Week in Review | June 23-27

Sometimes it’s fun to review the week offline. It is summer after all. Time to unplug. So here’s an easy breezy quote I found in my latest issue of Country Living magazine. Hope your weekend is filled with plenty of grass-lying, water-listening, cloud-watching!


Bumpdate | 15 Weeks


HOW FAR ALONG: 15 weeks

BABY SIZE: Avocado

GENDER: Finding out next appointment!


WHAT TO WEAR: Had to email my boss last week with a “Having my first holy-shit-none-of-my-clothes-fit moment. I’m going to be late.” Then promptly went big gal pregnancy clothes shopping the next day.




SLEEP: Totally thrown off after West Coast travel and not having a husband in the bed but getting back in the swing of nine o’clock bedtimes and weekend afternoon naps. Mmmmm, naps.

MOVEMENT: Midwife told me flutters could start any day now.

MISSING: My ability to dress myself without marveling at the size of my boobs. They’re getting National Geographic-style amazing.

CRAVINGS: Cheese still holds a very special place in my heart.

SYMPTOMS: Night and day compared to the first trimester. Happy to have relief from the nausea and vomiting but headaches are a bitch no matter how much water I pound. Finding myself extra clumsy these days too- probably due to my shifting center of gravity but it really does seem like walls and countertops are just coming out of nowhere!

HUSBAND: Spouting Italian at me and the mini. So great to have him back from his Italian adventure but I’d rather not have this kid pop out saying things like “ciao mama!” and kissing his fingertips after a satisfying breast feed.

FAVORITE MOMENT THIS WEEK: As much as I’m complaining about my clothes not fitting and my body dishing out a little one-two-punch to my ego, it really is the most exciting thing to watch our baby grow. The last ultrasound showed the baby’s growth two days ahead of schedule so I’m banking on the fact that this little one is an overachiever just like his parents. So grow, baby, grow! Mama can always rock a muumuu.

The Week in Review | June 16-20

I want to start off today’s post with a big thank you to my family. It’s been an emotional two weeks for me. Jared’s been away visiting our friend in Italy, I had to travel to San Francisco for work, I had another baby appointment so I got to hear my little one’s heartbeat again, and in the midst of all of these ups and downs and in betweens, my family was dealing with the loss of my Aunt.

Whether I’m beaming with delight or shedding some mournful tears, I always come back to the fact that I am so so grateful to be back in Massachusetts surrounded by family. There is no one that I’d rather share the joys and sorrows with than the people around us here. So thanks my peeps. I couldn’t be prouder to be part of this cast of characters.

Now let’s get things back to normal and check out some more emotionally stable bloggers…

Week in Review

  1. Julia Ryan shared her progress on the Big Boy Room. Love the neutrals with a pop of green. Maybe I’ll borrow for my little boy or girl room.
  2. This set up for Coco + Kelley‘s Saturday Supper Club is what I envision for our backyard harvest table set up. No curbside dining chair is safe from me! Sand it, paint it, call it a backyard dining chair!
  3. Thank you Dear Lillie for showing just how stunning an IKEA dresser can be with a little creativity!
  4. Savvy Home took us around this Sag Harbor house and I have to say, this photo made me fall in love with painted ship lap. Although is it still ship lap when it’s hung vertical? Maybe its just the nicest wood paneling I’ve ever seen then!
  5. And finally, I had to include yet another Julia Ryan post because when I came across this photo from her collection of white sofa inspirations, I wanted nothing more than to curl up in it and take the most wonderful afternoon nap right there!

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

WARNING: Today’s post is super long. Pull up a chair and a large cup of coffee because you may be here awhile.

Today, I’m drawing inspiration from one of my favorite blogs Nesting Place who’s joining forces with 24 other bloggers to show off their real homes. Real, imperfect, not styled for Better Homes & Gardens homes.

In last week’s post, Nester Girl shares, “We’ve knocked down walls, we’ve put things off, we’ve lived with the undone and the imperfect. We’ve got little pockets of pretty next to little pockets of ‘we’ll do that one day when we get more money and time’. There’s some pretty, there’s some potential, there’s some ugly, and it’s only fair that I show you all of it.”

Her leap of faith to show the un-blog-worthy parts of her house has really opened my eyes.

Of course I’m proud of our house and could not be more pleased to show off our beautiful rooms that we’ve spent the last fourteen months renovating. But there are plenty of not-so-great areas. Even downright scary looking sections. Because the Nester Girl is absolutely right- there isn’t enough time or money to do it all at once. We’re not Kim & Kanye for christ’s sake! We’re Jared & Julie- excited to DIY, saving for a baby, working full time jobs, exhausted and (one of us) pregnant.

So allow me to take this post to showcase the reality of our renovation. You’ve seen what we’ve done (pssst, visit the House Tour page for ever changing present pics) and now it’s time to see what we’ve yet to do.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re dying to work on this stuff but the “when are you going to do something with that?!” comments are really not helping us any. Seriously people. Back off. We’ll get to it. And in the meantime, if you’d like to donate any funds and manual labor, we’d welcome it with open arms! Kidding, sort of.

We’re certainly not short on ideas. Here’s the current to-do list…

1. Baby’s Room: Priority numero uno. Last year we removed that pesky drop ceiling, ripped up the shag carpet, added the can lights and new ceiling fan, but that’s basically where we left it. The door stays closed darkening our second floor hallway and we’ve just been using the room for storage. But since I’m in a constant state of nesting even when not pregnant, you can imagine how badly I want to see this room primed and painted and ready for all that cutesy-ootsey goodness!


2. Basement: A dumping zone for all our paints and supplies, the only thing we really have to show for progress on this basement is this new zoned heating system and new stairs.



With no chance of turning this into a finished basement (not enough ceiling height) we do have plans to make this a clean and bright storage space. We’re even prepared with loads of shelving in those neon green boxes.


And speaking of storage, since we cleaned out the baby’s room in preparation for painting and have yet to clean and paint the basement, where do you think all our storage boxes went?


Yup, the third floor guest room. So in case you were expecting to stay at the hotel Swanson in the next few months, better look into more spacious accommodations!

3. Third Floor Stairs & Landing: Ugh! There are few spots in our house that make me more unhappy than this third floor landing. I guess it’s a testimony to how much we’ve accomplished since at one point this house was covered in this blue carpeting and pastel wallpaper. But most of the time it just reminds me of Aquanet and shoulder pads… aka everything that was wrong with the 1980s!




4. The Backyard: So yes, progress has been made with the removal of the pool and deck and the painting of the back steps. BUT, there is still so much to do! Yardwork is daunting for me in a way that our indoor renovation never was. I think it’s the time consuming nature of it and the serious manual labor involved. Not to mention the cost! Our yard will be a step by step by step by step process that will take shape over the next 5-10 years- as most people’s yards/homes tend to be.


Though it’s a patchy mess to the right where the pool and deck were, I still could not be happier to have that hideous thing out of my yard. And the small piles of wood chips are a victory too. Buh bye stumps! That back red fence you see covered in vines will be another thing of the past this month.


But the rest will come in pieces over the next few years. Like this area that I hope to have gravel laid, three large raised vegetable beds, and a large grilling area. I’m currently collecting mismatched wooden dining chairs that will someday sit at a long harvest table in the middle of the yard. For those of you that are Parenthood fans, yes, Braverman-style.


And then we have super lofty goals for the left side of the yard. We’d love to extend our driveway straight back into the yard that arrives at a large shed/garage in the back corner. Not necessarily for all the vehicles we intend to own but more as an area that our kids could ride bikes and skateboards and play hopscotch and Jared could store all his workout, and biking, and kiteboarding gear in. The man has a lot of gear. I will gladly park in the driveway and forever scrape off snow and ice from my car for the hubs to have a garage-man cave. After all, he did tear down a big ugly pool for me.


5. The Little Things: These are things that obviously didn’t matter as much to us if we haven’t gotten to them by now but eventually, we really will get to them. Promise!

Like a new screen door. We never did find the screen to this storm door and our house gets intense morning sun! Mix that with a black front door and black storm door with no ventilation and holy hell will that heat hit you when you open the door in the morning! We have our sights on a beautiful new storm door, just need to get around to actually buying and installing it.


Mudroom closets. Again, we know the IKEA closets we will eventually purchase for this nook. We’ll be able to store all our winter coats, hats, gloves plus a small cleaning closet for this neat-freak so I can stop dragging down the vacuum from the third floor! But for now, it’s a good nook for the stroller! Yes, at just two months pregnant, we researched and bought a stroller. Remember my husband loves gear? Even baby gear!


Shelves in the bathroom. Another little nook! It was always intended for shelves, we just haven’t gotten around to it. Eventually it will be nice to have a space for washcloths, extra toiletries, and those bath toys that are bound to accumulate no matter how much of a minimalist we think we are.


Finally, this dilapidated wall in Jared’s office. My husband really is a saint. He’s never once complained about this nasty wall and his desk happens to face it. You know there’d be some serious bitching from me if I had to stare at these gaping cracks and wonky door to the old chimney stack that doesn’t closed every day! But bless his heart, not a word. It’s on the to-do list nevertheless.


Stepping it Up

Our front steps have been an embarrassment for quite some time. Not much to look at originally, they really went from bad to worse with all the lumber, garbage, appliances and furniture going in and out that door for a year.

Here’s our front steps way back in April 2013…


And then only a month later. Our demolition boots were not kind to these steps…


By the end of May 2013, I had to do something to prove to the neighbors that we really were going to take care of and love this house! So up went the grass and in went the garden…


After a long, hard winter I am pleased to report that almost all of our perennials survived and are starting to thrive!


Only catch is, the better the garden looked, the worse those stairs looked!

We’ve come to the conclusion that wood outdoor stairs in New England is just a bad idea. Between the snow and salt and then a blast of heat in the summer, paint peels and wood splinters. So down the road, we’d really like to do something spectacular with our home’s first impression and replace the entire portico with a larger façade and stone steps.

But needless to say (as I rub my growing belly) it is looooow on the priority list.

So a temporary painted face lift will have to do the trick! Jared researched and purchased a fantastic full coverage deck paint from Behr Premium called Deck Over in pewter. This goes on thick like quick sand and fills in a lot of cracks even on concrete. We tried to purchase the exact same consistency in white but despite the white sample on the display in Home Depot, the helpful paint staff assured us it didn’t come in white and provided us with a Behr Premium white stain. This was definitely not as all-covering as the Deck Over brand but after two coats, we were satisfied enough with the results.

And speaking of results…

It’s not perfect and there are definitely a couple spots to touch up but overall, I think it makes a huge difference to the curb appeal on our home.


I really have to give Jared all the credit on this one. These paints had a strong smell to them and he would not have his pregnant wife helping even if it was outside. So a full weekend was devoted to the front and back steps! Bravo husband!