ll get all pissy, flatten her ears down and growl at him like she wants rip his throat out.  And then he just stares at her in mild confusion and tries to play with her again. Aren’t you supposed to be able to understand the body language of your own species?  It’s like if someone was brandishing a knife at me screaming “Die bitch die!” and I was all “Let me give you a hug and we can be besties!”

Every single stupid person I’ve encountered in the last week has been from Portland.*  I’ve never been to Portland, but based on current experience I can only assume that it really needs to get its shit together.  And maybe put more birds on things.

I want to quite my job and design non-crappy ceiling fans.  Really.

Matt started to have a small freak out about having everything ready for the baby.  I am so not used to being the calm, rational one in our relationship.  It was mildly unsettling.

Against my better judgement, I got sucked into a political argument on Facebook. What outraged me the most was that someone replied to me and clearly did not understand how quotations work (she also missed my point entirely, but that seemed like the smaller issue).  I was all ready to reply to her with just a link to the “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotations Marks, but then the thread got deleted.  It was probably for the best.

Actually, any time I get sucked into a crazy political discussion that gets to the point where people aren’t even trying to acknowledge there are other viewpoints besides theirs and all I’m doing is repeating myself and I should just stop except now I’m pissed and have some irrational desire to have the last word even though I know it’s really pointless… then I think I should reply with a link to Wil Wheaton collating paper.  If you want to steal this idea, feel free to substitute whatever random link you choose.  It just has to leave people questioning “wtf just happened here?” If I get sucked into a real life discussion that deteriorates that far, I’m just going to scream “THIS IS HOW SOCIETY BREAKS DOWN!” and run away before anyone can respond.

I thought first baby kicks were supposed to be all soft and bubbly like “butterflies” or “popcorn popping” according to the books.  I started thinking I was having crazy muscle spasms or something because it kept feeling like I was getting elbowed in the abdomen, only the calls were coming from inside the house. I asked about it was told, nope, that sounds likes baby kicks. I’m a little afraid of what this is going to feel like once the kid is larger than a potato.

Matt thought the baby kicks sounded adorable, so I started elbowing him in the stomach.

While sitting at the table I suddenly became convinced that I had broken a rib.  Apparently spontaneous rib dislocation is skipped in all the pregnancy books.  Instead they waste their time talking about butterfly-like kicking.

On my drive into work today I was behind a truck with both a “Flammable Gasses” and “Non-Flammable Gasses” sign attached to it.  That’s a pretty serious mixed message.

Netflix emailed me telling me they just added a TV show they think I’d like: Ultimate Beastmaster.  Given that I mostly watch nature documentaries or crime shows, I think either they’re really confused or this show has a way more violent ending than it sounds.  It’s also possible they know about all those Saturdays I spent binge-watching Ninja Warrior marathons on cable.

I have a WordPress plugin that judges the “readability” of my posts.  They’re rarely rated as “good” and it tells me I use the passive voice too much.  Well, I live in Minnesota, we’re supposed to be passive.  If you don’t like it I may have to leave a politely worded sticky note implying that you should bugger off.  Please.

Facebook could be vastly improved if it gave you the following options when you choose to hide a post:

  • I don’t care what pages my friends like
  • I don’t care about people I don’t actually know
  • This is bullshit and I don’t want to see it

I just bought a pair of jeggings.  Don’t judge me.

 

*If you’re from Portland, I’m sorry.  I’m not saying everyone in Portland is stupid, it just seems like some sort of idiot virus broke out over there in the last week.  You may want to take some precautions before you catch it too.  Or before it spreads. 

Presidents Day Dry-walling

Last year we went to Vegas with some friends for the Presidents Day/Valentines Day weekend.  This year, we dry-walled a nursery.

Well, we started dry-walling a nursery.

Yes, getting older can be a little lame.  Like I tend to tell people though, I’ve never been cool a day in my life and don’t intend to start now.  So yeah, dry-walling.

nursery1

As a quick refresher, this is where we were at with the nursery.  We had ripped out the gross ceiling tiles, the lame trim, the prison-esque light fixture, and the grody paneling.  I voted to just hire someone to come in and skim-coat ALL THE THINGS but Matt wanted to just re-drywall.  It’s definitely cheaper so I didn’t argue too much.

Last weekend we headed to Menards, rented a truck, and bought a crap-ton of 1/4″ drywall.  We opted for 1/4″ because we weren’t ripping out the existing plaster and wanted to minimize extra bulk.  I helped Matt haul this into our house, all the while thinking I’d fall, have to call the emergency mid-wife line and explain to them that I slipped on some ice while carrying drywall because the first thing we decided to do after finding out I was pregnant was to demo an entire room.  Thankfully I remained upright and told Matt he would need a different assistant to help haul the sheets up the stairs.*

One of the issues with adding a layer of drywall was that door frames would be a little awkward.  If you drywall up to the edge of the door, you’re stuck with a bare edge of edge of drywall.

drywallNusery1

Ew ideed.

To solve the problem (without redoing the entire door frame) we bought 1/4″ strips of wood to frame out the openings first, and then butt the drywall up against the wood.

drywallNursery5

The change in materials (and the gap) won’t be an issue because we’ll be adding new trim to the entire room as well, so all we need is an even surface. Once the rest of the doorframe gets painted, you’ll never even know it was there.

Speaking of even, have I mentioned that old houses are not even remotely square?  Yeah.  We’ve got some seriously half-assed looking drywall happening in here.

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Although it’s hard to tell from the picture, so feel free to think of us as drywall masters.  We’re cool with that.

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…but I’m honest, so here’s a close-up of the piece above the window.  It is the exact same length as the piece below the window that has nice, tight seams.  This is what happens when you assume things are even.  Except you really only make an ass out of u, because if me had been there I would have put a stop to these shenanigans because I know not to trust old houses.

Aaaanyway…. We can get away with some half-ass-ery because we’re dry-walling over an existing solid wall rather than bare studs.  This is also why we opted to hang the sheets vertically instead of horizontally.  I usually see drywall hung horizontally so I researched it a bit and the conclusion seemed to be that it doesn’t matter a lot, but horizontal hanging will be a little more structurally sound.  Well, we already had existing walls, so that I wasn’t a huge issue for us.  It was easier to hang the sheets vertically, so we went with that.

drywallNursery2

The drywall sheets were 4’x8′ and the ceilings were about 8’3″ tall.  We’re planning on installing baseboards that are taller that 3″ so the bottom seam wouldn’t be issue.  We grabbed a couple scrap 2×4’s (thanks to the brilliance that is modern lumber dimensions, 2=1.5) and were able to prop the sheet up so it would sit even with the ceiling while we screwed it in.

So now we’re almost half way done with the walls!  There’s still the other half, plus the ceiling, plus all the mudding/taping/sanding.  We’ve recruited my dad and brother-in-law to come help in mid-March so we should see a big chunk of progress made then.  I’m planning on haz-matting myself up and diving in too because I start getting twitchy if I see people doing things that aren’t up to my standards.**  I’m mostly concerned about all the dust from sanding (since I’m already asthmatic and prone to bronchitis) but I figure a heavy-duty mask and a sander that attaches to a shop-vac should leave me pretty safe in that area.

 

*He opted to do it himself and as a result we have two more broken picture frames.

**Drywall joints pre-compound are clearly not one of my higher standards

 

 

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First IKEA Run of 2017!

After Matt broke one of my picture frames from our gallery wall I’ve been meaning to get out to IKEA for a replacement.  In the meantime I also managed to convince him that we should replace the beige couch* and discovered a sale on their PAX wardrobe line (which we were already planning on getting).  So we just decided to make one giant (read:expensive) trip.

We’re a compact car family so we opted for the delivery service.  We even lucked out and were in Zone A so it was a flat $59 for anything we wanted delivered. Plus the delivery service would leave the items in the room of your choosing.  No man-handling PAX parts up our stairs for me!  Sold!

I usually try to avoid IKEA on the weekends, but the Sunday we went wasn’t too bad.  We had a specific plan and weren’t really browsing for anything else (although we did end up with a full-length mirror because such is the nature of IKEA).  I used their in-store PAX planner because for some reason it’s super slow to load at home.  This was the most time consuming part of the trip and I started steadily feeling crappy.  After you have a PAX plan an employee will type up an order slip, but as soon as we were done with our plan the nearby employees had vanished (it was busy, I get it).  I sent Matt off to find someone and collapsed on a nearby ottoman.

I must have looked pretty awful at this point because a random man came up and asked me if I was ok.  “Just pregnant and miserable, but otherwise fine.” was my reply.  “Ah.”  He said knowingly. “Migraines?  My wife had horrible migraines.”  I’m pretty sure I just got more sympathy from a total stranger than I have from my husband…. although he’s now afraid to offer any help to me because he’s afraid I may misinterpret it as coddling and get pissed.  Poor guy can’t win.

After getting our PAX order together we were informed we had to go back to the kitchen section to get the door hardware, but everything else would be pulled for us.  It had been a rough weekend for me so I seriously considered passing out on one of the beds and letting Matt wander back through half the store to get back to the kitchen section.  I womaned it up though and went with him.

We also decided to replace the Beige Couch of Boring.  It was a super comfy couch, but I’m pretty much programed to hate beige.  Plus the size and style just weren’t working for me.  We decided to go with the Karlstad sofa because we figure with kids on the way we don’t have to worry about it getting destroyed.  Plus, every square inch of the cover can be removed an washed.  Win.

We were able to get same-day delivery (woot!) but I wasn’t going to deal with same-day assembly.  Unfortunately, this meant dealing with assembly after work during the week.  Because Matt’s a sweetie, we assembled the couch first.  Because Matt is considerably less pregnant than me, he then decided to assemble the PAX that same night while I tested out the nap-ability of the new couch (verdict: little hard, needs breaking in).

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The couch looks solidly IKEA at the moment, but not to worry, I’ve got plans to hack this puppy!  The smaller, more open profile is definitely a win for the space.

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Hey look, Matt has a closet!  In the bedroom!  It actually even gives him more space than the closet he was using previously.  More wins!  Since I was napping and not supervising, he managed to break one of the rods and lose a hinge.  2017 has not been a good year for Matt’s DIY record….  We seriously tore the bedroom apart looking for the missing hinge and can’t find it.  It’s big enough that we would have heard the cats playing with it if they had batted it off.

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The most exciting part of assembling this was getting it level.  The PAX frame has little feet behind the bottom edge in the corners that you can adjust… but they assume your floor is only a little unlevel.  Anyone who’s even lived in a old house know words like “level,” “square,” and “standard size” are words that will no longer appear in your vocabulary.  Instead this thing got leveled by jamming a 1×2 under one corner.  Good times.

While we were at IKEA I was debating between the BERGSBO and TYSSEDAL doors.  The TYSSEDALs were about twice as pricey and I while I thought they were slightly nicer, I didn’t think they were twice-the-price-nicer so we went with BERGSBO.  Then Matt assembled everything….

But because I’m a genius, I forgot to take a picture of assembly round 1. We got them up, I stared at them for a couple days, and then decided they weren’t right for the room.  The paneled doors and detailed trim of the house just wasn’t working with the bare-bones shaker-style doors on the wardrobe. Luckily, the doors fit into our car (hatchbacks FTW!) so we hauled them back and exchanged them.  Oh, and we picked up another pack of hinges because a week later we still hadn’t found the lost one.

The TYSSEDALs have some beveling similar to the house’s interior doors and work MUCH better.  I also finally got a nice, chunky, full-sized mirror.  It only took Matt about 20 holes in the wall to get it hung!  This one’s not even his fault! A 100+ year old house means lathe-and-plaster construction for the walls.  While there still are studs, the extra bulk over them makes stud-finders useless.  the only thing to do is drill a bunch a tiny holes until you feel a stud and then patch them all later.  Fun times, right?

Our dressers replaced our nightstands (which you can see a bit in the reflection) but I’m not showing pics of the whole room because it’s not super clean and is also incredibly bland at the moment.  Like most rooms in the house, it’s on the to-do list.  At least we’ve upped the functionality!

 

*Anyone in the Twin Cities area looking for a couch?  The main reason we’re getting rid of it is because I HATE beige.  It’s also a little too chunky for our space.  It’s up on Craiglist right now so if you’re in the area let me know and I’ll share the link.

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Slice of Life: Parenting Wins

I had my second prenatal visit about a week ago.  Kid still has a heartbeat which has got to make us parents of the year or something (don’t set the bar too high and you’ll always feel good about yourself!).

This past week one of the (male) cafeteria employees at work asked me if I was pregnant.  I debated for a split second about answering with “no, I’m just fat” but decided not to be a total asshole.  I’m growing as a person. Plus, this guy keeps me in french fries so it’s best to stay on his good side.  I still need to ask him what he would have done if I had said no…  It’s generally considered unwise to ask a women if she’s pregnant, but I suppose I was waiting there with my hand on my 4-month-belly looking like I was about to puke so the question wasn’t totally out of the blue.

Also this past week I had a major pregnancy epiphany.  Technically I’ve got 2 hearts at the moment–I’m a Time Lord!  er… Lady.  Now where’s my TARDIS?  I REALLY wish I had thought of this at my first appointment when we got to hear the heartbeat for the first time.  The midwife probably would have thought I was absolutely nuts (not that she would have been wrong…).

And finally… we were out at breakfast yesterday and there was a soccer game on that Matt was half paying attention to.

Matt (watching an “injury”): Magic spray!
Me: You’re going to use that on our kid, aren’t you? They bump their head–magic spray!
Matt: That’s brilliant!
Me: We’d really just need a little spray bottle filled with water… I’m not opposed to this.
Matt: No way, I want the official EPL** Magic Spray!
Me: Good lord, I’ll make a fancy label for the bottle.
*If you never watch soccer, pretty much any time there’s an “injury” (ie someone pretends they’ve suffered extreme bodily harm in the hopes that the other team gets a penalty) someone inevitably comes out and sprays the afflicted area with “magic spray.”  I think it’s Windex.
**English Premier League

Flat-Pack & Vintage is Expanding!

Well, at least I am…. literally!  Matt and I are super excited to announce that we’re expecting a new addition to our family in July!

Which also means that this…

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… is the future baby room. (and yes, this picture was taken today)

Will we get it done in time?

Will I give up and say “screw it, kid can sleep in a box, I want ice cream”?*

Will I whack Matt with a crowbar for treating me like a fragile flower?**

Will I have to trust Matt to handle painting projects?***

Stay tuned….. same Bat Time.  Same Bat Channel.

 

If you’re interested in the details (if not, skip down to the next break, it’s cool), I’m officially in my second trimester as of today.  Woot!  According to different trackers baby is the size of a beet, a lemon, a cupcake…. or a mouse?  Either that’s some tiny produce (and mini cupcake) or someone out there gets some ginormous mice…. I also feel like the produce comparisons are kind of weird because there’s such a wide variation in sizes.  Twin Cities peeps, if you’ve been to Lunds and Byerlys you know there are lemons out there the size of naval oranges.  Anyway… there’s a baby, it’s the size of a something and it’s continuing to get bigger so wearing jeans kinda sucks, even with a belly band thingy.  I still maintain that leggings are not a proper substitute for pants unless your ass is covered.  Luckily I tend to like tunic tops anyway, so I’m in the clear of my own personal prudishness.

I seem to have lucked out with my first trimester in that I never got bad morning sickness, although I tended to feel pretty gross in the evenings.  Sources seem to say I should be feeling mostly normal again around now, but actually this last week has kind of sucked and been filled with day-long bouts of dry-heaving.  Hopefully that will end soon (it sounds like 16 weeks is the sweet spot for the majority of people… please?).  I know it could be way worse, but I’m still feeling ucky enough to be generally uncomfortable.

In terms of plans for the blog… yes, there will be baby stuff happening but I still plan to focus primarily on design and DIY.  The current project though is obviously the nursery (I’ve always wanted to design a baby room!).  As a first time mum though, I obviously have no frickin clue what I’m doing (I didn’t even hold an infant until my mid-twenties!) so I’m clearly not one to be doling out advice.  Babies are exciting though so he/she will definitely be making an appearance here and I’m sure I’ll be sharing both my excitements and epic failures, because, let’s face it, life is filled with both.

 

And because I’m just full of news today, we have a more recent addition to the household as well.

Meet Mort.

MeetMort

We adopted a new sweet little boy cat (age 2-3 years) to hopefully be a companion for Schmutz.  She’s still pretty pissy but slowly (very slowly) coming around.  Mort is an absolute sweetie who loves snuggles and following me around… Matt might be a tad jealous because we seem to have ended up with another mama’s boy.  He’s also spent a large part of this morning chasing his own tail so he’s a bit of a goofball.  Mort’s very interested in Schmutz and we’re hoping she’s more friendly with him by the time the baby comes because that’s going to be pretty hard on our little furry diva too.

 

* Not gonna lie, this is a real possibility.  I stared at a BOGO ice cream sale at the grocery store for a full five minutes before convincing myself I could in fact live without it.  I was always told being an adult would come with hard choices.

** And then take a nap because hefting a crowbar is a lot of work and man am I tired.

*** Thankfully this sounds like a no since interior paint is almost all low VOC now.

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Shit My Husband Broke This Weekend

Matt decided to get his DIY on this weekend, which is general is awesome!  This time though… he was a little off his game.

Project 1: Fix the leaky radiator

The radiator in our dining room had a small leak.  Nothing super noticeable, but it was causing some rust on the pipe and, because radiator systems rely on pressure, was also causing some issues with the radiators on the upper floors.  So Matt did some research and decided to try a fix with epoxy putty and fiberglass tape.  “I don’t know if it will work, but it can’t possibly make it worse” was basically his mantra.

Except it made things worse.

I wasn’t supervising watching his progress, but he had to chip off some paint to get the putty to adhere.  Paint that had been partially sealing the leak.  And then the epoxy and fiberglass didn’t really do anything (except look awful) so we just ended up with a slightly larger leak.

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I don’t have a before picture because I wasn’t expecting this to be a big deal, but this is the aftermath.  I told him he wasn’t allowed to “fix” anything else this weekend.

Project 2: Study Demo + Outlet Replacement

We’ve been steadily ripping out the paneling in the study and were down to the last wall this weekend!  The only annoying thing so far is that the outlets in the room were installed over the paneling, so they needed to be removed in order to take the paneling off. Which means once the panels were off we had to put the outlets back in, but properly this time.

Matt picked up new electrical boxes that could be secured to studs (so they wouldn’t be wibbly-wobbly).  To reach the studs he had to cut through some of the old plaster and lath.  He was pretty excited because he got to bust out the reciprocating saw we got for Christmas.

The first outlet went smoothly… but the second.  Well, I was downstairs and heard a crash.  I shouted up that I didn’t want to know about it, but I found out anyway.  He was cutting a new opening for the outlet on the wall that runs along the stairs.  The wall where we had recently hung a gallery wall.  A gallery wall I was planning on photographing that same day.  If you’re unfamiliar with reciprocating saws, they create a lot of vibration.  Vibration doesn’t mix well with wall art and one of the pictures came crashing down off the wall.

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Yeah. There goes my project for the weekend.  I made him take down the rest of the art before continuing and he made it through the rest of the project without destroying the house.

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Pantone Color of the Year 2017: Greenery

If you’re more on top of things than I am at the moment, Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year is probably old news.  I’m super excited about this year’s choice though!  No offense Pantone, but last year’s colors were kind of bland… and essentially baby boy blue and baby girl pink.  This year though, they’ve given us Greenery.

Pantone Greenery 2017
Pantone 2017 Color of the Year

I happen to love green.  I loved the year of Emerald (2013) and now we have Emerald’s fresher younger cousin!

If you happen to hate green, that’s cool.  You’re not under any obligation to use or even like the Color of the Year (I pretty much ignored both of them last year…).  What it means for the green-lovers out there though is that we should be see a lot of bright, springy green popping up in stores.

Here’s a like green inspiration to help kick off your year.

pretty colors for your walls — MFAMB :: My Favorite And My Best:
Via MFAMB

There is, of course, slapping that sucker right up on your walls!  I love how they worked a gallery wall in with a bold color here.  You need to be aware of the colors in the the art you’re using for it to really look polished with a bold background, but if you have a lot of black-and-white art it’s pretty much guaranteed to look smashing.

Botanical love seat.:
Via Marks & Spencer

If you’re really gung-ho for green you can also just completely immerse yourself in it.  If you’re going for a monochromatic palette, just make sure to bring in plenty of texture to keep it from looking flat.

The 32 most beautiful kitchens in Vogue to inspire:
Via Vogue

Some people are afraid to bring color to their kitchen cabinets. I get it, it’s a lot of work to repaint it all and, let’s face it, color trends (and our own personal preferences) come and go.  If you don’t mind the elbow grease, adding a punch of color to kitchen can look pretty amazing.  Heck, if you have an island, just making that a bright focal point could really bump your kitchen to the next level!

Welsh House | Ben Pentreath Ltd.
Via Ben Pentreath

Another one not for the faint of heart… Not gonna lie, painting trim is beastly!  I can guarantee you I would never do this, but not because I don’t like the the look.  I’d probably just change my mind before I ever finished painting and have to start all over again.  I’m fickle like that.  If you don’t want to redo all (or even a single room’s worth) of your trim, maybe just a door update.  I happen to love me some bold front doors.

green bathtub
Via HomeTalk

If cabinets and trim are too much work, but you’re lucky enough to have a claw foot tub, this is another way to colorize a fixture.  Painting the exterior tub base is also super easy and can be done with just a little sample pot of paint!

15 Unique Places to Add a Pop of Color to Your Home
Via Brit + Co

You may have guessed by now that I’m kind of diggin’ the black-white-and-green combo.  I think it’s fun and lively without being too in your face.  Plus, green accents are easy to work in and switch out if you like to change up your decor periodically.

Green chairs
Via My Ideal Home

Green’s not just for stark black and white spaces.  A nice neutral palette with some natural wood plus pops of green will make for a cozier space.

Botanical inspired house in London
Via I Have This Thing for Interior

One of my favorite things about this year’s Color of the Year choice is that it’s even pretty awesome for color-phobes (don’t worry, I still love you).  Even if you aren’t super into colorful walls or furniture or accessories, you may still enjoy plants!  And like it’s name suggests, this is a color that really pulls from nature.  Plus plants pretty much go with everything!

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Goodbye

About 8 and a half years ago I went out shopping for work pants.  In one shopping area I passed a PetSmart that was advertising Cat Adoptions that day.  I had moved to MN only a few months prior, was still bummed that I had had to give up my dog who didn’t handle apartment life well, and was still really missing being around cats (I had grown up around cats and am definitely a cat person).  I figured I’d wander in, get some kitty snuggles, and be on my way.

Only I ended up leaving with a cat.

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He was so chill despite being in a strange place surrounded by strange people.  The lady from the rescue group saw me petting him through the cage and told me to go ahead and open the door.  As soon as I did, he stretched up and gave me a hug.  I melted.

I brought him home and named him Spencer.  He immediately waltzed out of his carrier and investigated the apartment then picked a chair and took a nap.  He was friendly right off the bat but it wasn’t until a few weeks later that he started snuggling.  One night I woke up to find that my arm was completely asleep–he was curled up next to me with his front paws wrapped around my arm and completely blissed out.

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Spencer was the most mellow cat I’ve met.  He liked strangers.  He liked dogs. He did well with small children.  He even tolerated the vacuum cleaner (he’d put his ears back because of noise, but rarely moved).  Every night he’d cuddle up to me in bed to sleep.  He loved bread and he loved curry (I once tried sprinkling cayenne pepper on my plants to stop him chewing on them…. he thought they were even tastier).  He loved having his belly rubbed… and wouldn’t spontaneously change his mind in the middle.

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About 5 years ago I met Matt, we started dating, and eventually moved in together.  Matt already had a cat when we met and we had to blend households.  Schmutz was super social with people, but Matt was told when he adopted her that she didn’t really like other cats.  Spencer won her heart anyway.  The two of them would snuggle and play together, and Schmutz would groom the heck out of Spencer whenever she had the chance (and put him in a headlock if he tried to move away).  Anyone who’s had cats know that blending cat families is hard and pretty much a crap shoot.  Most people hope for an ignore-and-tolerate situation, but these two were buddies.

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Then a couple weeks before Christmas our super-sweet, snuggly, floofy boy-cat started just picking at his food.  We brought him in to the vet, they ran some labs and started him on an anti-nausea medication because their best guess was Inflammatory Bowel. A few days of the meds didn’t change anything but the lab work didn’t show anything abnormal so they had us start him on Prednisolone.  We were hoping to see an improvement before we left for Christmas to visit family, but nothing really changed.  He’s a super difficult cat to pill so our cat-sitter couldn’t really continue his meds while we were gone but we made sure he would always have plenty of food available to him.

When we got back home he was super skinny and really wasn’t eating so we hauled him back to the vet.  They gave him another shot of anti-nausea drugs and some IV fluids plus an appetite stimulant and he seemed to be doing a little better that day…but then immediately went back to not eating.  We started syringe feeding him a prescription, high-calorie diet but still couldn’t get a lot into him.

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We took him back to the vet Saturday since he still wasn’t showing improvement.  They re-checked his red blood cell count and it had tanked, so he was clearly severely anemic, but the blood work didn’t show any clear causes of the anemia, which the vet thought meant there was a strong chance he had cancer which was attacking his bone marrow and bringing his RBC count down.  We had the option to do more tests and a blood transfusion…but the likelihood that anything would change the outcome was very slim  and we just didn’t want to put him through additional stress.

We brought him back home.  Snuggled.  Cried.  Matt cooked him some super-buttery tialapia which he even picked at a little bit.  We later made an appointment with MN Pets who will come to your home.  We didn’t want to stress him out anymore by bringing him back to the clinic.

Dr Heather came out today and was very supportive and patient.  We went over everything we had done so far and what his labs showed and she agreed that it also sounded like cancer, but even it wasn’t he was too severely anemic for there to be a good prognosis (especially since he was already on steroids and they weren’t helping).  There’s no way to feel good about this decision, but I’m pretty confident it wasn’t a bad decision…. even if it was an incredibly painful one to make.

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I got to hold in my arms in the end and I hope he was aware of how much he was loved.  I already miss him like crazy but I couldn’t bear to drag this out and watch him get even weaker. He was one of the best companions anyone could have ever hoped for and it breaks my heart that I had to lose him so early. I feel so lucky that he was able to be a part of my life.

 

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