Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summer Projects: The Kitchen Countertops

I don't know a whole lot about the 1950s (I don't watch Mad Men) but I have picked up a few little snippets over the last 4+ years we've lived in this house. Number one on my list of interesting facts is that people in the 50s were definitely NOT afraid of color. Does anyone remember the pink bathroom

Schmoopsie took a trip over the holiday weekend to help pick up MJ from her Alaskan adventure, and I thought this would make for a perfect time to attack my kitchen. We had to go stay with my mom anyway since she was on over-night kid duty while I worked, so we wouldn't care that the kitchen was not functional for 3 days while the new finishes dried.

Long ago, I stayed home sick from work and painted my cabinets black. (No rule against painting when you're sniffley.) You can see that transformation here. This is basically what our kitchen has looked like over the last several years.

Along with painting the counters, I also painted the backsplash that pumpkin color. While I don't hate that color, it wasn't my first choice for the room, but I was significantly limited in my color selection because, as you'll see below, the countertops had a lovely orange cloud pattern on them.

So pretty.

I couldn't stray too far, then, from the color when painting the backsplash, but I had to do something. You see, the original backsplash color when we moved in was also orange, but in a different, horrible sort of way. Check it out.

Yes, that neon orange strip in the middle where the new paint scraped off was the original color. I'll tell you what, those pearl-wearing mid-century housewives were BOLD.

So anyway, when I was wandering around our local home improvement store several weeks ago, I noticed that a new product was available to paint over ugly laminate counters. It's super inexpensive ($20 for the quart, which was more than enough for the approximately 3 feet of countertop space I enjoy) and seemed like a safe bet to try. I mean, when you're starting with orange clouds, there's basically only one direction to go from there.

Now, I've done some crazy things to this house on a whim, most of which involved paint, and I've been lucky enough that they all turned out great. This was the very first project that left me thinking maybe I sort of hated it. It wasn't the product's fault. It was mostly easy enough to apply, and my only real complaint was it was super stinky. Since I was once again attempting major home improvements while alone with two kids, I had to banish the Bug to her bedroom so she wouldn't inhale all the fumes.

The thing that freaked me out (and, to be honest, still sort of does) was the color. The product only comes in very dark shades, and since the cabinets were already black, I was worried that a grey or charcoal would make the kitchen very dark. Hindsight is 20/20, of course, and I'm positive now that charcoal would've been fine, but that's water under the bridge.

Without further delay, this is the finished look:

Here is where I seek for your external validation. Do you like my red countertops? Are they awful?

Here's one final comparison for you. What do you think?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Don't you hate those blogs where the baby is the author?

Hi guys!

Just thought I'd drop in to say hello. Mama can't blog today because she is too busy cleaning up after my sister who, as it turns out, is not such a shining star in the whole potty-training arena. Good thing there's plenty of leftover pet stain cleaner in the laundry room. Incidentally, the yellow lab for whom the cleaner was purchased has never had an accident in the house. Unlike some people I could name. Ahem.

So anyway, what with all the cleaning up Bug's pee spots and folding endless laundry and fertilizing the tomatoes by hand because the cruddy hose doesn't reach all the way out to where she planted them and searching for my missing shoe (MUST FIND BEFORE FAMILY PICTURES TOMORROW!), Mama is sort of swamped. Makes the milk around this joint taste like... stress.

And that's about all I have to say. Over and out.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Suspect lineup

I've never really felt that my kids look all that much alike. Bug looked like a miniature version of her daddy from the moment she was born, and Mr. Baggins has always struck me as an independent little fellow with his very own features.

I snapped some pictures of him yesterday. I decided to reminisce a little about the days when my princess was small (let's be honest, before she learned the great art of whining) and to my great surprise, found that I had taken pictures of Bug on the same couch within days of the same age as Baggins is now. 

I'm not too proud to admit when I'm wrong. I can still see lots of individuality-- in person, the difference in quantity of hair is much more staggering-- but it turns out there is a pretty decent family resemblance.

Mr. Baggins

Mr. Baggins

Do you like how I labeled them for you? As if you couldn't guess on your own that the one in the pink flowered top was the girl? Thought you'd appreciate that.

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Blessing Day

A couple of snapshots from the day we blessed Mr. Baggins. It was such a lovely day, even if I was an emotional mess. I blame it on a few things:

#1- My father. Along with a love of all things smothered in cheese and chili verde sauce, he passed down the familial propensity to cry at every available opportunity to his eldest daughter, and let's all just talk about how obviously spilling tears every ten seconds is not the least bit embarrassing or inconvenient. We cry when we're happy! We cry when we're sad! We cry when things are especially pretty, unexpected, maddening, touching, or when we have nothing more interesting to do.
#2- Tired. I get emotional when I haven't slept in a day and a half.
#3- Hormones. (How long can I use that excuse?)
#4- Look how cute my family is! How could I help myself? (Refer to #1.)

Bug had been playing Hop Like A Bunny with her uncle Braden prior to this picture, so her hair is decidedly less cute than it was before church. Also, I'm super disappointed that the red flower I had in her hair had fallen out by now. My family matched at church and I didn't even do it on purpose! (The hot pink leggings were also a late addition to maintain some level of decency during the aforementioned hopping game.)

Nana and PopPop. We didn't snap any pictures of Bunk and Grammy Lu before they had to sneak out. Grammy needed to lay down before she toppled over like the drunken sailor she was. (Curse that pesky vertigo!) We'll have to snap a few next time we see them. Assuming, of course, that we can find a time when neither my dad nor I are in the midst of a crying jag.

Four generations of good looks on my mom's side. This picture of Papa makes me miss my Grandpa Great. The men in that family look so much alike it's like generational Russian stacking dolls. Only they don't ever get shorter.

I felt so lucky to have so many of our closest family members there to support us. We missed MJ, who is still in Alaska (COME HOME ALREADY!) and Uncle Big, who is busy eating bats and singing Primary songs in Fiji. I am so glad that despite our non-traditional family dynamics, everyone loves each other. My children are surrounded by people who love them, and that's the best present I can give them.

That, and a healthy love of cheese. With a side of tears.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

This from the kid who still puts cottage cheese in her hair.

Prior to Sunday afternoon, I figured Bug's understanding of shapes was pretty much limited to what she learned from the farm-themed book we read every night before bed. Basically, that meant she thought a watermelon was called an oval, and could describe with great energy how the three-sided flag at Farmer Jed's fresh produce stand looks like a " tri-anal piece a peeeeesa!"

That is, until we pulled up to her Nana's house for dinner on Sunday afternoon, and a tiny voice perked up from the back seat.

"That's an octogon," she said, clear as day and as if it was the most normal thing in all the world. It was as mundane a statement to her as asking for goldfish crackers.

After making her repeat it a couple of times, I shook my head at Paddy, trying in vain to figure out where she might have heard that word, let alone put it in a sentence.

But Paddy wasn't looking at me. With a look of total confusion on his face, he pointed past my head to the house next door. There, in direct line of sight from her car seat, was a stop-signed shaped vent under the eaves of the neighbor's roof.

"That's an octogon," she said again, pointing directly at the vent.

Chick could have busted out with an entire verse of Beowulf and I would not have been more surprised.