DIY Rustic Barstools

One of my favorite places to go is Fredericksburg. If you aren’t familiar, it’s a small German town in Texas that has amazing scenery, fun things to do, and great shopping. Most of the shops are pretty similar to our style- rustic, western, and classic. I like to think of our style as Texas Hill Country, with a touch of glam.
Each time I’m in a shop with furniture there, I’m soaking it all in. The pieces are beautifully made, usually with a wood stain and a lot of times with animal hide. The only thing not exciting is the prices!

We have a small bar in our house that we love to sit at. Jake and I wanted rustic barstools, but the ones we have seen usually run about $650 bare minimum a piece.  That’s $1,300 for two. One day, I was walking through a little antique shop on my lunch break, and I found these:
They had great lines and a rustic shape (I loved the Texas star) but they needed a lot of TLC. I called Jake because I knew I’d need help on this one, and he agreed, so I snapped them up, negotiated the price down and brought them home.
The chairs had multiple layers of paint (black, red, and blue) very thickly glopped on. We (mostly Jake) worked with a paint stripper and tons of sandpaper and finally got that bare wood. (I should note, this project was taken on pre-pregnancy, but I'm just now posting on the blog!) After a stain job, they were starting to have that classic rustic look.

They had nearly neon red vinyl seats, so I reupholstered the seats with an axis hide I sourced from Craigslist for a steal. The hide was just barely large enough to cover both seats, as they are pretty large, but I scrimped and made it work. It was my first go with upholstery with hide, and it went well! I must say, though, it’s much harder to upholster with hide than with fabric. All in all, after some hard work, we got our dream barstools for much less.
In the above photo the hide upholstery looks wrinkled, but I believe it's the angle of the photo showing the individual hairs. It's smooth in person.
And here's a side by side:
They're very comfortable, and we love the look. I also love having something special we made together for our home.


Full Bathroom Reno: Mirrors, Vanity, and Moving More Pipes

We left off with all new electrical in the bathroom, and a vent pipe moved. The vent pipe had to be moved for the electrical, so the new vanity light could go where it needed to go to be centered. You can see the newly moved black vent pipe and the new light locations below. The light on the left has a new fixture already installed, and the one on the right doesn't. It simply has the bracket and mounting hardware, since we knew we would have to remove the light again as soon as we put up sheetrock. The one on the left is installed temporarily so we had some sort of light while we worked.

Although we were thankful to have all of these problems solved, a new problem was discovered. Unless we seriously rerouted some pipes, we could not have the mirrored medicine cabinets I picked out. After much discussion, we opted to leave the pipes as they were, and purchase a new vanity that would be configured to double sinks for better storage, and use flat mirrors without medicine cabinets.

I was honestly not pleased at all about that at first. I thought our vanity was fine, and it was a shame to buy a new one. But, we forged on and shopped around and purchased a shiny new vanity online, and had it shipped to our local store. The vanity has drawers in the middle and cabinets on the outside, so it is better suited for double sinks.

When we got the vanity in, we placed it in the bathroom just to see, and it was stunning. I withdraw any negative thoughts or comments I had on purchasing a new vanity because it is a million times nicer than what was in there. The craftsmanship is stunning, it's professionally finished, the layout is better, and it even has soft close drawers. My favorite feature might be all of the trim and molding- it looks more like a furniture piece. I'll show that soon.

Unfortunately, it presented a new problem. I'm learning that in (major) DIY, things almost never go as you planned. The new problem was that now there were different pipes that needed to be moved. The drain pipe and water pipe both intersected with the drawers in the new vanity.

In the photos you can see that the two pipes on the left interfere with the drawer area. When we purchased the piece, we thought there would be enough room behind the drawers, but there just isn't.

Due to being in a rush to complete the bathroom, mostly due to our baby on the way, Jake suggested just hiring a plumber to move the pipes. I called over 14 plumbers and contractors, and no one could get it done. That is a story for another day, but I can simply say, I am incredibly disappointed so far with my personal experience with contractors/plumbers.

Even though these particular plumbing issues were things Jake had never dealt with before, he decided to attempt it after our negative experience with contractors/plumbers. As I mentioned in my 29 Thoughts on Thankfulness post, this is one of the things I love most about him. He can literally do anything that he puts his mind to. Anything. He will work hard and figure it out. And, the proof is in the pudding! It took him a couple of nights but he got the pipes moved. The time he spent was only an hour or so, but the pipes were so old that it took several soaking sessions with WD40.

You can see in the photos the pipe to the far left was routed to go straight out, and the middle pipe was rotated to also go straight out. With these changes, our vanity now works in place! Next up, drywall.


Full Bathroom Reno: Electrical, Vanity, and Moving a Vent Pipe

As I mentioned in the last bathroom post, I didn't get detailed photos of all of the steps due to baby on the way. A lot of these steps were taken when I still was not feeling well, so my thought process was not on taking photos and documenting!

Once we decided to remove the mirrors, Jake asked his brother-in-law to help. His brother in law works in glass and mirrors, so he would be able to remove it much safer than we could. He came over and removed them pretty quickly, and we were left with a very ugly wall. I wish I had pictures of the wall at this point, but imagine it with huge 5 inch diameter glue spots and chunks of drywall missing. We also discovered that there used to be two medicine cabinets, one in the middle and one on the left side wall, as there were holes for them in the drywall.

At this point, the only option was to completely remove the existing drywall and replace it. It was just too damaged. On the bright side, this meant it would be a lot easier to install new electrical. I asked my dad to help with the electrical, since Jake nor I had done it before, and he was very experienced.

He came over and installed two new outlet boxes, quadrupling our number of outlets in the bathroom. We had just one single outlet with two plugs, and he had the brilliant idea of making each outlet four plugs, in addition to adding the new outlet box. I was so excited I was jumping around with glee! He also replaced our vent fan, which has never worked since we moved in. It worked, I suppose, but it made this horrendous noise when you turned it on, so we just never used it. He also updated the light switch and vent fan switch to more modern rocker switches. I have a difficult time saying what I was most excited about- probably all of it. I switched the vent fan on and off for days just to listen to the quiet hum. Also, now all of our outlets were a new, crisp, clean white, as opposed to the older almond color.

The next step was to convert the single vanity light into a double vanity light, which had it's own set of problems. As with all DIY projects, you never know what's lurking behind the walls. In this case, we had a vent pipe in the way.

In the photo above, the black vent pipe had already been moved. The issue was the vent pipe came straight down where the arrow points, instead of curving to the left. Jake and my dad managed to move the pipe over one stud, to allow for the vanity light to be centered.
The processed described in this post took a few different days to complete, but boy is it all worth it!


Full Bathroom Reno: Starting on the Opposite Side- Vanity Mirrors

Once the shower was complete, we shifted our focus to the other side of the bathroom. A lot of steps were taken, so this post will start to cover those briefly. Again, due to the baby on the way, I didn't document the process step by step, but I do have some photos to share.

This is what we started with:

Our original plan was to replace the mirrors, sink, and faucet (and make them into double sinks, faucets, and mirrors), but keep the vanity and pulls and repaint them. We had success in the past with painting built in cabinets and hardware, and were content to do that again. I debated keeping the large back mirror and framing it, and only removing the side mirror, but I decided I would prefer to add recessed medicine cabinets for more storage. I picked a beautiful simple arched version and mapped it on the mirrors to be sure before we removed them.

I first drew on the existing mirror with a window marker (a chalk pen would work as well, or dry erase marker) but I was having a hard time visualizing it. So, I measured and cut out the mirror shapes only from wrapping paper, so it would block the rest of the mirror. It was an interesting exercise, too, because Jake and I have nearly a foot in height difference, so where I would put the mirrors and where he would place the mirrors is totally different. Something to think about!

Ultimately, I decided I liked it and wanted to move forward. Besides them being more modern and updated, the main bonus was the storage. The medicine cabinets I chose were 5 inches deep, 24 inches wide, and 30 inches tall. Since we were moving to double sinks from a single sink, we would be losing our drawer storage space, and that could be replaced by the medicine cabinets.

Also, since we were ripping out the mirrors, that meant that we could easily install new electrical. I wanted to convert our single vanity light to a double vanity light, one over each sink, for more light and aesthetics. I also wanted to add an additional outlet to the right side of the vanity, as we only have one on the far left currently. The additional plug would help a lot for convenience and safety, since whoever (Jake usually) was using the far side sink would have to stretch a cord across two sinks for appliances.

We did go ahead and rip out the mirrors, and move forward with the electrical. I will post about that soon!


A Progression from 16 to 24 Weeks

I had some fun playing around with my 16, 20, and 24 week bump photos. It's really neat to me to see the changes side by side!

Although you can see a progression in the photos, I think it's much more of an obvious difference in person. It'll be fun to continue to document the changes each month. For now, it's pretty sweet seeing that baby boy in bump form.


Life at 24 Weeks

Well, it's somewhat hard to believe but I'm officially 24 weeks.

How far along? 24 weeks, or 6 months if you're dividing by 4 weeks to a month.
Maternity clothes? Yes. I can still fit into my jeans, but by mid-day or so the waist really starts to pinch. Sadly, maternity jeans are not my favorite but that's what I am needing to wear. Sometimes I do the rubber band trick to extend the waist some and that works well. Work-wise, I'm in maternity clothes 100%.
Stretch marks? No, thank goodness.

Sleep? Questionable at best. I have much more stamina than I was having, and can stay up later (like 8:30-10pm on a great night, but I have enough energy to go out every once in a while). However, I am waking up in the middle of the night (2am-4am usually) and will be wide awake anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours. I'm also more uncomfortable sleeping since my belly is pretty big.
Best moment this month? I would have to say the best moment pregnancy-wise this month was starting to feel him move. I was so excited the first time that I thought I felt kicks (October 23rd) that I ran around telling everyone and I wrote it in my planner. Now, it's amazing, a month later, he is moving nonstop! He is also getting much stronger because in this short time frame, some of the movements are already beginning to hurt a bit. It's a pretty wondrous thing, feeling him move, though.

Miss anything? I still miss all of my vices occasionally- caffeine, the occasional adult beverage, etc.
Movement? Yes! Like I mentioned above, he is moving quite a bit now. At first I was amazed to feel even a kick or two, and then I wouldn't feel anything for days. Then, he started moving on a schedule. He would start moving around late afternoon (3-4pm or so) and then move around on my drive home (around 6pm) and then again that evening around 7-8pm, and at bedtime. Now, he is moving very frequently and whenever he feels like it!
Food cravings? I still am loving salty carbs, like potatoes and French fries, and I have gotten my LOVE for Mexican food back. Mexican food every day! (I wish.)
Anything making you queasy or sick? Yes, things occasionally do. Pre-pregnancy I had a very tough stomach and hardly anything could make me nauseated. Now, sometimes if a show or movie is too graphic it makes me sick, or smelling certain foods will make me feel sick. I can't think of a solid example for food right now, except for seafood.
Have you started to show yet? Absolutely! I love my bump. The fun thing about it is that now pretty much everyone, strangers included, can tell that I am pregnant and will comment on it. One of the benefits to that is that strangers seem to be a lot nicer!
Gender? Boy!
Labor Signs? Definitely not, thank goodness.
Belly Button in or out? In still, which was one of the only things I really wanted to stay as is. Unfortunately, I think it will be an outie by the end, because I can tell it is changing.
Wedding rings on or off? On, and loving that!
Happy or moody most of the time
? Hmm. I would like to say happy and I think that is true. However, since the beginning of pregnancy my temper-fuse has been much shorter, so I can snap quite a bit easier. Thankfully, I have that mostly under control, but I am very emotional otherwise. It seems like I cry at the drop of a hat right now, even though I really am happy. It's the hormones, they say!
Looking forward to? Right now I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving, which is in just a few days. I'm looking forward to the time off of work, and spending it with family. Of course, I always look forward to Black Friday too!
Milestones: I think this month the main milestone is the movement, which is a pretty great one.

All in all it's been a great month. I'm looking forward to the future!


Building a Concrete Step

Since we found out I was pregnant, one of the first projects that jumped to the top of the list was building a concrete back step into the house. There was previously a concrete step into the house, but soon after we purchased the house and moved in, it broke completely and Jake removed the majority of it. It was one of those things that needed to be done, but it fell to the bottom of the list. We have been in this house about 5 years, and it had been broken almost from the get go, so we got used to it and it didn't even bother us. Now that I am pregnant, I have been pretty dizzy and even more clumsy than before, so the safety and security of that step seemed very important. Also, when we bring the baby home, it would be nice to have a place to set the carrier when we unlocked the door, and same with groceries, etc. On top of all of that, it would be easier for our guests and much safer for our boy when he starts moving around.

My dad came over to help with the project, and instruct Jake on what steps needed to be done. Dad had built similar things before, and Jake hadn't, so having that expertise was wonderful! Jake purchased the materials (quikcrete) and busted out the remainder of the step that was there. Jake worked too fast for me, so I didn't take a photo of the remnants of the old step, but I did get one of the blank slate.

We mapped out the basic size of the step, making it larger than the previous step. The idea was to have an extra space on the right side to set things down when we were unlocking the door. Also, it was two steps before, a full step and a tiny step, and we decided to make it one large step for ease.

Jake and Dad built a box out of wood scrap to use as the mold. They extended it as far out as they could without interfering with that water pipe, above. They also created it to have a slight slope, so any rainwater would all drain off, instead of pooling on the step. Then they mixed up the quikcrete one bag at a time, I believe. Being pregnant, I was inside most of the time, just coming out when they asked a question or to bring water or to see progress. This was back in August, and it is boiling hot where we live in August!

The process was mix the concrete, shovel it in, smooth it out, and repeat. They moved pretty quickly, but I could tell it was very physically demanding work, especially in the heat. The main thing I was surprised by was how many bags of concrete it took! I believe they used 10 or 12, and that's for a single back step. The bags of quikcrete are very affordable, it's just a decent amount of work.

We allowed it to dry overnight, without us our the dogs stepping on it. We used the front door for the remainder of the day to be safe. I was really surprised the next morning when I went to let Tex and Charlie out to go potty. Poor Tex didn't know what to think! He jumped over it in and out for a couple of weeks, until he finally got used to stepping on it. I, on the other hand, loved it! It felt like such a luxury to have a step into the house, especially such a large, roomy one. It definitely helped with my pregnancy-induced clumsiness as well!

You can see the slope in the photo above, but it is much less obvious in person. The positive thing is, it's been just a little over 3 months since it was built, and no rainwater has stood on it, despite some pretty massive rain storms. It still looks as great as it did they day it was built, and I still feel like a queen using the step. It's really nice to unlock the door, bring in groceries, call in the dogs, etc. And one of my favorite parts? Is this:

Jake carved that into the bottom right corner of the step. I can't say how much I love that sweet token of love. I still melt when I look at it.

Overall, I think this is a great project and could be customized in so many ways! The shape of the mold is up to you, as is any adornments. I originally thought it might be fun to press decorative tiles or objects into the side walls of the step while the concrete dried, but I ultimately was happy just to have a step into the house.


Looking Back on 20 Weeks

As I shared in my looking back on 16 weeks post, I didn't really do this questionnaire at 20 weeks. Now, I'm at 24 weeks and I want to look back and document that time to the best of my memory.

How far along? 20 weeks, or 5 months if you're dividing by 4 weeks to a month.
Maternity clothes? Yes. I purchased two pairs of black slacks for work, because my work slacks starting getting tight pretty quickly. My jeans all still fit, but they are low rise and sit more on my waist, and not much has changed there. My slacks all sit more on the waist, so they got tight a lot sooner. I also bought some maternity tops. I could still fit into some of my baggier clothes possibly, but most don't fit or are too short now, etc. The maternity clothes feel and look a lot better.

Stretch marks? No.
Sleep? I'm still pretty tired, but thank goodness I am not as fatigued. I'm still going to bed early, but it's not as big of a struggle as it was.
Best moment this month? I think the best moment was probably that my tummy really popped out. From 16 weeks to 20 weeks, you can tell a huge difference. I love actually looking pregnant. It has been hard up until this point because I feel very pregnant (tired, not feeling well, etc.) but it was not obvious from the outside. I enjoy my baby bump.

Miss anything? I still miss all of my vices occasionally- caffeine, the occasional adult beverage, etc.
Movement? No.
Food cravings? French fries still, and Snyder's Buttermilk Ranch Pretzel Pieces. I got a massive craving for them, and Jake took me to at least 4 or 5 stores to look for them. I finally ordered a case from Amazon, because they didn't sell individual packs online. It's hilarious now to look back on this and laugh, but at the time I was really upset that I couldn't find those pretzels! It's a favorite story of Jake's to tell.
Anything making you queasy or sick? Yes, things occasionally do. I still haven't gotten my appetite back 100%, and it is very difficult for me to eat vegetables. I force them down when I can, but the majority of the time even smelling them makes me feel sick.

Have you started to show yet? Yes! I love the beginnings of my baby bump.
Gender? Boy!
Labor Signs? Definitely not, thank goodness.
Belly Button in or out? In.
Wedding rings on or off? On and comfortable.
Happy or moody most of the time
? I can say that I definitely am happy most of the time.

Looking forward to? I'm looking forward to watching my growing bump, and I'm looking forward to feeling him move.
Milestones: I think this month the main milestone is the baby bump, which is a really fun one.


Full Bathroom Reno: Sealing Tile and Installing Shower Hardware

This post is very delayed as this part of the project was finished months ago, but thanks to baby on the way, you are getting it now! Better late than never, right?

We left off with a freshly tiled and grouted shower that needed to be sealed and finished. I personally sealed the tile (pre-pregnancy!) myself, so I did not get any photos. There is nothing to show really, since the sealer is clear. You simply brush it on with a paintbrush, being sure to cover all pieces of every single tile. I followed the package instructions, which said to brush it on and wipe it off after a certain amount of time. It's a fairly easy process, except our incredibly uneven natural stone offered a lot more angles and edges than typical tile. I still say it's worth it!

Next, Jake caulked around the ceiling and tub, which I don't have pictures of either. He is a much better caulk-er than me, so I asked him to do this step since this caulk would show at the end result. I chose white caulk for the ceiling and tub surround, since both were white.

Then, Jake installed the shower/tub hardware, which included the showerhead, handle, and tub faucet. The pipes were already in place, so this step was simply assembling it all. Again, our tile selection presented a challenge of being uneven, which made the hardware not sit flush against the wall. Long term, that could cause a big problem with water leakage, mold, etc. Thankfully, we asked my dad and he suggested filing it down. He actually came over and helped Jake with this, and they were able to get all of the pieces to sit flush. Then, Jake finished them with clear caulk. He was the one who thought clear would be better, and I am so glad I listened to him. The clear looks amazing! The white would have been very obvious around that natural stone and dark hardware.

Finally, we have the finished product.

You can see in some of the photos of the shower wall with the hardware that the wall is not finished next to it. Both walls next to the tile still need to be finished, but we will do that step last, when we do all of the finishing, painting, etc.

I love the hardware I chose. It's a dark oil-rubbed bronze, which really pops off the natural stone shower. It has these gorgeous sparkly flecks in it, too. I really love the gooseneck shower head and the handle- it reminds me of an oil pump- which is a fond thought for this Texas girl.

Right now, I have up a simple oil-rubbed bronze rod with just a white shower curtain liner. We have been using the shower since late July when it was finished, and it has been heavenly. It is so much lighter and brighter in there with the new tub and tile, and it such a pleasure to use. For the first month, easily, I would just stare at the beautiful tile as I showered. I am so pleased with all of our choices and so proud of the fact that we did it 100% ourselves.

I don't have any good pulled back photos, because of the size of the bathroom and my lacking photography skills. I need to have someone over to take good photos of the shower for me. Still, you can see the difference, right?



We just love it!!

Check out all of the shower renovation steps by clicking on the orange "Full Bathroom" link under this post.


29 Thoughts on Thankfulness

This year my birthday lands on Thanksgiving. It's pretty common in my family to have a birthday on Thanksgiving or right around it. We have four November birthdays in my immediate family, and usually mine or my brother's falls right on it or within a day or two.

I turn 29 this year, which I am kind of indifferent about. I don't usually get too excited about my own birthdays, and this one is no different. It just seems that I will be 29 and it is right. But, I have a lot to be thankful for, and I thought it would be a fun twist on my Thanksgiving birthday to list 29 things that I am thankful for. Some of these are deeper, and some are more frivolous, but all are things for which I am thankful.

1. Jake- I could write a book about why I am thankful for this man. I am so grateful to be married to this wonderful man. He may not be perfect, but he is perfect for me. He can always make me laugh (hard) and is an amazing provider and hard worker. He can figure out absolutely anything he puts his mind to, and he is always learning something new. He is trustworthy and honest. He knows me better than anyone and he "gets" me. We have this connection that we can (usually) communicate without even speaking, and are usually on the same page. We are so opposite in so many ways but we have blended together nearly seamlessly. I could wax poetic on this subject forever, but the bottom line is, I love this man more than words and am so grateful to be spending my life with him.

2. Our baby on the way- I am thankful for our baby boy on the way. I couldn't be happier that he is a boy, and I look forward to going on this new adventure of motherhood with him.

3. A healthy pregnancy- I am very thankful that my pregnancy has been incredibly healthy. Sure, it's been uncomfortable a lot of the time, but I am blessed that everything with me and the baby is healthy.

4. Charlie- I adore this dog more than words can say. Until this baby on the way, Charlie has been my baby. The joy he brings me on a daily basis is indescribable. I love snuggling with him, holding him, and just being around him. He cracks me up daily with his quirks. His love is unconditional, and I'm so thankful he's in my life.

5. Tex- Tex is the sweetest dog with the most tender heart. He is so big, but he is a big baby. He loves to snuggle with me too, and he thinks he is as small as Charlie. He makes me giggle on a daily basis as well. He has grown into a very good dog, and I am so thankful he's in my life as well.

6. Our house- I love that our house is truly home. It is the place I feel the most safe, the most comfortable, and the most happiness. Although we may seem to always be working to improve it, I am so content with it. It is us, it is beautiful, and I feel very, very fortunate to have such a lovely home.

7. My mom- My mom is one of my closest, if not best, friends. We talk every day and she loves me unconditionally as well. It hasn't always been this easy (due to me, mostly), but we have worked hard at our relationship and I'm so glad for where it is. I tell her most everything, and she is my confidante.

8. My dad- My dad is like my knight in shining armor, next to Jake. He will help me/us through any situation that needs his help. He will drop anything he is doing and come over if we have some sort of house issue, and always knows how to fix it. He is such a Godly man, too, and so loving. I'm so thankful for my daddy.

9. My (middle) brother and his wife- I am very close to my brother; he is also one of my best friends. I can tell him absolutely anything and he helps me through it without judgment. He is also brilliant and an amazing businessman and entrepreneur. The example of how he has grown himself is amazing and inspiring. He is also married to the most wonderful woman, whom I love so much. She is funny, smart, kind, and also "gets" me. I can always talk to her as well. She is such a perfect pair for him. Jake and I hang out with them (somewhat) frequently and always have so much fun. I am so thankful they are in my life.

10. My (oldest) brother and his family- I don't get the opportunity to see my oldest brother and his family too often, but am thankful when I do. Especially since I have been pregnant, I have really enjoyed talking to my oldest brother about parenthood. He has had some exceptional insight into it, since he is a father to my six year old niece.

11. Jake's family- They say when you marry a person, that you are also marrying their family. That is absolutely true. I am fortunate to have a wonderful set of in-laws as my second family.

12. My job- I have an amazing job, and I count my blessings daily for it. As with any job, it is work, but it's a great job to have. I work for a wonderful organization, have a great boss, a good relationship with my co-workers, and I like what I do. Every aspect of the job is something to be thankful for.

13. My benefits/insurance- Thanks to my amazing job, I have great benefits and insurance. I feel like this should be a line item of it's own, because of how impactful they are to my life. They are both wonderful, and make our quality of life so much better.

14. Friends- I am fortunate to have some really great friends. I may not have as wide of a friends network as some, but I do have a handful of really amazing people in my life.

15. Texas- This may seem broad, but I love my home state. I love the landscape, the people, the southern qualities, and so much more. I love the music here and the things to do. I firmly believe it's the best state in the United States. (But that's normal for a Texan, right?)

16 . Pedicures- Here's a more frivolous one! But something I am very thankful for, nonetheless. I have always enjoyed pedicures, but since I have became pregnant, pedicures are one of my most favorite things. My feet hurt constantly while pregnant, and having the luxury of someone tending to them for 45 minutes to an hour is ah-maz-ing.

17. Hair straighteners- While I'm on the more frivolous vein, I am also thankful for hair straighteners. I have naturally (very) curly hair, and usually wear it curly. However, since becoming pregnant, my hair has been even more wild than normal, which is pretty wild. I finally started taking to straightening it last week, and it's a world of difference.

18. Thanksgiving- Thanksgiving had to make this list, being on Thanksgiving and all. I am thankful for the holiday, for the time off of work, for the time with family, and for the delicious and abundant food. I love this time of year.

19. Christmas- Christmas is right around the corner, and I am so excited. I am thankful for it for many of the same reasons that I am thankful for Thanksgiving, but also for even more. This is the day we recognize as our Savior's birth, and is probably the most special time of year. But I think the best way to describe it is being thankful for the joy and the feeling of the season.

20. All holidays- Thanksgiving and Christmas are so large that they get their own line items, but I am thankful for all holidays. My mom always made holidays very special when we were growing up, and that is something that has stuck with me.

21. Living somewhere with mild weather- I already spoke briefly about Texas, but I am so thankful to live somewhere with mild fall/winter weather. One of my best friends is a transplant from Minnesota, and we compare weather stories frequently. Plus, I see all sorts of weather conditions from other parts of the country, and I am very grateful for our winters.

22. Scrapbooking- Scrapbooking is probably my favorite hobby. I am thankful for the joy it brings me both during the creative process, and after the fact when I can look back on our memories. I have so much fun scrapbooking.

23. Having a craft room- I am fortunate enough to have an entire room to craft in. Both Jake and I had a spare room in the house to ourselves, and he was the one to volunteer to give up his room for the baby nursery. I so love having my own space to go and create. I can't explain it, but I feel like I need to create like I need to breathe. So, having my own space to do that is such a blessing.

24. Our bathroom remodel- Although it is moving very slow, and has given us plenty of frustration, I am thankful for this renovation. We are getting close to the finish line, and it will be one of the nicest rooms in our house. I am thankful that we had the means to do it, and for Jake's incredibly hard work and DIY skills to achieve this.

25. Blankets- Here is another frivolous one. I love blankets and throws. I love snuggling up on the couch in the evening under a super soft blanket.

26. Blogs- I am thankful for the world of blogs. I have several favorites that I ready daily, and several others that I check in to from time to time. Blogs (especially DIY/home ones) have opened a new world to me and empowered me to do even more things in my home.

27. Having everything I could want- I can honestly say I have pretty much everything I could want. I have an amazing husband, family, friends, home, dogs, job, and much more. But Jake and I are very fortunate (and thanks to hard work!) to be able to have the things we want. Of course, no one has absolutely everything they want, but I feel like we come close. We have nice things, can go out to eat, and can make purchases if we want to.

28. God- I am more thankful than ever for God, with having a baby on the way. I am constantly trying to steer his future in a Biblical manner, and I am thankful for my relationship with God to do this.

29. Going into my 29th year, soon to be 30's- Everything I read lately seems to be about how the 30's are the best decade yet for those who are in theirs. I can see how this is true. Most people are more settled by their 30's, in their relationships, careers, choices, etc., and I feel that applies to me as well. I'm not afraid of my 30's- bring them on! (In one more year).

This turned out to be a very lengthy list, and I may be the only one to read it, but it was very cathartic for me to write. It also brought many more things to mind that I am thankful for, and this is by no means a complete list. But, it sure is nice to reflect on these 29 things that I am thankful for. To another great year!


Looking Back on 16 Weeks

I started taking photos of my baby bump at 16 weeks, because that's when I could tell that I was starting to show. Pretty much no one else could see it, but being my body, I could see the differences. I wish I would have taken pictures sooner as well, but this is as soon as I started documenting the bump. I also didn't truly start this questionnaire until currently (24 weeks), but I'm going to try my best to reflect back to 16 and 20 weeks. From this point on, I'll keep up with it each month.

How far along? 16 weeks, or 4 months if you're dividing by 4 weeks to a month.
Maternity clothes? I've bought a couple of things, but I don't really need them. I can see a slight difference in my body, but right now it kind of just looks like a I ate a little too much. I can still fit into all of my clothes no problem.

Stretch marks? No, not that much has happened yet!
Sleep? Oh, sleep. I am so exhausted all of the time. All I want to do is sleep. At work, I struggle to not fall asleep at my desk. It's so bad that I point a fan right at my face and will gently slap my face to try to stay awake. Right now I go to work, come home to bed, nap for a little while, get back up and maybe eat dinner (maybe) and go right back to bed. I think I could just about hibernate right now I'm so tired. It is honestly the worst fatigue I've ever had in my life.
Best moment this month? The best moment by far was finding out that we were having a boy!!!! I really felt like it was a boy from the very beginning. We had a gender reveal party the same day we found out  (15 weeks, 6 days) and it was really fun.

Miss anything? I miss not feeling well and having energy.
Movement? No, no movement yet. Although. when they show us the ultrasounds, he is definitely wiggling around in there! It was pretty cute- one time- he was swaying his arms up and down like he was dancing.

Food cravings? Hmm, pretty much nothing really sounds or tastes good. If I do feel like eating at all, it's probably a baked potato.
Anything making you queasy or sick? Yes, almost everything. I really don't feel like eating, almost ever, and I'm just not feeling too hot.

Have you started to show yet? A tiny bit. I can tell, but no one else can.
Gender? It's a boy!
Labor Signs? Definitely not, thank goodness.
Belly Button in or out? In! I really hope that it stays in the whole time, but we will see. 

Wedding rings on or off? On and normal to loose.
Happy or moody most of the time
? I asked Jake what he thought and he said happy. He's incredibly honest so I know he would tell me the truth! I will say though, that I can get angered a lot easier now. Before, I was pretty calm, mild, and even timid to say things to people. Right now, it's easy for me to snap. I think it's the hormones, and since I've noticed, I try to bite my tongue.

Looking forward to? I'm looking forward to finally dreaming about boy things! I've been DYING to know the gender this entire time, so now I'm super excited to think about all things boy.
Milestones: Definitely finding out the gender, and our gender reveal party was really fun. Plus, I finally was able to share the news that I was pregnant work and everyone else around 13 weeks. We told our parents, siblings, and my best friend earlier than that, but having the news out in the open was so glorious. I hated having that secret!



I haven't posted in quite a while for several reasons- the main one being that I'm pregnant! I'm 24 weeks and 3 days, currently.

Not the best quality picture, but it's our first picture with our first ultrasound while we were waiting to see the doctor. This is around 10 weeks.

Obviously, the pregnancy has taken over my life in more ways than one, which has had various effects on everything. The bathroom is still in progress, and getting closer all the time to completion. I can excitedly share that it's a boy (!!) and we are starting work in the nursery soon. The plans are already in place and some things have been purchased.

All of that being said, I have tons to post here on the blog, from bathroom progress, to other projects around the house, and of course tons of baby updates. I'm finally in a pretty good place so I plan to update the blog more frequently! Check back for all kinds of fun updates. It should be an amazing ride.


Full Bathroom Reno Day 18: How to Grout with a Grout Bag and Paint the Shower Ceiling

You may have noticed a lack of bathroom renovation posts here on the blog, and that's because we haven't worked on it for nearly a couple of weeks, for extenuating circumstances. We got back to work on it today, though.

We started to put up the pencils, which if you're not familiar, they look like this. But, due to the nature of our uneven natural stone, they weren't lining up. The idea of a pencil is to act as a trim, making a straight even line around the uneven natural stone. But in our case, it wouldn't have been even so we decided not to go through with it. Instead, we are going to finish the edges with caulk, like a typical shower surround.

Next, we decided to fill in a gap near the ceiling on one of the tiled walls.

filling in gaps with stacked stone tile

On the other two walls we tiled up to the ceiling, but on this first wall we stopped a little short. It was the first wall we did, and we assumed we needed to leave room for caulk, but it was a bit too much room. So, Jake cut tiny slivers of the tile and we filled in the gaps with those.

install stacked stone tile

We let the thinset dry, then we grouted the two corner lines. We decided to use a grout bag, to pipe it in the cracks easier. We chose unsanded grout, because our lines were less than 1/8".

grout and grout bag

how to mix grout

We mixed the grout per instructions, but I will note that if you're using a grout bag, it's a lot easier if the grout is more on the runny side. We did one seam with grout that was a thicker consistency, and one with grout that was a thinner consistency, and it was a ton easier with the thinner grout. With the grout bag, you simply pipe it into the cracks just like you were icing a cake.

how to grout with grout bag

After we grouted the seams, we smoothed it with these caulk tools to great a nice line.

grout stacked stone tile

grout stacked stone tile

In these photos the grout is reading lighter than it reads in person. In person, it blends beautifully.

After we grouted, I painted two coats on the ceiling of a water and mold resistant paint. In hindsight, it would have been a lot smarter to paint it before we tiled, but live and learn.

We were ready to seal the tile, but I read on the instructions that you must wait 72 hours after any grout application to seal it, so we are waiting. After that, we can caulk around all of the edges, secure the hardware, and be done! Yay! I'm very happy to be at this point.