Saturday, December 29, 2007

Wrapping up 2007

We're back from sunny Florida after a much too short trip. It's incredibly hard to leave 80 degrees and sunny when you know you're heading into snow and freezing coldness. Ah well. I hope you all had a very merry Christmas (if you celebrate)! Now to wrap up 2007 the old fashioned way:

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before?
Bought my first house. That was an experience that exhausted and thrilled me all at the same time.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't do resolutions because I have a very hard time sticking to them. But this year I have made one that I intend to keep: to be a good parent.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
A few friends of friends and Tim's cousin, but no one very close to me.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thank god.

5. What countries did you visit?
None. We traveled in the US this year, and most likely won't be making a trip out of the tri-state area until Miss Sarah decides on a locale for her NYE wedding next year! Hurry up, woman!

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
A healthy baby...but we weren't planning one for 2007 so does that count?

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
November 19, 2007. That was the day we found out we were having a wee little Smithy.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Again, buying our first home, and starting our family. It's been an exhausting year already :)

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not standing up for myself at work when my integrity was questioned by a person with a cold, dead space where her heart should be. To think she's studying to be a pediatric nurse now...I will throw myself before a speeding bus if she ever so much as lays a hand on my child. Now I must let go of this hate. Thank you.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Only self-inflicted. I had a small cosmetic procedure done just under a year ago, and it was the worst pain I have ever experienced. Beware.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My pup, Lily. She's the best furry thing that has ever graced this earth, and I am eternally grateful that Tim didn't make me take her back when I came home and he realized he was the proud parent of a 4 pound "purse dog".

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Tim's. The joy that he expresses about having this baby makes my heart explode.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
See above psychotic former employee. And Jamie Lynn Spears. Honey, they start talking about sex ed in 5th grade these days. You KNEW exactly what might happen.

14. Where did most of your money go?
The house. And Target. It's an illness, really.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Again, the baby. That news eclipsed anything else going on in the world.

16. What song will always remind you of 2007?
The Way I Am, Ingrid Michaelson (is that right?)

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier, but for different reasons. Last year was all about the wedding, which was amazing. And this past year was the beginning of our life together.
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter, but for good reason.
c) richer or poorer? Poorer, see #14.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Traveled. Anywhere.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying about all of it. Selling the condo, my fertility.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
In Florida with some of my family. It was a lovely day...and we took a ride on my Uncle's boat!

21. Did you fall in love in 2007?
Over and over again with my husband and our little blob of a baby.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Don't make fun: Notes from the Underbelly. That is some great sitcom writing. And it strikes a chord what with the pregnancy story line and all.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Nah. Only the psycho. But that was a 2007 issue.

24. What was the best book you read?
I read a lot but nothing really stayed with me. I'm taking recommendations for 2008.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Ingrid Michaelson. She's just so cool.

26. What did you want and get?
Baby Smithy.

27. What did you want and not get?
More sleep.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I am terrible at movies. I need to make Tim sign me up for Netflix...I'll get back to you on that one next year.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 26 this year, and we were staying at my parents' while we were waiting to move into the house. It was a nice day, but uneventful.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
This is so materialistic, but finding a damn couch for my living room. Even though I love to decorate, I hate furniture shopping, and I think that stems from my indecisiveness.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?
Veering into fashion victim land. And it's only going to get worse. I went into a Motherhood Maternity today to find some jeans, and I thought I was going to die in there. Why in the world would I wear a top that says BABY in bright red with an arrow? Like it's not completely obvious???

32. What kept you sane?
Tim and his patience.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Carter Oosterhouse from Carter Can on HGTV. Ladies, this is one perfect tall, dark, and sexy speciman, and though I rarely watch that show (and only for him if I do) he just makes me melt.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Oprah campaigning for Obama. I liked him so much more before he and Oprah teamed up. She may do good in the world, but I just can't get behind a candidate that relies so heavily on a richy-rich, media-centric show woman like Oprah. I prefer a candidate that doesn't need flash and cash to get his/her message out. Now if Hillary would stop being so wishy-washy, I might have my mind made up soon.

35. Who did you miss?
My friend, L, aka Kermit. She just up and moved to Maine yesterday, but I had to say goodbye last week. I'm going to miss her so very much.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
I didn't meet too many new people in 2007.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007.
Be kind to people, it gets you so much farther in life. That is the characteristic that Tim possesses that drew me to him in the first place. I am trying to be a kinder, softer person.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Like movie quotes, this is just something I can't do well. I'll leave it to you to add whatever sums up YOUR year.

Thanks for playing! May you have a happy, healthy end to 2007, and a celebratory beginning to 2008. I'll most likely be in bed for the midnight ball drop, so have a glass of champagne for me!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New pants, new attitude

My jeans? They are snug. As you could probably tell from that 8 week picture, my stomach is rounding quickly, and my jeans are leaving tell-tale waistband imprints on my skin. So I caved and bought...MATERNITY JEANS....duh duh duhhhhhhh. I tried to just go up a size but the waistband was still so tight and non-stretchy. And itchy and uncomfortable and just no. I ordered two pairs of jeans from Gap Maternity and one pair of black work type pants for the time being. And let me tell you something: stretchy waistbands are where it's at. Why we have suffered for so long stuffing our behinds into stiff pants is beyond me! Rejoice in the stretchy waistband!

Oh excuse me. I forgot for a minute that I am 26 and not 86. I don't really LIKE stretchy pants...just right now when I am gassy, and bloated, and my shape changes 5 times a day. The pants I bought are all a little big right now, which makes sense since I don't have a big ol' belly hanging around nor has my behind grown that much. But in due time, these pants will be a lifesaver. I'll settle for a little saggy right now if that means I can breathe comfortably and eat and not worry about the waistband of my pants slicing a hole in my hip.

In other news, we leave for Florida on Sunday, and I am just tickled pink. We decided to stuff a week's worth of stuff into two carry-ons...2 plane changes does not make me confident that our things will show up if we check them. I figure that about a tenth of my summer weather wardrobe fits anyhow so I'll be the chick wearing the same two skirts and tanks for the week. Washed and dried of course. At least every other day :) That, some flip flops, a bathing suit (OH GOD KILL ME NOW), and a dress for the country club dinner we'll most likely attend, and bam! We are packed. This is going to be my least fashionable vacation, and I am damn excited.

And when we get back, I go down to part time at work. Tuesdays and Thursdays I will be kicking ass and taking names at the office, and Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays you can find me watching Oprah, yoga-ing prenatal style, and attending various doctor appointments. Oh, and working for Tim. In my spare time. Nap time is from 2pm-3:30pm, just so you know.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Our First Year (a little late)

Our anniversary falls on November 25th, 4 days after Tim's birthday and right arond Thanksgiving. So it's a busy week to begin with. And this year, we found out we were expecting a little pooping and peeing bundle of joy the day before Tim's birthday. In all that excitement, we kind of pushed our anniversary to the background. I don't mean we forgot about it, but we didn't plan for it the way we might have if there was nothing else thrilling going on.

We ended up having a lovely weekend with a fantastic dinner on that Saturday night, and I surprised Tim with tickets to a Bears game on our actual anniversary (Sunday). But the shock of a baby on the way just subdued the whole occasion. We even forgot to eat the top of our wedding cake that my parents just couldn't WAIT to get out of their freezer. But you know what? I wouldn't change a single thing. We had an amazing year full of so many wonderful memories. We got married, we moved, and we started our own little family. Not everyday was blissful, of course, but it was a damn good year. I can't wait for decades more.

I never claimed to be proper

So, I've had a couple readers mention that my belly picture made them a little uncomfortable. Well, I should say that is my interpretation of their comments...the comments were more along the lines of "don't you want to keep that private?" or "that is too much information to share with everyone" or "seems a little improper". I understand where they are coming from as they are very proper ladies themselves, and they do prefer privacy to publicity.

This is not going to be another post from another whiny blogger complaining about how her readers don't underrrstaaaaaaandddddd and wahhhhhhhhh. All I have to say is that I choose what I post and when, and that is the beauty of a personal blog. I love that I have fabulous readers who choose to read and listen to what I have to say. It's gratifying to be complimented about a particular post, and humbling to be told that a post didn't sit so well with a certain person. I want this blog to be a living record of my existence...for my husband, my children, my family, my friends, and whoever else may be following along.

So, I apologize if I offended anyone, and I hope that those who felt that way understand what I am saying here. However, the belly pictures will still be coming at frequent intervals and will be labled as such. Feel free to skip over any content you may not like...I'm sure I'll be mouthing off about something you agree with soon. Hopefully I can look back on this little experiment and not be totally embarrassed. If I am, you'll be able to recognize the red cheeks from a mile away.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Why husbands don't get it

So I just showed Tim a picture of another blogger who is expecting. Her picture was of her belly at 11.5 weeks. Tim looks at it, looks at mine at 8 weeks, and says "Honey, you're bigger than her." He then follows that with this gem "It might be the McDonald's and Potbelly's shakes...maybe?" And then I killed him. The End.

8 Weeks

Today you get to see a sight. I'm almost totally ashamed to show you this. I have never ever ever been this large before. And by me showing you this, I am letting go of any body image issues I may have had. Here is the belly, at 8 weeks:

Good lord, WHERE did THAT come from? The baby is the size of a lima bean and should not be causing such a protrusion. And, um, back fat? Sheesh. 9 months up, at least 9 months down, so I hear. Bring on the brownies.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Electrical madness

We knew that buying a 122 year old house would pose some interesting problems when doing any renovations, minor or major. For two weeks I pleaded with Tim to take down the hideous dining room chandelier to make a home for Chandy. He then fell ill, on his deathbed, could not even lift a delicate finger, wah. So finally, at the very end of the week, and right before Our First Annual Holiday Party, he took down the old chandelier. Unfortunately, we then discovered that the dining room seems to be the only room in the entire house that was not rewired some time in the last century. I'm not kidding.

The wiring is of the cloth variety, something that Tim has never seen before but knows is not up to code. It poses a very serious electrical fire risk... one that is so serious Tim had to sit me down and explain that it could ignite within the WALL and engulf our house and our UNBORN CHILD in flames within minutes. Ok, you got me, I was convinced we needed a professional to come in and fix the wiring. Tim is supposed to call a referral today, and he's thinking that we're looking at a very expensive project. I suppose this comes with the territory of owning an old home.

Do you all even care about electrical wiring? neither. Tim will handle it. In the meantime, I will think about what I want to eat next...

Monday, December 3, 2007

The fat is coming

How does one go from relatively slim with pants that fit to a large blob that is bursting at the seams of every pair of pants she wears? My jeans don't all. It hurts to button them. My work pants are narrowly passing the stand up and zipper test. My bet is that in three weeks I will be entirely without any pants to wear and looking very ridiculous pants-less on the street. This does not bode well for the rest of this pregnancy.

However, I have decided that I am not going to "do" numbers. By that I mean that when I get weighed at the doctor's office every few weeks, I am going to ask that they only tell me if it's too much or too little rather than the actual number. I've never weighed over a certain point in my life, and I will eclipse that and then some during this pregnancy. I need to be OK with that, and as long as I don't know the number I think I'll feel better about all the weight gain. I know it's what the baby needs for strong growth and development. If the baby wants Twizzlers, then damn it, the baby gets Twizzlers.

This whole experience is completely surreal. I've started reading the books, and staying away from the pregnancy message boards (I cannot even believe how uneducated the majority of America really is...jump on one of those message boards and see for yourself. Ridiculous.). I know I will start to feel "pregnant" and "maternal" once the baby starts making its presence known with a swift jab to my bladder or ribs, but in the meantime I just feel slow, lethargic, and chubby. And irritable. Did I mention that? Ask Tim...I am peach to live with right now.

The pregnancy brings up all manner of questions: Will I be a good parent? Will I be able to teach my son/daughter how to be a good person? Will Tim and I be patient? Will I be able to learn how to "parent" a child? Am I ready?

I suppose those are questions that get answered in time. I am fully prepared to fall madly in love with this child over the next 33 weeks, and when it arrives (after a peaceful labor with a lovely epidural delivered at just the right time...shut up, I can dream) I will fall even deeper into the baby love spell that washes over new parents. That round tummy, soft head, sweet breath infant love's positively dreamy.

P.S. According to the Chinese gender chart, we are having a BOY. Believe what you will but Tim, myself, and my mother all think boy too. We're taking bets up until we find out.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Good times

I feel like I am running a marathon. It's been go go go for weeks now, and I am just exhausted. Good news on the work front: starting January 1st I'll be working two days at week at my current position, and the other three days will be spent working with Tim and helping him out with his company. That is also known as sitting on my butt on the couch, laptop in hand, watching Oprah and gmail chatting with friends. I kid, I kid. It will be actual work...just from the comfort of home with my feet up.

The beauty of the situation is this: 1) we only have to pay the dog walker twice a week rather than 5 times a week; 2) I get to do work that is actually reflective of of my interests i.e. marketing and branding Tim's company...I believe that is what my diploma says I am good at; 3) I don't have to travel downtown every day and get jostled on the El...pregnant women should not be jostled.

Oh hi. Did I slide that little nugget of information in there slyly or what? Tim and I have taken it upon ourselves to further populate the good city of Chicago. I suppose that would explain the exhaustion, eh? We're 7 weeks along, so it's still early. We're obviously thrilled by this development, though a little surprised as it is earlier than we expected. Our tentative due date is July 21, 2008...which I must apologize to our lovely friends K & M. Their wedding is July 19th, and I promise I will do my best to keep that baby in there cooking away until AFTER the wedding! I will waddle my way into that church if it kills me!

The family is ecstatic, we're thrilled, everyone is feeling the love. It was a busy week last news, birthdays, Thanksgiving. Now, I guess we know what we'll use that spare room for, huh?

Thank you to those of you who already know the big news, and thank you for all your well wishes. We're looking forward to sharing this time with our friends and family and the internet since I'll be posting about the pregnancy for the next 8 months. It's my website, and I'll post what I want to. Stay tuned for pictures (the growing belly will not be denied!) and informative posts.

We're having a baby!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Birthday Extravaganza

Today is a big day. Not only is it Tim's birthday it's also Miss Lily's birthday! My two favorites in the whole world celebrate their birthdays today!

Happy Birthday to little Lily Belle, Princess of Pups. She's a big girl, all grown up today, a full year old. We're so lucky to have such a lovely mini pup to snuggle with!

And more importantly, Happy Birthday to my handsome and perfect husband, Tim. Today he is 36 years old and getting better every year. He is the best person I know, and he constantly inspires me to be a better person. This next year is going to be wonderful, I can just tell, and I am so thankful that I get to spend it with him. I love you, Tim!

If you get the chance, leave a message here wishing my lovelies a happy day, or venture on over to Tim's blog,, and leave him a message.

Happy Thanksgiving to all! We have so much to be thankful for this year, so I know it will be a wonderful day.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The washing machine debacle of 2007

We got our new washing machine on Friday. It's shiny, new and oh so pretty. However, there was nothing wrong with the old one. Let me describe the scene in our house Friday evening at approximately 8 pm. The new machine was installed, and the delivery guy carted away the old machine. Tim hooked up the hoses, plugged the new one in, and decided to follow the written directions and ran an empty cycle. The whole issue with the old washer was that there was water all over the floor after a cycle. We had searched every nook and cranny for a leak and couldn't locate a source. We assumed (why??? who assumes these days????) that the leak was originating from the old washing machine itself and not the hoses/valves. So we ordered a new machine.

Tim ran the first cycle and walked away from the machine. Again, he assumed the issue was cleared up and ta da! Problem fixed. I then got home from work and ran upstairs to see the shiny new front loading washer. Imagine my extreme surprise when I found water on the floor. Again. I yelled to Tim to come upstairs to assess the issue...bad idea. We ended up arguing for an hour over the source of the leak. Finally, we decided that the valve thing-y that the hoses hook up to had corroded and was not effectively keeping the water where it was supposed to the hoses. Tim was off to the hardware store.

Twenty bucks and an hour later, the leak was fixed and no more water on the floor. Wait, I'm sorry, did I say TWENTY dollars? I meant ONE THOUSAND TWENTY dollars. I forgot about the new washing machine part of this whole debacle. It's just so damn irritating. The old washer is most likely perfectly functioning, and yet, we assumed it was the problem and not a faulty old valve thing-y. Even though we checked out the valve and didn't see the leak.

At the end of the day, I knew we were going to have to replace the washing machine within the year so we just did it a bit earlier than we anticipated. And it is so lovely with buttons and a count down clock. Tim is even a little in love with it... although it will be a cold day in hell before he actually deigns to do his own laundry.

(B, I referenced the book before we made our purchase, I really did!)

Monday, November 12, 2007


Or something to that effect. National Blog Posting Month. Apparently I have been hiding underneath a rock lately and didn't realize I'm supposed to post everyday. I'm already behind so why start now? I'll hit it up next year, promise. Or maybe I won't. You'll just have to keep reading to find out.

Our washing machine is leaking water. I estimate it to be about 10 years old, so we've decided to replace it rather than try to have it repaired. You would think that you do a little research, maybe check out consumer reports, shop online for some good deals, and BAM! you've picked out your new washer. Nope. That is not how we roll in the Smith household. There are visits to stores, and anxiety caused by the lovely colors (how do you chooooose?), and top vs. front load, etc. It's exhausting. I'm thinking a front load now. Not so much for design, though they are pretty to look at, but more for their higher rated efficiency, both water and electric. Readers, any input? I'm partial to the top load because that is what I know, but while we stayed at the Parent Hotel we used their front load and liked it. Of course, the day ours breaks, so does my mother's. Karma, eh?

In other Smith news unrelated to the purpose of this blog, Tim and I are heading down South for Christmas, specifically Ft. Lauderdale, FL. He has finally broken the news to his mother, who wasn't entirely pleased I'm stealing her son for the holiday, but I think we've compromised nicely. Everyone is accomodated, peace has been restored. I used to go to FLL for the holidays every year as a kid, so I am entirely thrilled to continue this tradition with Tim. If all goes well, we'll be making this an annual tradition with our kids. Though we did wait to buy tickets until today and got completely screwed by the airlines. I suppose buying the house was a tad bit more important these past couple of months.

Another question: any idea where I can find a reliable dog sitter/boarder for the holidays in Chicago? Apparently, you need to donate a million dollars the year before to the "top boarding facilities" in order to get in line for the next year. Or your dog must have an IQ of 180 and play an instrument, preferably first or second chair. I don't even want to think about what pre-school is like in the city. I should probably sign-up now. . .

Things, they are a-changin' in SmithLand. Stay tuned for more updates. Here's a picture of Lily to keep you occupied.

Hi...I cute and preshus and lovble. Kiss me. And wittle. I wittle puppy. (12 weeks old)

What up, punk? Why you lookin' at me like that? I didn't do nuthin' wrong. I didn't eat the cat. I need a haircut. (8 months).

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Sara learns to code, kind of

Well hi there! Guess what? It's picture time! Now, this post is brought to you by Sara's inability to take direction and Tim's complete frustration with his wife. BUT. I've learned a teensy little bit about coding, so nothing lost, just something gained. We all win here! Without further adieu . . .

Hi! It's us! (Wish it was like Potter, and we could wave to you. Use your imagination.)

Awww, it's the kids. Lily and Furface Smith. Cute little devils aren't they? And no, we did not pose them. They're best buds.

Just to refresh your memory, this is our home. The whole reason I started this thing in the first place. We took this an hour before we closed. I got butterflies seeing that sale pending sign.

And this is our beautiful, albeit overgrown, backyard. I know people. They will come fix this mess in the spring. They know who they are, and they will remember that they offered. I have been told that we have some really nice (read: expensive) trees/plants/living things back there. I solemnly swear to not kill anything, at least not on purpose.

Welcome to our living room. This is the view from the front hall. The art isn't hung yet. I have asked. Many times. I'm patient. The couch and chair are from my old apartment and just so happen to work very nicely in this room. My plan is to add another chair or two soon, and get a new rug. I'm loving the brown and cream zebra print rug from PB. Is zebra over? Do I care?

View of the staircase from the living room.

Our front entry and hall. I need a new light fixture here, but I am perplexed at my options. Flush mount, semi-flush mount, chandelier, period piece, non-period piece...suggestions are welcome.

View of the RED dining room from the front hall. It is small. Yet totally charming. I am not loving the furniture in here, but we bought it less than a year ago so it stays. This is where Chandy is going to live when she gets here next week. She'll be so happy here :)

View from kitchen.

This was one of my favorite features about this old house--the built in. We believe the house has had many layouts, and its past incarnation places the dining room where the kitchen is now. We think. Tim got the history of the house from a neighbor. That is a story for another time. I know you just want to see pictures.

I apologize for my messy and dark kitchen. I do love this space though. For the age and size of the house (smallish), this is a huge kitchen. I have more cabinet space than I can fill up, and it's in good condition. We will be replacing the counters and flooring next year, hopefully, and getting new appliances. No, there is nothing wrong with them. Tim is an appliance snob, and they must match.

The butcher block island is another of my favorite things. And we have some great open shelving.

View from breakfast nook/sun room/random room I don't know what to do with. The yellow is on its way out. I am taking suggestions for wall color. To stay for now: white cabs, faux beige/gray granite counters, gray/white check linoleum (ack!).

This only represents half of this room. I think the other half will become a TV room...I'll get a small couch and chair. This room is also going to be painted. Since it opens right off the kitchen, I am thinking keeping it in the same tone, but maybe a shade darker. It gets an amazing amount of light from the southern exposure. Look! Those chairs??? Authentic Thonet bentwood chairs. . .courtesy of Craigslist. I am so proud.

And now we have the downstairs full bath. The previous owners did a wonderful job with this bathroom. They maintained the period feel of the home while allowing it to be fully functional and updated. It makes me smile everytime.

Did someone have a little girl? I think so! Bye bye pink. Next weekend. This is the room I am having trouble with. The bedding is staying, so I need to work around that. I am leaning towards a pale pale aqua. Suggestions? Also, I skipped a photo of the third bedroom/former nursery because it is a mess. I have standards, and it is not living up to them.

Our bedroom. The wall color-it is a bit guacamole-ish eh? Again, I am open to suggestions. I change the bedding twice a year based on the season so it has to be neutral enough to match the existing bedding and whatever I get for next year.

I am ashamed to show you all this. We need a dresser. Like yesterday. And if you look closely you'll see my shoes behind the door in the alcove. Three shoe racks full of shoes. My heart hurts that they don't have a good home right now. Also, isn't that TV FAR TOO BIG for the room? I mean, seriously? Tim insists it stays, I think otherwise. Your comments and votes may be enough to sway him.

This the upstairs bath. Also a lovely rehab job by the previous owners. The tub is in its own room with access from the master...I love that separation. I plan to paint in here too.

So there you have it. Our wonderful, beautiful, gorgeous, most perfect home. Or soon to be perfect home. I have so many plans for it. It makes me giddy thinking about all the memories we will create in this home. Thank you, Tim, for making this all possible, and for making me the happiest girl in the world. Minus the gigantor TV in the bedroom. Kisses!

Edited to add: Mission accomplished. New TV in the bedroom, much smaller in size. It was ALL Tim's idea. Great job, honey! Way to go!

Friday, November 2, 2007

The first acquistion

I have taken the plunge! I have made my first new house purchase today! Round of applause please :) There are so many things I want for the house. So few of them are necessities. Tim and I were lucky that we had all the necessary furniture to live comfortably from day one, so now I am on the hunt for special pieces to flesh out the house. The first thing that had to go is the dining room chandelier. It's brass, it's small, it's . . . how do I say this? Fugly. I'll get a picture and post it over the weekend. (I really haven't followed through on that promise though so don't hold your breath).

The dining room is a deep red and gets very little daylight. The only two windows face the big house next door, and as those of you familiar with Chicago lots know, they are much deeper than they are wide. If I opened the window, I could reach out and touch our neighbors house if I stood on my tip toes. Anyhow, I like the red. At least enough to leave it be for the time being. I know, I know, red dining rooms are so cliche. But, I am lazy and too cheap right now to pay a professional to prime it and paint it. They did a good job so why mess with it now, you know?

Today I went shopping for a new chandelier. By shopping I mean browsing the interweb (Tim HATES that word. . .such a computer geek! Or is it nerd? Dork? I confuse the three all the time). I checked your usual: the barn, the barrel, and the hardware store. Nothing at the first two and Resto is just so expensive sometimes. Oh, I forgot to tell you! I didn't want to spend more than $200. I am cheap. Also known as, I change my mind too often to pick out something that costs a thousand dollars even if it might last my entire lifetime. So, I shopped and shopped and shopped, and then I turned to my trusty Home & Garden for advice. One article mentioned that she (interviewee person) gets a lot of her things for photo shoots from Okaaaaaaaayyyyy. Might as well. Again, I am cheap, and the Big O knows cheap.

Off I went, and I stumbled upon what I hope is the perfect chandelier for me. I had thought I wanted a iron scrollwork, 5-6 light piece with crystals. Very French provincial. That is definitely NOT what I bought. Here she is. We'll call her Chandy. My apologies for the small picture.

At first glance she doesn't look like much. She's a very traditional shape and style, but made more modern with clear blown glass. Kind of murano inspired, eh? I bookmarked that page a few weeks ago after Chandy caught my eye. Today, I visited with my decorating advisor and all knowing seer, Danielle, who also loved Chandy. So it was decided. And the best part, when I did another google search for Chandy to see if I could get it for an even lower price than O (listed at $204), I got to Deals Plus. Ok, so I GUESS what happens is you click on the link to the item through Deals Plus, and it takes you directly to the website. That website happened to be O, AND I got the Deals Plus discount of another $24! Total, with $2.95 shipping because that is the way the O rocks it, $183. I came in under budget!

I will obviously need to better assess Chandy when she arrives at my house. But, here's to hoping she's everything I imagine her to be!

And a very happy birthday to my Dad! That handsome fella is the best dad a girl could ask for!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It's a beige world

When I moved into Tim's condo, he had painted only one wall in the whole place. He painted the brick red dining "room" and fireplace. It was . . . a bold choice of color. I decided that I wanted to paint the master bedroom, upstairs hallway, and downstairs powder room. They had been contractor white for far too long. He pretty much let me choose whichever color I wanted and each room ended up a beautiful shade of . . . beige. Tim complained and complained about the beige and told anyone who would listen that I picked the safest, most boring non-color ever.

Now, when I open my new Domino or Elle Decor, I naturally gravitate towards rooms that are not drenched in color. I like the calming influence of neutrals. Some may consider that boring, but it's just me. I can't help it. Fast forward to the new house where we have some beige walls, and some red walls, and some yellow and green walls. Last night I pulled out the Benjamin Moore color wheel (we didn't steal it! the painter left it at the last place!) to peruse some possible colors. I settled on three colors for our master bedroom, a light greenish-gray, a pale blue-gray, and a very neutral beige. The beige was there for comparison sake only. I gave Tim the swatches and asked his opinion. He took one look and pointed to the beige. My mouth hit the floor. And he wasn't kidding.

Now, when I end up with a beige house, you know who to blame.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I Choose Door #3

We've made it through the first week with flying colors! Or, more appropriately, flying boxes! Rooms are arranged, boxes are (mostly) unpacked, and the animals are still alive. I think it has been a most productive first week. My question to you is this: we have three bedrooms. The first is clearly ours, the second will be a guest room for all of our lovely (albeit marginally intoxicated at the time) friends, and the third . . .well, it WAS a nursery. It will most likely be a nursery again. In the future. But for now, it needs a new identity. Part of me loves the idea of an office, but seriously? I have my own pretty cube at work (I'm not there now, typing this, no way, never, shhhhhh), and I don't EVER do work from home. Yay for banker's hours! What would be the point of having a home office? So I can read even MORE blogs?

Tim needs one, and he has succesfully turned the basement into his own version of the man cave. He's all set. He just needs a fridge. And that is against my better judgment. So, what should I do with my third bedroom for the time being? Right now it is a lovely shade of green with tiny Winnie the Pooh stencils. Sorry, but I don't like the Pooh. That will most definitely be going far, far away. So I will have to paint--preferably something that does not need to be changed when we turn it back into a nursery.

Besides an office, what is another use for an empty room? Should I go all Candy Spelling and have a gift wrap room? Nope, too much pressure come the holidays when everyone will expect a beautifully appointed gift. (If you didn't catch it, that is a pretty pathetic excuse NOT to have a gift wrap room. A more appropriate excuse would be that I don't want to be associated with Candy Spelling. Now Tori? Maybe. Her show is funny!) A craft room? A storage room? A shut the door and stop obsessing over it for god's sake room?

Pictures to come, I promise!!! I can't find the power cord to my computer at home, so I will have to do some digging. Continue waiting with bated breath. . .

Friday, October 19, 2007


So, I've seen this going around on a number of blogs, and it seems like an interesting idea. I consider this a little introspective look at what's going on in my life. Maybe a little narcissistic, but isn't a blog considered that anyways?

Right now:

I am thrilled . . . about our new house (duh). It makes me so happy to wake up in it every morning. I hear birds chirping; it's absolutely divine.

I don't miss . . . the ambulances roaring by in the middle of the night or bus route #77 to Diversey and Lakeshore announcing its arrival every 8-10 minutes, 24 hours a day at our old place. I also don't miss having to leash up Miss Lily Pants for every walk. Our backyard rocks.

I'm planning . . . what color to paint the pepto bismol pink guest bedroom. Pale pale green or blue? I fear the green can turn out minty toothpaste-like. I don't need bathroom staples on my walls thankyouverymuch.

I'm listening to . . . classical music in my cube at work. I'm trying it as a calming mechanism. I've been overly hyped up and kind of crazy lately, so I'm hoping this will help me be more serene. I also tried yoga to do that but that didn't take.

I'm looking forward to . . . for the immediate future, our weekend. We have some fun plans with friends we haven't seen in a while, and I get to show my lovely grandmother our new house. For the not so immediate future, I'm looking forward to feeling more settled in the house and tackling some decorating projects.

I'm wanting . . . way too many things to list. All material goods of course. For myself, a few new wintry things like herringbone pants, and a new bag. For the house, the perfect kitchen table, a new TV, art for my bare walls, new bedding, the list goes on. All in due time.

So there you have it.

Also, a very Happy Birthday shout out to D! Welcome to 26 my dearest. And a welcome back to S. . .your wedding was gorgeous, and you were a stunning bride!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

We're going green!

When Tim and I decided to buy this old house, we understood that we are going to have to do more upkeep than if we had bought a new house. We also know that a 122 year old house may have good bones, but renovations will be required. So, we agreed that any changes to the home would be done in an environmentally-friendly manner.

Now, I am not one to jump on every trend or bandwagon, but preserving our world is one thing I completely support. It's not trendy, it's not cool, it's necessary. We're fortunate to live in the only recycling test district in Chicago. This means that we have designated recycling bins that are picked up on garbage day, rather than using the "blue bags" that other Chicago residents just toss in with their regular garbage. Supposedly, these designated bins are more successful than the "blue bags" at getting the recycling actually recycled. We're on board for this program 150%.

So, that's one step in the right direction. Another idea we had, and we got this from "Living with Ed" on HGTV (check it out, great show!), is to use a soybean based foam-like insulation that you blow into your attic spaces and between walls. It's naturally derived, completely renewable, and doesn't give off any toxic waste. My guess, and this is a wild one, but my 122 year old house may need a little assistance with insulation. We're going with the soybean product, and we hope to have it installed by the end of this winter. Reviews to come.

Yesterday we replaced a number of old lightbulbs with the flourescent bulbs. I'll be honest, I have always hated the bright white light that flourescent bulbs give off, but Benards of all places actually sells flourescents that have the same "soft white" light that incandescent bulbs give off. Sign me up! I can't find these at Home Despot, or maybe I'm just ignorant. Either way, this is a simple, inexpensive way to make a small change. And save some money on your bills. Same thing with buying Energy Star rated appliances. We're going to need a new washing machine and dryer in the near future, and we're not even going to waste our time with products that aren't energy efficient. And these tankless hotwater heaters?! So freaking cool! When we need a new one, that is at the top of the list.

Another great idea that we're contemplating is bringing in skylights to reduce the number of electric lights we need to have on. These are not your standard rectangular style skylights. These are reflective tunnels that come in many diameters that you install in your roof and then snake down into the room where you desire more natural light. Its great because you can bring in natural sunlight from your second story roof down to your basement, or first floor dining room in our case. Again, Benards is selling a version that I checked out last night. And in time there will be even more like-minded products to choose from.

We would also like to replace our kitchen countertops eventually. We have a laminate right now that looks fine and is in good condition, but it's just not great. Tim and I have been doing lots of research into natural vs. manufactured stones and materials and the different effects the harvesting/manufacturing has on the environment. Ideally we would like to find a product that is locally created so we don't have to think about the environmental costs of its traveling to get to us. We'll get back to you when we figure it out. There is so much information flooding the marketplace right now. This is not going to be an easy decision.

And the piece de resistance, BMW is launching a "greener" version of the the 3 series Tim currently owns. Now, just so you all don't think we're image snobs, Tim has owned cars from every manufacturer out there, and firmly believes that the Germans know what's up better than anyone else. They may be slow to get on the green wagon, but they're getting there. They just want to make sure its a perfect product. So, once we see that BMW symbol go green, you better believe we both will be the first ones in line. For now, its the gas guzzlers for us and our shame at the pump next to Lis's pretty blue Prius.

Those are all endeavors that require expense. A few ways to think about it is to really recycle everything. And I don't mean your soda cans and plastics. I mean buying old furniture and making it new again by reupholstering or painting it. Craigslist is a gold mine for this sort of thing, and Ebay has been doing it for years. We buy new when you can re-use? I know this is not always ideal, and some things will be bought fresh off the department store floor, but it's a great alternative.

I'm going to continue doing as much research as I can on new products, materials, and processes, and make wise decisions on our energy consumption. I want a healthy home in which to raise our children. I want to look back on the changes we make to this house and know we did the best we could in protecting the environment.

Monday, October 15, 2007

A new beginning

We did it! We are officially moved in and climbing out from the sea of boxes. I am thrilled. The house is beautiful and perfect. I'll get pictures up as soon as AT&T can get their act together and get us connected to the internet. Only a couple of very minor issues, but overall, we had a smooth move and an easy first day in our new home.

I can't wait for the memories we're going to create here.

And a great big thank you to those who helped us unpack and keep focused! We couldn't have done it without you!

(By the way, my new neighbor, A, had already baked us muffins by the time our moving truck showed up. She rocks. She is so getting a thank you note.)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The last post in which there is some semblance of a complaint

Stress manifests itself in different ways. Some people fall ill, others overeat. Some may just spend some extra time in bed or in the bath. Me? I feel drunk, all the time. I lose my short-term memory, I can't walk in a straight line, and my head is swirling. Its kind of surreal actually. But as of tomorrow (eeeeek!!!) it will all be better. We close tomorrow. I still can't believe it.

I can't wait.

Monday, October 8, 2007


We're so close. I can feel it. I'm nervous, excited, terrified, thrilled, and most of all happy. I spent most of last night awake, staring at the ceiling and thinking about the new ceiling I'll be staring at in a few short days. It's not ours, yet it will be . . . all of it. Four walls, a ceiling, and a floor. All of it, ours. So cool.

We close Friday, and move in Saturday. In the words of my eternally wise grandmother, "You are changing the toilet seats right?" Umm . . . yes. Now that you mention it. . .

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

It's my birthday-wheeeeeee!

Thanks to all who have made this such a special day already! I truly appreciate it!

Monday, October 1, 2007

I heart moving

It's official. We've sold our condo, and we're now homeless. In a manner of speaking of course. The closing itself went smoothly. The actual moving did not. On Thursday of last week, I had scheduled our move for 2:30 pm. The day before I went and picked up the key to our storage unit and made sure of their hours and policies, etc. I confirmed with the movers and went to sleep for the last night in our place feeling confident everything would be fine. I woke up Thursday ready to go. We took the cat and dog to my parents' house to get them out of the way and then went back to the condo to finish up some packing and wait for the movers.

At 1 pm I got a call from the moving company scheduler, E. E told me that the movers were going to be late because the elevator in the building that they were at for the move before us had broken and the guys were going to have to use the stairs. She gave me an ETA of 3:30-4 pm. Ok, fine. This kind of thing happens. I figured that as long as they were there by 4, we would have plenty of time to move everything out and into storage by the closing time of 10 pm. That's a whole 6 hours, and my estimate told me the move would take 3.5 hours. We're doing great! Rah rah, go Team!

My enthusiasm began to wan when the movers still hadn't arrived by 4:30 pm. Our stress levels were building. Finally at 4:45 pm, the three movers showed up with their truck. Within minutes they were moving boxes. About an hour into the move the job foreman, A, took me aside and told me the move looks like it'll take 6 hours. That was a huge surprise since the estimate seemed fairly tight, and I didn't have that many more boxes than I had anticipated. I told A that we didn't have 6 hours since we have to be moved into the storage facility by 10 pm. He kept going and they tried their best to move quickly. E called and tried to tell me I underestimated the amount of stuff we had. I told her to call me only with good news.

E calls at about 7:45 pm asking how the job was going. I told her that we were only half done and that I was extremely worried we weren't going to be finished by 10 pm. She asked if she could send a 4th guy out and I agreed. Of course you can! Whatever it takes. My new slogan.

The 4th guy was the laziest, most incompetent man on earth. He wasted time dragging his feet and drinking his Monster Energy drink. Hello . . . mister No-Energy man, get your ass in gear! We don't have time for you to "rest". YOU just got here. So, at 9:30 pm I am officially freaking out and decided to head over to the storage facility to see if I could get the door open at 10 for the truck. As I pulled in and used the code to open the door, the alarms went off. I thought that was a nice touch. Here storage user, don't freak out! We're just so happy you're here we want to make the lights flash and wake the neighbors. I called the 1-800 number to see how I could open the door after 10 pm if needed. My conversation with the gentleman on the line went like this:

Me: Sir, what happens if I'm in the garage after 10 pm and need to get my truck in to unload?
Man: Ma'am, I don't mean to alarm you, but you need to leave the facility immediately. After 10 pm the facility is on lock down and no doors will open to let you out. You will be stuck until morning.
Me: What? Huh? Say that again.
Man: Please head out now before you are locked in.
Me: (expletives)
Man: Ma'am?
Me: Sorry! Ok, I'm out now.
Man: Maybe you should call your movers . . .
Me: Buddy, you better believe they are getting a call from me.
Man: Thanks for calling. Have a great night! Good luck!
Me: Hah.

So, basically, the movers had to finish loading the truck still and then keep it in a secure location overnight because they were late and screwed up the whole day. The best part is that they couldn't tell me exactly when I could expect them to unload the truck since they were so booked. Sweet. My stuff is somewhere in Chicago for the night, possibly longer.

The next morning, Friday, we had our closing, handed over the keys and told him we left eggs and a loaf of bread in the refrigerator on accident. Make yourself a sandwich friend. At 1:00 pm I got a call that the truck would be there at 1:30 - 2 pm to unload at the storage unit. Tim and I highttailed it from the Loop up north and made it there on time. Much to my surprise they were half done. They had 6 guys and were moving at lightning speed. Finally at about 3 pm they were done and paid. I sold a kidney for this.

All in all, this was the worst moving experience of my young life. It wasn't anyone's fault per se. They were late because of an unforeseen problem and that threw off everything else. The moving company handled it professionally and made it as easy as they could. But now I know. . .I need 4 guys, a bigger truck, and the first move of the day. I've got it all figured out for October 13th. Make no mistake, E, if this takes as long the second time, its YOUR fault.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Plumber, electrician, repair man, oh my!

I'm up to my ears in boxes. They're everywhere and taking over my home. I can't find anything. I'm working on finding my inner center, my quiet place where I can relax. Thank you Yoga 101. . .I promise I will try harder. This whole experience is just frustrating. Much like that other life event that requires planning and organizing and on one day its over in a few hours. I know that at the end of this I will be so happy and thrilled to be in our new house. Just the process of getting there is taking its toll.

Per our agreement with our buyers, we have to have a plumber look at the drainage in our tubs (DONE!), an electrician needs change out a measly amp and repair an outlet, and we have to have our deck hatch door repaired. And I can't even begin to tell you how hard it is to find service people to come and fix these things. It has taken us almost a month to find a plumber, and the electrician I had to get through a handyman service. The kicker is that all of these projects could be done by Tim in one day but we MUST HAVE A LICENSED CONTRACTOR OHMYGOD. Grrrrrrr.

Once we get to the closing table next week, I think I will be able to breathe again. Until then, I'll be holding my breath, yoga be damned.

Monday, September 17, 2007

For posterity

I wanted to make sure I didn't forget to take pictures of our condo before we move. I need to have record of these momentous occasions--most likely because I do not handle change very well. This is the place where Tim proposed to me. This is our first home as a married couple. It means a lot to me. I didn't want to forget.

Guess what? I forgot. There are boxes everywhere now and piles of junk. BUT! Being the sleuth that I am, I have discovered a trick. Did you know you can copy pictures from the MLS? Howdy-doo, you sure can! So, courtesy of the MLS, here is our condo. Home sweet home (sort of).

This is our building from the street. It is an old department store that was prevalent in Chicago in the middle of the 20th century. When I'm on the elevator, I tend to say, to myself, Women's Shoes, 4th Floor, in a high-pitched, yet soothing voice. I may have said it outloud before. I don't claim to remember.

Welcome to the set of Top Chef! I wish. That stove may look suspiciously clean, but I swear I use it! See those cabinets? Those three cabinets? That's it folks. I need more space otherwise I will never have that coveted title of "good cook".

Below is our bedroom. What you can't see is the phenomenal closet. It's the size of my first apt. bedroom. It's amazing. I love it so, and I will miss it terribly. Treat her well, new owner, fill her up with shoes and clothes and jewelry. She likes that. Because I don't know how to move these damn pictures, the one next is the guest bedroom where many a friend has spent a debaucherous night.

Here we have our living and dining rooms. Its kind of an open layout, as you can see. That fireplace--we just installed the gas set and lit it for the first time. In August. For ten minutes. And then we sold the condo.

Tim picked out the brick red walls. He has good taste in colors. But that green couch. It's called the Mean Green and unfortunately it's coming with us to the new house. That was a mistake he is loath to admit to. I blame his ex.

So there you have it. Our condo. Soon to be another couple's condo. They're engaged to be married, and I know they'll be making this their first home. I wish them well, and I hope we've left some good karma behind for them.

Embarrassment knows no bounds

Last night, as I was packing, I stumbled across some old journals that I had stuffed in a bag under the bed. I have always thought of journaling as romantic--something that I, or my children, or even grandchildren, would find someday a long time from now and read and discover things about me. Ah yes, so romanticized. And apparently I think my life is a movie. Maybe Nicholas Sparks will make The Notebook 2, which in turn will become a movie, and I really want Mandy Moore to play me.

Anyhow, I picked up this one journal. . .it was a green satin job with sparkly beaded stars all over it. I could have guessed immediately who had given it to me without opening: a friend with a great, if not greater, appreciation for all things that glitter and glow. So I opened it, and she had written a lovely introduction and grand expectations that I use it to record "all of my life's memories, and dramas". Does she know me or what?

I was so excited to see what I had written and what drama had unfolded on those pages. There was one entry. Detailing my first month of summer after graduating from high school. Without getting into detail (this is the wide open internet after all), I had written about a date I had gone on with my then boyfriend--and good lord, I feel so embarrassed for my 18 year old self now. I couldn't finish reading the thing so I tore out the pages and threw them away. I believe that is cardinal sin #1 of journaling. But people, this was bad. Desperate and dramatic and all woe is the life I lead.

And that was it. A grand total of one entry in a journal in which I had vowed to record my life. Funny how nothing seems to have changed. I am still dramatic, and woeful, and stubborn, and trying my hand at journaling again. Except this time its here, and YOU are my lucky audience. And you all are just so damn pretty.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Life Lesson #1

Packing sucks. The End.

Here is an example of how packing goes in the Smith household:

For two hours, I am in the dining room, painstakingly packing up our china and crystal and silver and everything imaginable. I carefully wrap each item in bubble wrap and foam and place it in a box. I securely tape each box, and label it with a bulleted list of all the items. I even have color-coded room labeling tape (no YOU are anal retentive). I stack almost 15 boxes neatly one on top of the other against the wall, labels facing out of course. I stand back to survey my work...perfectly done, just as I like it, thankyouverymuch.

Over those same two hours, Tim has been upstairs packing our tool "closet" aka a condo owner's garage. He's banging, and clanking, and making insane amounts of noise. The cacaphony dies down, and he emerges holding the fruits of his labor. . .

One box. Labeled . . .wait for it . . ."stuff".

Ladies and gentleman, I married this man. Willingly. And for all his strengths and successes, he's just not meant to pack boxes. Apparently, as he tells me time and again, there is a Sara way of doing things, and a Tim way, and if I want things done the Sara way, then don't ask Tim to do it. He's so wise.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Its never as easy as you think

Why is it that whenever I want something to go one way, let's say, right, it always without fail goes the other way, left. We had it all worked out. We would close on the sale of the condo one day, and then two weeks later we would close on this house. For those two weeks we would "rent" back from our buyers and then give them possession on the day we move into the house. Easy, right? Could that arrangement be any simpler? No.

But. We all know by now that not everything goes the way you want it to. Silly me. I guess I was the only one still hanging onto that thread of hope that says, gee, this is going along swimmingly! Yesterday, our buyers, through their attorney, sent us an agreement relating to our extended stay in their new home. Basically, they wanted ungodly sums of money to let us stay there--money we weren't going to see again until much after we move out. Money we desperately need to buy the new house. So, what's a girl and her very busy husband to do? Call Mom and Dad!

That's right, friends. We are moving in with the parents for two weeks. And moving all of our stuff (can I call it crap? because it is.) twice. In three weeks. From today. Mom, Dad, we love you and owe you big time.

Pray for us, and if you don't pray, get your butt over here and start packing. THREE WEEKS PEOPLE.

Friday, August 31, 2007

And so it begins...

Here she is! Isn't she so pretty? I didn't take this picture (I 'borrowed' it from the listing), and everytime I try to go by to take another the current owners are outside. I refuse to give them one reason not to sell to us. But my stalking shows how much I love it right???

So, some details about the house. It was built in 1885 along a lovely tree-lined street on the north side of Chicago. This blog is named for the street our new house is on, and no I will not give you the actual address. I am allowed to stalk, but you are not.

We've been inside three times now, and from what I can tell there are plenty of original floors, moldings, doors and hardware. And of course, over the decades, there was an addition and updates made to the house. Yes, there is central air conditioning. . .I will not do Chicago without A/C.

It has three bedrooms and two baths, a beautiful backyard, and a finished basement that will be perfect for Tim's office. That, my friends, is worth its weight in gold. To have our living room be free of the wires and cords and beeping/blinking computer accoutrements will be like heaven. And you better call dibs on the guest room fast. We have a waiting list brewing. . .

I wonder if talking about the house before we actually close is bad karma. I hope not. You know what is good karma? The fact that the bar we met at will be re-opening three blocks from our new home. If that isn't a sign, then I don't know what is.

Am I too late?

How does one jump on board this bloggy thing so late in the game? By buying a new house and demanding attention from anyone and everyone! No, I kid. This is our journey (so overused, journey? really?) in searching, finding, buying, and creating our first home. I'll try to include you all in this process, and along the way, share with you our ideas and inspirations.

We're the Smiths (and no, that is not an alias, that's what you get when you get married). Hi! Nice to meet you and thanks for having us.

My name is Sara, and I will be joined by my husband, Tim [also find him at], from time to time on this here blog. We've been married for 9 months and have just found the perfect home for us in beautiful Chicago. Its 122 years old. We close October 12th. Commence crossing the fingers now. . .