Let’s talk about (this) House, baby.

This house, happy sigh. You might know the feeling of finally belonging somewhere? I’ve never felt that in a home. A house was always something to trade-in, trade-up. It was dispensable. Something to help you get along in life, definitely a place to rest and live, but never get too comfortable. The future was always nearer than our present – always looming with change.

Carpet squares be gone!

I have, um, moved a few times in my life. Just a few. And this last move? At a meager 28 years old (technically with more moves than my years under my belt) this last move felt like the first right move.

Our very first home as a married couple was also the right move, but a lifetime ago. My first experience of living on my own – my first bit of adulthood freedom. It was glorious – she’ll always hold a special place in my heart. But that house held the memories of the phone call that told me he was gone. It held our first year of marriage secrets, fights and fits, it held job losses and change and positive tests. That house couldn’t hold us for very long, so she let us go.

And little did we know after that little house, we were on a wild journey. It took 6 years of thinking, fretting and planning to realize we were starting – but away we went. A huge curve ball in our lifestyle, a new dream to freedom. We became a debt free family.

This is still something we live every day – we just don’t talk about it as much. We reached our goal – and there’s a shift in thinking when these zeros on a page that dictate your every move all of a sudden add up to zero. It doesn’t loom over you anymore, you no longer think about it night and day. The graphs and spreadsheets look less angry and you start to notice the color of the sky … which happens to not be grey and black and stormy.

So… this house. We’re making it our home. The work has started and I am by no means, whatsoever, a decorator or professional – I have friends who are and they’re amazing and probably scoff at half the things I do, but thats ok. I’m not looking for professional. I’ve made bad design choices, I’m sure. But I make my own choices. I just like it that way.

My Pinterest boards are full of inspiration (trendy or not) and bold ideas. I’ve always stayed safe, maybe even boring, when redoing houses before. Always thinking of resale. Tan, beige, matchy matchy. But not here.

Upstairs pattern wall: Triangles

I want bold prints and patterns. Bling, lux and maybe a little so-ugly-I-can’t-believe-she-did-that.

I don’t want more, infact I want less. I don’t want “right now” – we want “forever”.

Grout for shower floor tomorrow, I'm guessing. Eeeeeeee!!!!

So we save our pennies, we get opinions, we wait. Then we go.

Chimnayyyyy!

And I suppose if it takes us the rest of our live’s to make every nook and crannie of this house a completely lovable, lived in, wildly open, always cooking, harvesting home … well, then I’m going to love every single bit of it.

Secret room!!

And I hope they fall into the cracks of comfort, the unforgettable and knowing pattern of this house. The creaks and secret hideaways. I hope they’re making a map of this house with their footprints and crumbs because this house is making a world for us to live in.

A world where we all finally fit.

[More on this house? Let’s discuss the porch and making signs. How about subfloors or tearing down walls and obsessing over Pinterest. Take that one step farther. And we can discuss the basement briefly, too.]

When the dust settles

Back in November of 2012 (like the olden days.) we started doing some work on this house. (Here’s the tour of the house when we bought it in April 2012.)

During the craziness that is remodeling, another Kia car rolled up and joined the party in our driveway.

Our driveway is a parking lot lately - but oooooh! Look what showed up today? The 2013 #Kia. I will drive you.

The inside of our house mirrored the chaos on the outside and I kind of just hid in the corner while a crew was working, Oliver was puking and I was trying not to faint (low blood sugar …)

It would be better if we could all just pretend this mess is from the basement project. Aaaaaand not my own. Because, shhhh.

No makeup, overloaded on laundry, officially a week of construction, Oliver has the flu, no one slept at all last night, low blood sugar morning! Tuesday.

It was a special time. The laundry monster was screaming, too.

It was a hectic week – the one before Thanksgiving – and when I wasn’t making decisions about where my laundry room was going to be or what kind of trim I wanted; I was tending to a sick kid, often two of them, on little to no sleep and trying to keep my body working.

I didn’t really get to enjoy the car. It was pretty, that’s for sure. And fast. Aaron took it to work a few days and completely fell in love. He figured out how to get the bluetooth working and would call me just to see if I could hear him. Can you hear me now? (moves around in the car … repeats.) He’s adorable.

Thankfully, we made it through the basement remodel. The day after we finished painting – I hosted the Holiday Open House.

Home stretch. Cleaning the hardwood, painting the trim ... All for tomorrow's girl.

And the dust settled, I got sick – I think, I’m pretty sure. There was sickness all over the place for a while and maybe it was just exhaustion – but we moved furniture around and celebrated Christmas and made trips and trips and trips to the Goodwill drop-off zone. Video games were played, carpets were vacuumed, cookies made. We even went to Great Wolf Lodge somewhere in there. Days blur together, experiences stand out. And this house is becoming our home.

I ended 2012 in the bath at home, the kids were tucked in and Aaron was able to go to a Party with friends – but I needed to be alone. The end of a very difficult year for me (us), it just needed to hold my hand on the way out. I couldn’t dance and drink and forget how far I came for the night. I needed to stare it in the face, I needed to write my way past 2012. I needed to move on.

Changes are happening all over, still. We finished the basement (mostly) but just started the basement bathroom – when this project wraps the basement will be complete. But the frames we hang will change, the cars we drive will break and go fast or sit in our driveway, the dust will swirl endlessly. Until it stops.

And then we’ll sweep the floors and clear the cobwebs, fluff the towels and replace the soaps.

And it will all change again, anyway.

Progress!

You can keep up with the changes via Instagram and Flickr.

(Huge thanks to Kia for lending me another amazing car for a week to try. Or for Aaron to try and me to drool over. That one trip to the store though, that was epic.)

My tips for staying above water

I was talking to Aaron last night about how the past few years have been a funnel of work. Hyper focused on getting to a goal and picking up whatever we could along the way to stay afloat.

The photos we have framed and hung up on our walls are all years old and when I look around I’m still looking for my wispy haired little girl to be painting on my walls or my blazing blue eyed boy to be looking at me just so, probably with food all over his face.

Painting (ehum, her face?)

Happy Napper

It’s not that we missed anything, we just weren’t watching it as closely as before. And now the time has passed but we’re floating, finally. As a family, a couple. Myself, as an individual. I’m starting to feel like I can float as a mother. Not without trying and not bypassing the work, but like I can finally feel my wings.

Of course I know there will be times when the chaos overtakes our lives again and with parenting, the joy is bigger as they get older but so are the challenges. So here’s my tips for when that shadow of fear creeps up on me, something I can always look back at and remember that I can do this – because I already have.

For the home:

Prioritize and Blank Slate:
Planning is one of my favorite parts of home ownership, redoing is another. It’s overwhelming though, so take steps. The house we bought was empty for YEARS before we found it and although we (hopefully) found all the surprises with our inspection – each season might bring a new challenge this first year.

What I’ve found most helpful is to change what you can only if that change brings a blank slate.

We learned we have a massive yard after moving in (yes, after!) and I love to garden – but this year was all about prep. We had to remove trees and brush, kill poison ivy and dream up a few great ideas.

Cutting trees down

Used to be a jungle.

For the kitchen:

Break it down.
For me, I love to be in the kitchen baking and cooking. I love food prep and freezing meals. Making lunches, hosting parties, having snacks for everyone who enters our doors. I can easily overwhelm our tiny fridge, miniscule freezer and my family if I don’t have a plan. Not to mention our budget.

So I meal plan. (Or check out this video tutorial I did here.) It’s a process and it does take time, but from my menu plan I make a grocery list and then spend less at the store. It’s tried and true, it works.

Most of the meals I make require prep time and fresh ingredients. Last night we had ratatouille, caprese salad and green beans with dinner rolls. Tonight we’ll have beef stew from the crock pot but I cut all the veggies and precooked the beef chunks last night and threw everything in a crock pot bag so this morning all I had to do was put the bag in my crock pot, and add the wet ingredients (which I also threw together last night).

Stew bag.

The idea is to have less work, keep the house cleaner and engage with my family. But I get there by working harder at first, so when my energy and patience runs out, I can sit and relax instead of running around forgetting essential things. (Don’t worry, this happens often! It’s work to be on top of things, but this is the work that I know pays off. Andrea actually just wrote about this beautifully. I love how she doesn’t let me think it’s easy for some people to be so on top of it, because it just isn’t.)

These are a few of the ways I stay on top of the whirlwind since starting school, changing schools, settling into a home (changing out seasonal clothing without involving packing boxes?!??!?! IT’S LIKE CHRISTMAS!) and realizing the growth in our family requires new patterns and definitely more of an idea of what we’re doing. (Aaron and I feel like we’re growing up, too.)

Tomorrow I’ll be back with my tips for the relational side of life. Kids & Relationships. How are things in your camp?

A free night

A free night on my calendar and immediately I’m plotting how to get the husband excited about a little DIY. Is tonight the night for painting? Maybe putting in that fire pit? YARD WORK! I know, I know: we’ll demo the bathroom. Paint the kitchen cabinets. GO TO A FLEA MARKET?!?!

Gone are the evenings of sitting on the couch catching up on Friday Night Lights or renting endless movies off iTunes. We have a life. That life is a house.

Should we plant a garden? Rent a wood chipper? Hang a tire swing? Have a family game night? Outdoor movie?

ShouldwedoanythingI’vepinnedonpinterestatanypointwhatsoever ::: BREATHE ::: becauseIcannotstopsomeonehelpme?

I have a passion, it turns out, for carpentry and devouring home improvement.

Your junk pile is not safe, it’s not off limits. I will hunt it, scour it’s goodness, save items and repurpose them.

I eat broken chairs for breakfast. Snacks? Are baby coffee tables, light fixtures and vinyl stick tiles. Dinner, as it turns out, might as well be one entrée after another of painting, demoing, and more painting. Dessert is obviously photographing and blogging about it all. Because, you guys. I mean. I just.

My husband likes a good scotch and a great book, someone send him a survival kit.

Until then, we’re donning paint shirts and endless color pallets. We swing hammers, slick brushes, topple bookcases.

All our love, we wish you were here!

Milkshakes? Or whiskey margaritas? #love

Signed:
xoxo
the Schaaps.

Owning a home

There’s something about owning a home that makes me think I know how to coupon. Amirite?

You might remember this list of things I don’t do includes COUPONING. But, I have zero defenses against this draw now that I have a house and a place to stock pile a few things. Maybe it’s something about not having to move again in less than a year? Our last rental was a dream – the homeowners were amazing, the house perfect. Just … I knew it wasn’t gonna last. It wasn’t ours. So many things yanked around in my head and heart because of this.

So I’ve asked my mom to start saving me the coupons out of the Sunday Paper again. I’m going to work on Walgreen’s deals first to get the hang of things. I’d like to be able to get our toiletries and paper products for close to free. That’s my couponing goal – aside from that (and shopping sales for groceries) I’m not gonna get Extreme Couponer’s on my family.

Shelves of canned goods and cereal in my bedroom? NoThankYou.

But also? Confession? I am beyond obsessed with Pinterest. We all are, really. But I’m obsessed with DOING things off of Pinterest.

For instance … I tried this tub cleaner and yes, it’s true. A little bit of magic. Heat the vinegar, I think that’s the trick.

After seeing this floor treatment I promptly tore a wall out of our basement by myself (with help from my brother’s via phone and text) and then bought some vinyl 12X12 stick down tiles and laid me a new floor.

BEFORE:

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DURING:

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AFTER:

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Remember the giant JENGA set we made? Me, too. It’s so fun. All because of Pinterest.

After seeing this pin for a face mask I gave it a whirl.

I don't know what to tell you. I can't be left alone? Nah, that's not it.

I used this pin’s information for a free RedBox rental. I’ll never pay for a movie rental again, happily!

Tried this out on my hair with little success. I have to figure out how to dirty up my hair to hold curl. Working on it.

After seeing this trash can turned bedside table I finally knew what to do with the black mesh trash can hanging out in the basement doing nothing. Voila!

Pinterest inspired bedside table. Trash can flipped over and painted. Take that, no one in particular.

And the list keeps growing. Like this pin on DIY curtain rods (or this one or this one) which turned into these:

One down, 7 to go.

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I love having little projects going on and having access to all these ideas is priceless.

What are you guys up to lately?