Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bathroom Renovation: Done!

I’ve been teasing about this subject for a while now, but the master bathroom renovation is finally done!  It is so nice to have two functioning bathrooms again!  We have been operating as a one-bathroom house for almost an entire year.  

The shower never quite got warm enough – it was kind of like taking a luke warm shower, so we started showering in the guest bathroom, which gets super hot very quickly.  Then there was the toilet . . .

The toilet in the master bath had a suction thingy in the tank that was so tight, it broke every handle we purchased (and we went through several).  So we gave up on even having a handle and you had to remove the lid to the tank and reach in and manually pull up on the suction thing (sorry, I don’t know the technical term for it).  Then we noticed that the toilet wobbled a little when you sat on it.  As a result, the toilet was leaking a small amount of water around the base every time someone used it.  We had a plumber look at it one day (the plumber was over to fix something else), and he told us that the floor underneath the toilet was warped, so even if we were to put a new toilet in that exact spot, it would never sit flat.  

Once we decided to renovate the master bathroom, we knew it would have to be a major overhaul.  We gutted the entire bathroom! Everything was taken out and replaced – new tile, new tub, new vanity, new cabinets, etc..  I think the only things that we kept were the towel bar and shower curtain rod!  We added a double sink (it had previously been a single sink bathroom) and moved the toilet over by 6 inches (for some reason, it had been installed super close to the shower.  When you sat on the toilet, the shower curtain would skim your thighs!)

Aaron and I hired a friend of ours, who is a contractor (and has appeared on HGTV’s “Designed to Sell”), to manage the project and another friend of ours to do the majority of the labor.  This way we could keep working and earning the money that allowed us to pay for the project while the bathroom got done. The benefit of hiring friends (that you know can get the job done) is that I was comfortable letting them be in the house while we were not there.  I had so much fun coming home each day and seeing the progress!

And without further adieu, here are the before/during/after shots:

What it looked like when we moved in almost 3 years ago.  (We got rid of those hideous backstage mirror lights immediately!)
Our contractor starts the demolition.

End of Day 1.

Making sure the new tub holds water.
 We installed a Kohler deep soaker tub.  We had considered a jacuzzi tub, which would have been amazing!  But after looking at the extra costs associated with it (the tub itself, installation, and maintenance), we decided on a deep soaker.  I haven't yet taken a bath in the new bathroom yet, but I'm really excited to do so!

New tiles get installed.
 The tiles are from Lowes, with the exception of the decorative border tiles in the shower, which are from Home Depot.
We took the tile up all the way to the ceiling in the shower.

Close up of the decorative border tiles.

New cabinets.

The cabinets are mirrored on the inside too!
 The new bathroom cabinets are from Ikea.  Our master bathroom didn't have any medicine cabinets before, so we ended up leaving all our toiletries on the counter.  Now we have SO much storage space for everything.  It is fantastic to have a place to put everything and not have to leave it on the counter.

New lighting fixture - it dims!
 The lighting fixture is from Lamps Plus.  Our contractor installed a dimmer light switch that is automatically programmed to dim up to half brightness if you hit the switch once.  If you hit the switch twice, it goes to full.  Very useful for my middle of the night bathroom breaks!

Et voila! Here's the finished product!

Now we have a “grown up” bathroom!  I have to say, I am very pleased with the result!  The bathroom is so calming and beautiful. 

Now we just need to clean up all the construction dust before baby arrives . . . anyone know a good cleaning person or service in the Valley?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

37 Weeks: Happy (pre)Father's Day

I am now 37 weeks, which means baby is technically full term and could come any time . . . though I still have 2 more weeks of work, so I tell her every morning that, while I am excited to meet her, if she could give us at least 2 more weeks, it would be fantastic.  We shall see if she listens . . .

I want to dedicate this post to the important dads in my life: my dad, Aaron’s dad, and of course, Aaron.  My dad is one of the best dads I have ever known . . . ok, maybe I’m a little biased.  But seriously, it’s kind of awesome to see the look on people’s faces when they ask what your dad does and you say “geophysicist.”  Most people have no idea what that even encompasses.  Honestly, for the majority of my childhood, all I knew about my dad’s occupation was that he went to an office that had a chalkboard that I liked to draw on and he drank coffee and stared at the computer all day.  But seriously, my dad is fantastic – he helped me study for almost every science and math test in high school (and even some in college).  We like to sit and drink coffee and watch “Meet the Press” on Sunday mornings while having intelligent conversations about politics and the world in general. (a tradition that Aaron and I have continued in our own home).  I feel very lucky to have such an amazing and intelligent person as my dad.

Aaron’s dad, sadly, is no longer with us, which makes Father’s Day somewhat bittersweet.  He was an amazing man and I am so glad that I got to know him.  Aaron’s dad was funny, talkative and loving.  Even though he is no longer with us, I know he lives on through Aaron.  Aaron certainly got his loquaciousness from his dad!  I think Aaron also inherited his sense of loyalty and sense of humor from his dad.  I am sure that wherever his spirit is, Aaron’s dad is very proud of him and is excited about Aaron becoming a dad.

Which brings me to Aaron himself.  Let me start with a little bit of backstory.  There are some women who have known their whole life they wanted kids . . . I was not one of those women!  Then I met Aaron.  I can remember early in our dating life, we played a lot of board games.  When Aaron plays board games, he likes to goof around and make funny voices.  I just remember thinking to myself, “Dang it, this guy would make an amazing dad!”  Then I met his family and they were amazing too!  I knew then that his upbringing would lend itself to him being the type of dad I would want for my kids . . . if I were to have kids.  So I guess for me, it wasn’t about me seeking out a man that would be the father to my children I had always imagined.  It was about finding the right guy and then realizing that he is the person I want to have kids with.  (Sorry if that sounds super cheesy!) I just know he will be a great dad.  We both have enough Peter Pan in us that we are looking forward to really getting down to their level and playing with our kids.  Aaron has already put in a bunch of “fatherly” effort in putting together all the furniture for the baby’s room.  He already installed the car seat into his car, and will spend part of Father’s Day installing the other car seat in my car today.  I am so excited to start this adventure with Aaron! 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

36 Weeks: The Name Game

 I am now 36 weeks.  My baby is the size of a honeydew melon.  According to What to Expect, all her organs are ready to go, with the exception of her lungs, which have a little more developing to do.

Now that we are a month (give or take) away from her arrival, Aaron and I have amped up our names conversation.  No, we do not have a name chosen.  Our plan is to go to the hospital with a couple names in mind and then make the final decision once we see her face.  I think we have it narrowed down to our top 5, which is really more like a top 2-3.  We are not publicly divulging the short list . . . mostly because it entitles us to change our mind at the last minute.  I would hate to have told everyone that the baby would be named something and then they buy us something with her name on it and then when she arrives, we change our mind and have something personalized that doesn’t work.

Aaron and I have been relatively nerdy/overly analytical in our name decision-making process.  We set up a google docs spreadsheet that has a list of all the names we’ve discussed.  It has a column for the name, a column for its popularity according to the US Social Security System (and now that the new statistics have come out for 2011, another column for 2011 popularity for our favorite names, so that we can see if the name is gaining or losing popularity).  Then there is a column for the name’s meaning, and columns for Aaron and I to make notes on our thoughts on the name.  Once we eliminate a name, we mark it in red and move it to the bottom of the list.  We never delete a name because we want to be able to go back to the list and know that we discussed the name, and see our reasoning for eliminating it.  We have a separate tab for girl names and boy names because we started the list before we knew it was a girl . . . and just in case there are any surprises in the delivery room.

Girl names have been very hard for us!  For some reason we came up with our top 5 boy names super early and it hasn’t really changed at all in all this time.  (I’m almost hoping the next one is a boy – in part due the ease of choosing a name!)  I think part of the issue is that our last name ends in a “y” – so any names that end in “y” or “ie” are out, which eliminates about half the girl names out there.  Our last name also starts with “sh” so any names with a “sh” sound are out.  We were discussing names the other day and thought of Charlotte, which we loved.  We were really excited about it . . . until one of us paired it with our last name and we realized it just wouldn’t work.

We have a tab on our google doc titled “baby name tester” for exactly this purpose - where we can test out combinations of first and middle names along with our last name.  I can reveal the middle name – as I think it highly unlikely that we will change our mind on that one.  The middle name will be Grace, in honor of Aaron’s grandmother who passed away a couple years ago.  We love this name for several reasons: a) there is a family connection, b) it’s really pretty c) as a middle name, it goes with just about any first name we have tried pairing it with.

In other news, the bathroom is coming along and should be finished early this week.  I will post an entire entry complete with before and after pictures when it’s finished.  In the meantime, here is a sneak peak shot, with an excellent shot of my ginormous belly!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

35 Weeks: Aches and Pains

Ok, it feels like the countdown is really beginning.  I still can’t believe how fast this is all going.  9 months seemed like such a long time on the front end!  At our last doctor’s appointment, the midwife said that if I go into labor a week from now, they won’t do anything to stop it – i.e. the baby will be medically ok.  That is not to say that the baby is coming in a week.  The due date is still July 7(ish), and I was measuring a little small at the last appointment.  So don’t get super excited.  But it is very intimidating.  We still have so much to do!  The baby’s room now has organized piles of gifts and gear.  The changing table/dresser is halfway finished.  Once that’s done, I can actually put away all the baby clothes I have so carefully washed, folded, and separated by size.  The crib is still in its box, waiting to be assembled.  But we have a bassinet and a moses basket for the kid, so if she does arrive early, there is a place for her to sleep even if the crib isn’t finished.  And honestly, she won’t really be using the crib for a while anyway as she will probably be sleeping in the moses basket or bassinet in our bedroom for the first couple months.

Now that I am 35 weeks, I am definitely entering the “this is not so comfortable stage” of pregnancy.  In comparison to complaints I’ve heard from a lot of other pregnant women, I seem to have had a relatively easy pregnancy so far (you never know, karma could come kick me in the behind when it comes time for labor).  But please allow me a little digital space to vent about what ails me now.

My belly is now so heavy that sleeping is definitely not the most comfortable thing in the world. Imagine strapping a 25 pound backpack onto your belly and NEVER taking it off . . . now imagine that backpack is under your skin, so your skin has to stretch to accommodate it  - that’s getting close to how it feels.  When I sleep, I have to stick a pillow under my belly for support so that gravity doesn’t pull it too much down towards the bed.  Then I have my body pillow that I curl up with and stick between my knees to alleviate any hip pressure.  Plus I have a pillow at my back so that I don’t accidentally roll over on my back in the middle of the night (once you hit a certain point in your pregnancy, you are not supposed to sleep on your back).  Poor Aaron has to deal with the fortress of pillows surrounding me when he finally climbs into bed.  Next time I’m getting one of those special pregnancy body pillows!

Once I do wake up, transitioning from the laying down position to a standing position is an exercise in and of itself!  My ab muscles are pretty much useless at this point because they are so stretched out, so in order to go from laying to standing, I have to roll over on my side, and push/crawl my way up with my arms.  Then I wiggle my way to sitting with my legs off the bed, and very slowly stand up.  The weight of the belly first thing in the morning makes it really painful if I stand up too quickly.  And then there’s the sciatic pain that emanates from my tailbone making it impossible to stand quickly anyway.

The other discomfort that I have fairly often is from the baby sticking out from under my ribs.  I swear this kid is growing exponentially every night!  Literally, the other morning I woke up, and put my hand on my belly and it was noticeably bigger than the night before!  She seems to like to hang out under the right side of my rib cage.  She’ll poke out or kick and I try to massage her back in a little bit because it can get really uncomfortable.  Though, right now as I type this, she seems to be sticking directly out of my midsection, like a little alien, which I have to say is much more comfortable than sticking out the side.

My hands are also starting to swell on a regular basis.  My hands are normally so bony normally that no one would ever notice if they didn’t know me, but my wedding ring is starting to get to the point where it’s not quite comfortable to wear very day (though my engagement ring is half a size bigger and is still fine).  My feet seem to be ok, so far, as long as I don’t wear heels.  The midwife looked at my feet and said, “Oh good, I can see your ankles, that’s a good sign!”

Also, for those of you who don’t know, we are remodeling our master bathroom.  Five weeks before the birth of our first child might seem like an odd time to start a major renovation project (we are gutting the entire room and replacing everything).  But we figured it was probably better (and safer) to do it while the kid is still contained on the inside rather than dealing with a squirmy little one and construction dust at the same time.  Wish us luck!

Here's a sneak preview at the "before" (this was the demo done day 1 to the bathroom):