It shouldn’t be too surprising to know that most of our to-do goals for 2014 are baby fueled and, with any luck, will be accomplished within the next 4.5 months or so. (Don’t laugh!) The slow-and-steady approach to home improvement has been luxurious, but now we’re feeling the push (pun totally intended) to get things done around here before Baby makes his or her grand appearance. Here goes nothin’!

1. Relocate the guest room. Currently the guest room is one of the three upstairs bedrooms, sandwiched in the corner of the house between our bedroom and the tiny bedroom (aka one possible future nursery space). Our plan is to move the guest room to the extra downstairs bedroom on the lower level in hopes our visiting family and friends will be less disturbed by midnight baby cries, feedings, and what have you. We’ve already installed new carpet down there, so we basically have to paint, move the furniture, and make it feel cozy. There’s also a full bathroom downstairs, too, so we’d like to spruce that up as well by removing the old, pink-tiled shower stall and installing a new tub/shower insert. Nothing fancy — just clean and functional!

2. Finish painting the rooms on the lower level. I know I said I was going to get this done last year, and right now I really wish I had! We did get our office fully painted and even primed the wood paneling in the den, but still the den needs to be painted along with the hallway and the soon-to-be guest room. Getting the downstairs bathroom painted would be nice too, but I doubt we’ll get to that until the new tub/shower is installed. If only we could convince a few of our super-nice friends and/or family members, we could probably knock all this out in a weekend. Any takers?!

3. Update the stairs and replace railings in the foyer. Ah, the bane of my existence. It’s about time for the rest of that green carpet and those weak metal railings to get gone! We’ll be hiring someone for this task and plan to get a few quotes over the next several weeks to hopefully have the work begin in early spring, well before Baby arrives. Plans are to refinish the oak treads, paint the risers white, install new trim and hardwood on the landing, and replace the railings with classic wooden ones with chunky posts that can handle a baby gate.

4. Prepare the nursery. Now for the fun part! Baby is growing fast and furiously — I’m currently 20 weeks along, which means we’re already halfway through the pregnancy…what the what?! Once we find out if Baby is a boy or girl (this Friday, to be exact!), we’re going to dive right in to nursery decorating. We already have a couple of themes picked out, naturally, along with some awesome ideas we’ve been collecting for many months, even before Baby was a twinkle in our eyes. Needless to say, we’re both stupid excited about this and after Friday, we’ll know exactly which direction to go with this nursery business. Prepare yourself for way too many posts about this!

So, sounds do-able, right? Please say yes. Before May is over, I hope to proudly say all this work is done and we’re 100% prepared for Baby’s arrival…ha. I guess technically I should be calling this the “First Half of 2014 Game Plan,” but if we’re going to be hustling through all these projects, then giving birth and taking care of a newborn infant afterwards, I’d say that’s plenty of to-dos for one year. Godspeed to us!

[2014 image via Pinterest.]


2013 RECAP.

Happy 2014, all! Yet another year has ended and a new one begins. Are you excited? Or do you have post-holiday depression? I’m feeling a little bit of each, I think, especially since every year seems to fly by even quicker than the last. I guess this is what growing older feels like? If so, this sucks. But before I complain too much, I have to say that lucky 2013 was a pretty fantastic year for us, so we have lots to be thankful for. Here’s a little recap of where we went and what we did.

We started the year off by looking back on our 2012 highlights and formulating a game plan of to-dos for 2013 (on which we actually made some decent progress). I shared a little switcheroo we made in our dining room, some photos from inauguration weekend in DC, and a tasty recipe for blood orange sangria. Make and enjoy some on my behalf, please, since I can’t feed that to my fetus.

Other winter activities included clearance shopping, creating a frame gallery in our living room, painting our kitchen, and posting a little something special for Lovey on Valentine’s Day. Aww, I almost forgot I did that.

When springtime rolled around, I wasn’t very active blog-wise, which means I was actually swamped in real life. I posted about a spring break trip we took with friends to Savannah, Georgia, and also about the progress we’d made on our hall bathroom project. In May, we celebrated our third (!) wedding anniversary and, simultaneously, our second anniversary as homeowners.

Over the summer, we did a little traveling: we spent a week with Jamie’s parents in New England, a half-week with my parents in North Myrtle Beach, and saw the big fireworks show in DC for the first time with my cousins. I also shared a fave vegetarian recipe and kept true to my word by posting an Allie-themed update on our halfway-point 2013 game plan progress.

Fall again was busy for me, but I squeezed in a few posts about some new additions to our walls, my annual listing of fave pumpkins du jour, and the new carpet installation process for the lower level of our house. That’s one big, fat goal accomplished!

Lastly I finished out the year with my usual discussion of how I decorated my tree this season while also making the very unusual announcement that we’re expecting a baby due to arrive June 1! That’s easily my favorite project and “most bestest creation” of 2013.

Quite the year, indeed! Now it’s time to prepare for 2014 and map out roughly how this next year will go down, at least as far as we can control it. Life’s getting real now…we’re going to be parents soon…it’s on!

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, y’all! And this season I’ve been super psyched about Christmas since Halloween was barely over…really. While that’s unusually early for me, I’ve still managed to fall behind in some of our holiday tasks (will there ever be a year when I’m not?!) like constructing and decorating our tree. But as of a week and a half ago, our tannenbaum’s up, lit, and decked out with all kinds of goodness.

This year I have neither a definitive tree theme nor a cutesy theme name to go along with it (shocking, I know). It’s pretty similar to last year’s “folksy metallic” with a few minor adjustments. I increased the number of wooden and soft/fabric ornaments for a homier vibe, and as far as metallics, I used less silver and more gold or bronze/copper ornaments for a warmer feel. Like usual, we’ve included lots of our fave ornaments from years’ past (white wooden snowflakes, pinecones, birds, and what have you) along with some new additions.

My mom found this furry, little fox for our tree (it’s from Kohl’s, I think).

I picked up this soft and chubby schnauzer from Crate + Barrel in honor of Allie.

This adorable gnome is also, not surprisingly, a C+B find.

I inherited these pretty, gold-streaked ornaments from my grandma’s collection.

Jamie’s parents gifted us this shiny cable car to commemorate our visit to San Francisco last year.

We’re representing the nativity with some wooden wise men (just two of them — the third was nowhere to be found).

On our highest bough, we have a little bird in a wreath, a gift from Jamie’s Grandma Henry whom we lost this past year.

Last but not least, as soon as I saw this wooden family of ornaments including a daddy, mommy, baby, and child, I had to have it. Especially since we’re expecting a new addition to our family…

That’s right, Jamie and I are having a baby! And I’m so glad I don’t have to keep it a secret anymore! It’s pretty much our biggest news yet and needless to say, we are beyond thrilled to become parents. Around Thanksgiving, I was nearing the end of the first trimester (aka the safe zone) so we decided that would be a great time to share with our family and close friends…and now I feel ready to proclaim it on my blog! Currently I am 16 weeks along with a due date of June 1, and so far Baby and I are doing great.

Hope everyone is having a happy holiday season! This one’s been a whirlwind for us — I didn’t even get to put up our Christmas bucket list this year! But there’s still a week left until Christmas, so we plan to enjoy this last holiday as just husband, wife, and dog before a little baby joins our family…!

Merry Christmas to all and wishing you the best for a wonderful 2014!