And away we go!

So, here’s our big news:

Ohio

In September Steve and I decided it was time. We were both ready to move home. After an interview and some house shopping and lots of waiting to hear news of an offer, we were back in good ol’ OH (IO!) by December. Once we made the decision that our time was up in Indiana, it felt like we blinked and our Hoosier days were behind us.

I am leaving behind a tremendously wonderful group of coworkers who I have the privilege of calling my friends (and one special bff in particular – a shout out to my pal and new business partner — not-so-subtle FORESHADOWING, I know — more on that later). I’m lucky enough to stay on remotely at my job, for the time being, so the goodbyes weren’t too terribly sad.

I haven’t had time to take decent photos of the house yet — I didn’t even take empty-roomed “before” pictures! Everything changes once you have kid, man. Here are just a few from my Instagram feed…

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I should mention we moved in four days ago.

There is a TON of wood. WOOD TRIM WOOD PANELING WOOD BUILT-INS WOOD CABINETS. It’s everywhere. It’s a beautiful home, but it needs some updating. There is bright mauve carpet in Rose’s room. How you even find bright mauve carpet is beyond my comprehension, but it’s there. I promise.

It’s so fun to be in House Love again, and to be able to see each room’s full potential, instead of just seeing the ugly carpet and wallpaper. Oh yeah. I forgot to mention there’s wallpaper. Lots of it.

We have our work cut out for us — this is going to be a HUGE year! I won’t be blogging daily but I hope to keep up with you guys in some normal fashion.

But for now?! UNPACKING. We have Rose’s birthday party in two weeks and I currently can’t even locate my pants.

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Welcome! House Tour – The Before

We love our house like WHOA. But after dropping a few pretty pennies on it we weren’t left with much for any renovations right away. The kitchen counters/sink/hardware have already been upgraded, which is a total bonus, but there are lots of things we want to do down the line.

Instead of whining through this whole post about how “this needs updated wah wah wah” I’ll just go ahead and give you a quick run down:

  1. Paint all the woodwork white. YES. All of it. Cabinets, trim, built-ins. (Except for the stairwell – I love the wood balusters and handrail)
  2. Remove all of the wallpaper.
  3. Replace ALL of the flooring. White carpet under tables? What? Mauve carpet – huh?
  4. Paint the walls – doy
  5. Eventually we’d like to knock out a wall and add a sliding glass door where Rose’s tent is, that steps out to a glorious patio.
  6. Fence in a portion of the yard for Olive, complete with doggy door.
  7. New office furniture, paint or replace the dining room furniture, and random furniture updates around the house.
  8. Finish the basement.

Without further ado, here’s our most favorite house ever!

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Rose’s “house” was a fixture in this room for awhile. It’s since moved into the dining room, allowing this space to function as her own personal dining area, complete with mini table. It’s pretty cute, you guys. 

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I love the view down the hallway. Basically the entire first floor makes me insanely happy. When I’m in the kitchen I can see Rose wherever she is, which is a total bonus. If you have a one year old you will understand.

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I’ve already started stripping wallpaper! Updates to come.

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This space is going to really open up once we blow that wall out. I have the mirror there just to let some more light in – this space can definitely feel a bit dark at times.

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I obviously can’t wait for it to warm up so we can enjoy our screened-in porch like it was meant to be enjoyed. I can already taste the beer and feel the warm breeze.

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Our fourth bedroom is downstairs, and will eventually be our guest room. Right now it’s multi-functional. And by “multi-functional” I mean “dumping ground.”

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Most of my plants are hanging out in the hallway because of the ample light (skylights!), until I can find more permanent homes. Everything is sort of in a holding pattern until we have a better idea where everything will go. 

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My mom gave us her old furniture from when she was a little girl. Both pieces will eventually end up in Rose’s room (one is currently living in the master), and I can’t wait to refinish them. How neat is it that Rose will have her Gigi’s old furniture from when SHE was the same age?? 

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This was certainly not planned. Barf.

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Whenever another baby comes along this room will be the nursery. Until then it’s just a very scary place, full of random odds and ends that haven’t found their final home yet. 

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The master bathroom is straight-up weird. We’d like to eventually rearrange in here, but that’s waaaay down the line. We gotta pay for college first. 0_o

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Because who doesn’t have a Little People dollhouse right outside of their bathroom? 

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Olive followed me around the house, helping me take pictures. She pooped out along the way I found her basking in the sun at the bottom of the stairs. 

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We’ve already made a few improvements that I can’t wait to share! Namely a very much needed fireplace door update, and one very cute paper mache animal addition. I’m unhealthily obsessed with him. 

I’m so excited for it to warm up so we can start painting (and leaving the windows open to air out the rooms). There is so much to be done and we can’t wait to get started! It’ll be a slow and steady timeline, but I am already looking forward to the results!

Four.

Four. You guys, I can only give you four pictures right now. I was going to be all “I’m keeping it real” which is fine, but we have a few party decorations already hanging (for Rose’s birthday!) and I wanted to do a different post about all of those.

Side Rant:
WTF Pinterest?! Have people always been going balls to the walls for first birthdays? They’re basically mini weddings. And my middle finger has something to say about that. If you blog about your enormously detailed and fabulous first birthday party and say things like “It was really laid back and simple.” and “I just whipped this together.” we’re probably not going to be friends. Just tell me you were up late for weeks and relying heavily on Xanax and Chardonnay cocktails. And if you weren’t, then, well. You’re better than me. Congratulations.

And while i’m ranting, can I just go ahead and advise you to probably not throw a party two weeks after moving? Prooooobably not the best idea. Probably something that will throw your OCD all outta whack. Where’s that Xanax and wine? Probably.

One of my favorite new house-related happy spaces is our hallway. With the door open (and storm door sealed tight… Brrrr) the sunlight pours in like a. I don’t know. I can’t do clever similes right now.

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Below is the view from my office (the living room) into the family room. Zebra keeps a good watch. Those glass doors are AWESOME built-in baby gates. It’s so nice to maintain all of the front-of-the-house light when those doors are shut.

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Here’s Olive hard at work in the office…

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She has a really rough life, you guys. And Mom, don’t despair, I’ve added a few pillows to her bed so now you won’t think I’m abusing my dog by only providing her ONE super soft comforter. She must also have PILLOWS. (PS don’t think I didn’t notice that when you were here babysitting you re-fluffed her bedding.)

The family room is a lot smaller than it was in our old house, but I am totally smitten. It feels way more comfy and it’s a million times less awkward.

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I realize this picture in no way illustrates my point. Use that vivid imagination of yours.

At what stage in child rearing do all of the couch cushions remain on the couch at all times?

I know these pictures are such a tease, but after the party I promise I’ll go around and do a “before” house tour. Until then, ONLY 45 DAYS UNTIL SPRING!

Seriously though, I hope you all are staying safe. This has been one doozy of a winter!

Turtle or Tortoise, or Whatever

What I mean to say is that slow and steady wins the race, right? We’re ever-so-slowly starting to make some small home updates. I took a slew of pictures to share with you guys and I remembered how much I love photographing non-babies. Don’t get me wrong, taking pictures of Rose is like my number one hobby, but walking around the house with a camera with just the right light makes me feel squishy and marvelous.

Speaking of just the right light… our gallery wall lights up like a firecracker in the evenings. It’s probably terrible for our artwork, but good for the soul. And that’s what’s important.

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We used to have these exact Mallard bookends when I was a kid. I longed for them, but alas my mom had given them away years ago. She found these in a Goodwill and knew it would be the easiest $4 she’d ever spend. Thanks Mom. 🙂

I’m in love with them. I have a thing for ducks. And for brass. So.

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These roses were leftover from our open house last weekend at Steve’s parent’s house. They’re still alive and kicking and remind me how much I love having fresh flowers in the house.

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New plant! (Crazy plant lady, here. Did you forget about me?) I managed to sneak this guy in without Steve being the wiser. He had no idea I added a new addition to our family until I casually brought it up one day. One important nugget of information he did notice? His golden skull was moved. He feels a little shafted by the brass ducks, but he’s licking his wounds and recovering.

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We hung our sconces by the temple rubbing in the master bedroom over the weekend. It gives the room a nice romantic glow. But not for baby making. I’m so over making babies — don’t you go getting any ideas about another addition to this family. Except for plants. Plant babies are always welcome.

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During our South Haven vacation last summer, we found these window panes at a vintage shop in the downtown area. I’ve been holding onto them, planning on hanging them in our bathroom. Well, it finally happened.

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The plan: I want to paint a sort of abstract / gradient-rich watercolor of an ocean landscape to hang behind the glass. It’ll hopefully give the allusion that we’re living somewhere fabulous. Our little getaway.

As I was touring my own home, I realized I never showed you the cross-stitch that took TWO WEEKS because it included the then-secret name of our baby duckling.

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Yes. Two weeks. Rose will be in college and will still have to hear about that one time when I developed early arthritis because it took me TWO WEEKS to cross-stitch her name. I also made the pattern myself. And then I ate that delicious chip off my shoulder.

I mentioned this mobile a few days ago, but never showed you Rose’s view. Can’t you see why she’s always so engaged?

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The high-contrast geometric shapes are perfect for her level of vision, and the links make it the perfect distance from her face. And it was only twenty bucks. I wish more companies made simple, inexpensive, and engaging baby toys.

So those are the updates. Slow and steady, people. Think turtles.

Plants and a Little A.D.D.

I mentioned a week ago that there were a few untimely plant deaths in The Harpster Home. [insert sad funeral march]

I didn’t capture the deaths on camera because A. I thought that seemed a little too macabre for this blog, or B. I just forgot. “B” is the real reason. Here’s another “A” and “B” scenario: The plants died because A. soft water kills plants, or B. I didn’t give them enough water. The answer is mostly “A.” Mostly.

The nice lady at the nursery told me that soft water burns plant roots and that my succulents and air plants were probably too fragile to withstand that sort of mistake. I did fail to mention to her that I had been lazy about watering. I’m sure she would’ve also said “hey lady. you’re an idiot” if given the chance.

I filled up the silver pot on the coffee table with the large, surviving air plants:

They seem to be pretty happy in there. Happier than the succulents were, at least.

On my way to photograph the plant basket in the kitchen I got distracted by how pretty the sun looked on the kitchen rug. I went to take a picture, and this happened:

The Belly is growing. That is one thing I’m not forgetting to water, don’t worry.

Here is our new dinette corner, sans air plants:

As much as I liked the clear, glass globes filled with pebbles and greenery, I think I like this better. This nook seems much less chaotic, and this hanging basket has a presence that demands attention. Like Lady Gaga but less meat dress and make-up and more natural beauty.

I was heading to the desk to put the camera away when I saw Olive sleeping by Steve’s feet. I had to crawl on the ground and snap a quick picture. We have so many pictures of her; I can’t resist that face.

I’m pretty sure she knew I was there. I think she was trying to be an attractive sleeper for the camera. Not like her mom who is an ugly sleeper. Mouth open and snoring, from what Steve tells me.

While I was on the ground with her I saw my new basket in the background that I realized I had never photographed for you good people.

I got it a few weekends ago when I was in Cincinnati at a farmer’s market / bizarre sort of outdoor event. Isn’t it full of charm and character? I thought it would be a great place to corral toys and kid paraphernalia in the family room.

I just now realized that the whole point of this post was to show you guys my new plants and I absolutely failed on all accounts. I got a Snake Plant for the nursery, and a Neon Pothos for the kitchen. Google it.

Thank you for following me along my A.D.D.-filled journey. I hope you guys have a wonderful weekend!

Cha Cha Cha Changes

So, the gallery wall. It bugged me. You all knew that.

I made a decision that it was the Chicago print that bothered me. Not because I don’t love it — because I do — but because the colors made me want to go all cross-eyed. Also, that big, black frame was too heavy for the centerpiece.

A few little tweaks and I think we have a vast improvement! The first order of business was replacing that frame. I found this oak-ish colored one at the Indy ReStore for $10. Yup. I know. Go ahead and pat me on the back. I deserve it. 10 bucks! It’s pretty and ornate and was only 10 BUCKS!

I was searching high and low on the internet for a print to replace good ole Chicago when it dawned on me that I had a print in my closet that was so meaningful, so special, and so obviously needed to be the center of attention.

I probably didn’t think of it at first because I knew this particular print wasn’t large enough for this spot. But after taping it to a piece of white poster board (matting done on the cheap) it filled up that frame like it had just been waiting his whole life for this opportunity. Like the Olympics. The Picture Frame Olympics. YOU GET A GOLD MEDAL, MY FRIEND.

I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes, like a big ball of pregnant emotional goo, as I explain this to you. One of my dearest friends, like I love this girl so much I can’t explain it (and her totally amazing husband, who we joke about being Steve’s long-lost something. I mean they have to be related. They’re like the same person), got this print for us as a wedding present. So, that is Emotional Cue #1. Emotional Cue #2 is what is on the print. Our first dance was La Vie En Rose by Louis Armstrong, so yeah. Crying. Lots of tears when I opened it back in March. Did her and her husband hit this nail on the head, or what? Kelly, if you’re reading this, thank you. You’ll never know how much this gift means to me.

And it’s so full of letterpress goodness, and it’s textural, and amazing.

I don’t know why it took me so long to figure out that this needed to live here. All that matters is I have finally figured it out. And it’s home.

Did you notice another small change to the gallery wall? If you did you deserve a gold star. Or a cookie.

Our first two ultrasounds are hanging proudly! Man, I can’t wait to meet this little gummy bear.

Also, here’s a never-before-seen picture of the height of this room. I don’t know if I’ve ever actually gotten a picture of this wall before, in all it’s glory. It’s tall one. It allows for a very monsterous Hanukkah Bush. (See Dad? We call our Christmas Tree a Hanukkah Bush, too.)

And here’s an obligatory picture of Olive.

Those eyes. She’s just the saddest happiest dog that ever lived.

Happy Hump Day, everyone! Might I suggest a McDonalds hash brown to start your day? Breakfast of Champions. Or of Pregnant Women Everywhere.

 

 

A Reprieve from OCD

One word: PHEW

Let me tell you something about our laundry room: I love it. There’s a big “but” in there, though. I love big butts and I cannot lie.

I love our laundry room, BUT every time I walked past the non-matching washer and dryer a little part of me died inside.

GAH!

It was an involuntary twitch every time I walked into this room. A spasm. My OCD had trouble processing the information. It did not compute.

Enter Stage Right: My superhero best friend, Molly. She was selling her home and no longer had the need for her High Efficiency, basically brand-spankin’ new washer and dryer. Being the totally rad person that she is, she sold them to us for a fraction of what she paid for them, and… wait for it….
wait for it…..
AND SHE DELIVERED THEM.

Am I a lucky girl, or what? She also brought me gummy bears, but that’s beside the point.

After we finagled them off of the truck and into their new home my twitches and spasms disappeared.

If that’s not the whitest, brightest smile you’ve ever seen then, well, I just don’t think you understand how monumental this is.

That mirror definitely doesn’t make their butt look big.

They’re all fancy and electronic and make sounds that ape a space shuttle control room. I have my own little laboratory in here. My favorite sound is when I change the load from cool cool to warm cool. It’s like a delightful little electronic bird chirping a song it wrote just for me.

And THAT my friends is how you fix a miss-matched washer / dryer situation.

Step 1: Find a superhero best friend who likes to bring you gummy bears
Step 2: That same friend also needs to be selling their current washer and dryer
Step 3: Gummy Bear friend will deliver new appliances from Cincinnati to Indianapolis
Step 4: Cook said friend dinner

And that’s all you need to do to get this project done on your very own! Good luck!

Better Than Twilight

This saga I’m about to tell blows Twilight out of the water. But I’m on Team WhoGivesAHoot, so that’s probably not difficult by my standards.

Let me start off by defending my totally bad-ass husband, and add a disclaimer: the reason this project took so long is because of his long work hours (you know, at his real job), and the fact that neither of us had ever done this before. Learn from our mistakes, people. This is me, grabbing around your collar and shaking you vigorously: LEARN FROM OUR  MISTAKES.

Caulking. Hold your fire; you don’t have to make any jokes about that word because I used them all up throughout the course of this project. Black caulk, white caulk, your caulk is leaking… we have that topic covered.

This 11 day project started because of a simple problem: the old, dark green paint was left on all of the caulking around the entire master bathroom.

It wasn’t the painters fault – their job was to paint, not replace any caulk. It was really nobody’s fault, just something that happens when you switch from a saturated, dark color to a light and airy one.

It was all we could see when we looked at the bathroom.

Enter: the tools. I thought we would just buy this cute little yellow packet of tools, go to town, fix ‘er up, drink a margarita, and call it a day. And then unicorns were going to give me a manicure while I farted rainbows.

Ho, ho hooooo boy was I wrong.

This is me starting to scrape away the discolored caulk (::snicker::)

Yeah, plastic tools kinda suck. This is what I was left with:

Then steps in my beastly husband and his all-powerful tool set. I’m not even sure what tool he used. It looked like a chisel? I don’t know, anything past a hammer or a screwdriver and I’m basically nose down in a dictionary.

I can practically hear Tim the Tool Man Taylor grunting in the background. So, imagine this level of destruction, all the way around the bathroom. After some spackling and primer we were left with a pretty good-looking wall.

By this point a few days had gone by, and Steve attempted to paint the wall, and then run a bead of caulking along the seam. And wouldn’t you know it? IT DIDN’T WORK. Every single time he had problems. We realized it was because we weren’t taping off the walls to protect the paint from the caulk when it was spread, so he would rub the caulking off to try it again, and then all of the paint and primer and spackling would rub off. So, that step was completed multiple times. Frustrating. Very frustrating.

So, that being said, that’s where the majority of the extra days went. This project wouldn’t have taken so long if we would’ve just used the method below.

ATTENTION: USE THE METHOD BELOW (Please, please, please save yourself many gray hairs and loud bursts of profanity, and just follow the next few steps.)

Ok, so let’s pretend this is where we started. La Tee Daaa, here we are. The wall is spackled, and then was promptly primed and painted.

We taped off the wall to allow just a small crease where the caulking would go.

Excuse the terrible quality. I was zoomed in from across the room. I didn’t want to disturb the master. You know how you feel when you’re watching a superhero movie and you’re practically holding your breath during the epic fight scene at the end, afraid to breathe because you just want the good guy to win so badly? That’s how I felt watching Steve vs. The Caulking. And he totally won. It was awesome.

You can see why the tape was needed. This phase, where you spread out the caulk so it seals the crack, gets quite messy if you don’t have the tape. Steve totally owned this round.

While everything was still wet, he ripped that tape off. Well, more like gingerly pulled it up.

TA DAH!

You guys, I seriously wasn’t sure if we were going to make it through this project. You ever have one of those ideas that you think is going to take you a day, and it turns out taking 11 days? ELEVEN DAYS. 11 days of spackling everywhere, drying paintbrushes cluttering the sinks, rollers, and tools strewn about the room. Yeah, I was over it. But I can’t even tell you how proud I am of my never-give-up lumberjack. Thanks to his patience this project is now over and looks truly incredible. I didn’t really do anything but wipe his sweat and snap a few photos. All the credit goes to Steve on this one.

The moral of this story is when the going gets tough give up and drink a cocktail keep trying until you get it right. It’ll happen.

The end.