Archive for June, 2022

It’s been a year since we ripped the doors off our rickety kitchen cabinets and took a sledgehammer to our pink tile floors – our renovation dragged on a little longer than planned, but has been done for several months now and should be shared here on the blog while it’s still relatively shiny and new!  Our appliances are already dotted with baby handprints and I fear it’s only a matter of time before Isaac gouges our cabinets with his favorite toy car…

First, the before:  When we bought our house, we put kitchen remodel on the 5-year plan.  It was functional (mostly), but pretty dark and a little dinged up and not in line with the clean, crisp vibe I’ve been breathing into each room, one by one.  I mean, the black granite tile counters do bring a certain early 90’s charm to the space, but that’s not entirely what we’re going for here.

I always found this corner awkward and under-used – we didn’t need a breakfast nook with our dining room table just a few feet away, so it often became a holding pen for rain boots and Amazon packages.

The fridge/pantry situation was no good – a previous owner / handyman Joe had cut a hole out of the wall so that the fridge could be pushed back out of the way, but this meant that one wall of the pantry was taken up with the exposed back of the refrigerator.  And I didn’t love the fully-exposed side of the fridge.

I know “open concept” wasn’t en vogue when our house was built in the ’50’s, but the kitchen felt so hemmed in.  I immediately had visions of us freeing up this corner for better kitchen/living connectivity.

So finally, after belaboring every little detail and drawing up 14 different layouts and soliciting high-medium-low bids (“low” is relative in this market!), we settled on a plan and signed up a contractor and let the demo games begin.  Shane and I offered to take on the demo scope ourselves, mostly to save on the labor cost, but also because demolition is very gratifying work.  The Rusts were over for a backyard meal that Friday night and the boys couldn’t resist the lure of the drill – they got started right after dinner while I scrambled to shuttle our dishes down to the basement.  Sayonara, cabinets, with your squeaky drawers and mysterious odor and peeling finish!  No love lost there.

I was out of the house for much of the day on Saturday while Shane and Juliette busted a major move.

No horrific surprises, as is always a fear when you’re taking apart a 70 year-old home, but we uncovered a couple of treasures, like the beige tile counters directly under the black granite and the three layers of linoleum under the tile flooring.

This is remodeling:  it always has to get so much worse before it gets better.

But…I’m starting to see that open corner?

The wall we removed was load-bearing and required a new beam in the ceiling, but once that was hoisted into place and the old studs were removed, I started to move from terrified to excited.  Already so much better.

Electrical was roughed in and then things were quiet for a couple of weeks while we waited for drywall.  But once drywall was hung, Juliette and I stepped in to slap it all with a fresh coat of white paint.

I was quite pregnant by this point and leveraged my growing belly to get the contractor to pick up the pace.  This project had a due date!

Juliette left her mark on the wall behind the fridge.  ISAAC!  We were so excited to meet you.

Painted and ready for flooring, which I’d decided at the last minute to change to Red Oak planks to match our existing living room floors.  Shane had to drive to Home Depot in Spokane to pick up what seemed to be the only 2 1/4″ Red Oak in the state, but he did it.

Ten hours in the car well-spent, Shane.

Cabinet day!  Thrilling.

Down to the details.

But Sweet Jesus, what a mess.  Our kitchen and living room were stuffed into our basement and bedrooms and then the insulators showed up and needed access to the attic through the guest room closet and all of that crap ended up on our bed for a day and I felt like I was living in a hoarder’s house.  We hung in there, but there were points when the stress of the mess felt crushing.

There were a couple of hiccups near the end, like when I asked the tile guy to pull down half a day’s work because the white tile I ordered looked dingy and gray next to our beautiful new countertops, and when the floor refinisher told us we needed to be out of the house for two separate weekends while the fumes cleared, and then when I went and had a baby before things were all wrapped up, but eventually, it was done.

And I love it.

The awkward nook is super-functional now with tons of storage and a bench/shoe drawer and the open shelving of my dreams.

And that open corner is so handy for keeping an eye on the little rascal.

It’s not always this clean (it’s never this clean), but it’s bright and there’s a place for everything and our new dishwasher doesn’t sound like a garbage truck.  I’m so grateful.

May: Glorious bouts of sunshine, weekends at the softball and soccer fields, and more quality time with Grandma and Grandpa!  My dad joined my mom in Seattle at the beginning of the month to pitch in on the childcare front as Isaac transitioned into daycare.  It was such a treat to have my parents with us for an extended amount of time and see them fold into our day-in and day-out.

Grocery shopping with an extra set of hands is so helpful – one cart for the baby, one cart for the food.  And speaking of helpful, Isaac feeds himself now!

My mom and I made quite a ritual out of our morning coffee and spent our few weeks together perfecting our grounds-to-water ratio in the French Press and the Chemex.

We also zeroed in on our favorite wine varietals for evening Happy Hour…

My mom held Isaac extra-close on her last evening here – she fell pretty hard for him, with his generous smiles and sweet baby nuzzles.

I mean, how could you not?

(For the record, Juliette got plenty of love, too!)

Mother’s Day was a mostly-chill Sunday, though Shane was thoughtful in layering on a couple of thoughtful touches.  The signet rings he ordered me with the kids’ initials were late in arriving, so he and Juliette dashed out for a backup gift.  Isaac helped me tear into it, and the look on his face says it all.  You got Mom a…?

Leaf blower?  Indeed!  And I LOVE IT.

Juliette made me a card and “Isaac” made me this funny bouquet at daycare.

I always request French toast when homemade brunch is offered.

We got out for a short post-brunch family bike ride and discovered Isaac loves the feel of the wind in his hair.  Er…helmet.

My crew…I’m the luckiest mama.

May saw the end of softball season and dang it, I’ll miss watching these Dragons round the bases!

Isaac is also a fan.

Shane has often commended Juliette’s hustle, and it’s true – this kid leaves nothing on the field.

Saturdays were for softball and Sundays are for soccer.

It’s a pretty ideal way to pass a sunny afternoon, on a blanket with my boy while his sister dashes back and forth in front of us.


May also brought several school festivities and after two years of hardly getting to interact with Juliette’s teacher or classmates, it was nice to spend an evening at the 2nd grade Spring Fling.

And the annual Move-A-Thon!  Issac and I walked over to the school parking lot on a sunny Friday to see how many laps Juliette could run in the space of 20 minutes.

Answer:  A LOT.

Playground weather is upon us and we’ve been heading down to Ercolini a couple times a week, first for the swings, but also for the plethora of riding toys.

See what I said earlier about the wind in his hair?!

Sister snaps:

And finally, cozy-time at home, because May certainly isn’t all sunshine and parks.  Chair snugs…

Couch snugs..

And floor snugs.  We’re a lovey-dovey bunch.

Juliette and I took a stroll during West Seattle’s big Garage Sale Saturday and she came home with this getup – we’re covered for Halloween 2022!

Or maybe just for a typical Friday night, knowing how this girl likes to roll…

Juliette also picked up this puzzle from a yard sale, which I thought was a terrible idea, but she loves a challenge!

Shane and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary with homemade Manhattans, fancy takeout, and a living room viewing of Top Gun while Isaac slept and Juliette spent the night at friend’s house.

I slept like a baby after that Manhattan, but Juliette got hardly any shut-eye during her slumber party.  She came home a bit of a mess and I asked her if she wanted to lay down with me, like old times, and voila…I still got it.

And now it’s June and it’s been awfully rainy, but I’m sure we’ll make it back outside for some backyard brunching before the month is over.  I think the best is yet to come.

I know I open each monthly update with, “I can’t believe how he’s grown!”, but YOU GUYS. I can’t believe how he’s grown.  Four weeks ago Isaac was still struggling to figure out how to crawl, perching awkwardly on his hands and knees and making the tiniest moves forward if I placed a toy just out of reach.

But then it suddenly clicked; he mastered his arm-leg coordination on a Saturday in early May and that day was one of the happiest he’d had in weeks – my dad and I watched baseball in the living room while Isaac zipped around on the floor, stopping every couple of minutes to contentedly play with a toy or read (err…chew on) a book. He reveled in his independence. Then tried to help himself to Grandpa’s chips and beer as a reward. FREEZE, kiddo!

Suddenly I had a fully-mobile child who can follow me around the house and pull on my pants leg while I’m washing dishes and attempt to crawl into the fireplace when no one is looking. He’s fast. And incredibly proud of himself.

Life is now a chorus of “Isaac, don’t go in there!” (said as he beelines for the fireplace) and “Isaac, that’s not for eating!” (said as he picks up Shane’s shoe by the front door) and “Isaac, no touching!” (said as he reaches for my beloved fiddle leaf plant) and “ISAAAAAAAC!” (said all the time, really). It’s exhausting. But the games of hide and seek are awfully fun. That smile, when he discovers me crouched behind the couch, make up for the tipped-over house plants.

He found Sister!

In addition to crawling like a big kid, he’s eating like a young buck – I’d been holding back on solids because of he wasn’t super-interested in them and was so prone to getting plugged up, but once my mom and I figured out that a steady breakfast of prunes and yogurt keep him regular, his menu has broken wide open. Baby boy loves avocados and cheese and especially little bits of grass-fed beef sausages (ok, they’re hot dogs!). He sucks down fruit and veggie pouches and pounds the bananas and strawberries like there’s no tomorrow.

His booster seat now doubles as a barber’s chair; Isaac’s hair was falling across his forehead and into his eyes, so my mom gave him his first trim last month while he sat not-so-patiently in his chair.  He has some long wisps near his ears that are driving me crazy, but I don’t love the thought of wielding scissors so close to his lobes when he’s so wiggly – he might be getting his next cut in his sleep!

The only waking hours when he’s really still are when we’re out and about – he still loves the stroller and is typically very chill in his carseat.  The shopping cart is a new favorite.  Like his sister, he’s an excellent errand buddy.

Isaac started daycare at the beginning of May and has largely weathered the transition like a champ.  A few tears at drop-off, but he seems to love being around other babies during the day and is all smiles when we pick him up.  Man, he’s tired, though.  Completely tuckered by 5pm, wanting to doze in my arms during Juliette’s soccer practice or grab a quick snooze in the Ergo during our evening walks.

Sometimes, though, the evening walks are all giggles.

And…the tidal wave of cute pics, starting with the sweetest of crib pick-ups.

Chair pics, of course.

And…just Isaac being Isaac.  This boy is a handful and a half, but he really is such a cheery, fun-loving little guy.

Oh, Buddy.  Friday mornings, after we’ve dropped Sister off at school and it’s Mama-Isaac time, make me so very happy.

Happy three-quarter birthday, Baby.