Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Painting Tales from Someone Who Doesn't Know How to Paint

I've learned a couple things about myself throughout the last couple of weeks: I love painting walls (the trim in particular - I'm a freak!) and I should never DIY anything without someone's help (who knows what they're doing) or very specific, detailed instructions.

Before I attacked my first room with paint, my mom was a wreck and rightfully so. She knows that I'm often not the most patient human being and that I also semi-destroyed our old office in Tennessee by getting paint all over the trim and ceiling. Jamie's grandmother (Mamaw) had quite the time (and many laughs) trying to fix all of my painting errors when she came to turn the room into Hadley's nursery last summer. When Jamie told her that I was about to start painting various rooms in our new house, she picked up the phone to give me all of her sweet tips so that she would not have to come from Indiana to fix my accidents. ;)

I was determined to show my family that I, Erica DeSpain, who has no crafty/handy talents whatsoever, could do this.

Fast forward to today, and the following rooms are successfully (I think) painted (whew):

Our master bath (Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams)

Our living room/entry way/hallway (Balanced Beige by Sherwin Williams)
Excuse the little bit on the trim. That oak is being painted very soon, so I wasn't overly perfect with it.

Our sunroom (Glidden's color-matched version of Benjamin Moore's Palladian Blue)

Let's talk about the living room and it's original green accent wall. So bad. SO BAD.

Our living room is where we play, occasionally eat (keepin' it real), watch TV, take naps (yeah right), work out, read, and hang out. It's literally where we do life, and I'd been looking for the perfect paint color for it for months. I was finally sold on Benjamin Moore's "Gray Owl" thanks to one of my friends who used and loved it, but the nearest Benjamin Moore paint store is over an hour away. I did the color matching thing at Home Depot for the sunroom and was very pleased (though the picture above does nothing for the true color), so I figured I'd try it again for the Gray Owl paint.

After one thin coat of primer and two very carefully painted coats of the Gray Owl, we had this STARK WHITE WALL. Forget the fireplace accent wall, which I hated from the second I finished it. I was so upset about how this wall turned out. The lighting made it look 85 different colors, and none of them were Gray Owl. Color-matching FAIL.

After taking a couple days off from painting to see if I could live with it, I decided I couldn't. Jamie, who is usually super easy to please, also agreed that this white wall had to go.

I also decided that I absolutely, positively cannot live with the oak trim, windows, and doors. I also have zero desire whatsoever to paint those myself. I am excited to use my time and energy on a number of big and small projects around here, but painting that oak is surely not one of them.

All of this took place about 10 days ago, and today I'm over the moon excited that we now have a fab handyman who is giving us a killer price to come in the end of October and repaint every inch of oak trim and windows and replace every single door (20!!) with a six-panel white door. The previous owners put all new hardware on every door upstairs, but we'll also be putting in new hardware in the basement.

I know the living room and sunroom paint colors are just going to pop and look so much better with the glossy white trim and windows. So pumped! Crossing our fingers that this improvement will not only make our interior much more bright and beautiful but that we'll also see this money back when we sell it in a few years.

A few tools that I'm in love with -

This brush has changed my life forever (sorry that I only have a pic of the packaging). John from Young House Love swears by it, and I'd buy any tool that couple tells me to buy! I found it at Sherwin Williams, and it's definitely worth the money (I think I remember it being right around $13). It makes cutting in at the trim, windows, and ceilings a breeze.

I picked up this roller before I tackled the bathroom, and I really just got lucky with this one. I knew nothing about rollers, but I accidentally picked up one that extends to three different heights. Besides getting on the ladder to cut in where the wall meets the ceiling, I haven't had to use a ladder. This bad boy extends all the way up to the ceiling. I wish I knew what it was called, but look for it at Sherwin Williams.

Finally, I'm in love with the simplicity and ease of this step ladder. I borrowed it from my sister, and I'm hoping she forgets I have it. ;) It's incredibly sturdy but lightweight enough for me to maneuver all around the room. Two thumbs up. It's called "Skinny Mini", but I have no clue where she bought it. I'll ask and let ya know!

Finally, if you follow me on Instagram than you may have seen our new kitchen farmhouse table. I'm in love, I'm in love, and I don't care who knows it!

My husband and brother-in-law built it this weekend and I stained and painted it all day yesterday. More on the table later this week.

My motto with this house is to be content with letting each room evolve over time and not rush and settle with just throwing things up on the walls. Of course I have a wish list of furniture and décor for each room, but for now I'm just happy that we've started slowly chipping away at making this place our own. It's fun!

See ya later this week!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Since Closing...

Hello hello hello! I'm back! I took an unexpected blogging hiatus for a couple weeks, but in hindsight I should have totally expected it with all that our calendar has had lined up for us this month.

Let's play catch up. I have a lot to tell you about, though I'm warning you that it's nothing too exciting. :)

Like I mentioned in my last post, we closed on our new home here in Manhattan, Kansas on the 2nd, and we spent the first six days twiddling our thumbs around the empty house looking for things to do. I painted the master bathroom and sunroom while Jamie did a few other odd jobs. On the 7th, we ran over to Kansas City to see my in-law's new place and help them load up a moving truck with furniture that they graciously gifted us that they no longer needed or are replacing. Tonya & Keith, thank you so, so much all of the beautiful pieces! We are very thankful.

On Monday morning (the 8th), our moving truck showed up bright and early!

It took the guys four or five hours to get everything off the truck and into the correct rooms and another couple of hours for them to unpack all of our boxes. I knew that the movers were supposed to unpack your boxes if you asked, but I was nervous to ask them to do the extra work. After some encouragement from some fellow spouses, we asked the movers if they'd unpack just the inside boxes (not the garage boxes). They agreed with no problem.

Having the movers unpack our boxes (ahem - dump said boxes into massive piles all over the house) and take the overwhelming load of packing paper and boxes was such a huge, huge help. We'll definitely be going this route from now on.

The next day, instead of beginning to sort through the heaping piles all over the house and actually unpack, we threw a bunch of stuff in whatever luggage we could find, loaded up the Jeep, and set out on a 880 mile trip to Birmingham. We're kind of insane, but that's nothing new.

We had to get to Birmingham for a wedding; Jamie's cousin Madeline got married to Jamie's high school best friend Chris, and the best part is that they met at our wedding almost four years ago!

We were so pumped for months about their wedding, but getting in the car to leave for a week while our new house looked like a tornado hit it was tough. We could have easily flown down and made it a quick trip, but we knew that if we were going to be in Alabama that we'd want to spend time with my parents for a couple days. We knew our house wasn't going anywhere and that the mess could wait one more week.

We ended up having a really fantastic QUICK trip and were so glad we drove instead of flew so that we could spend that extra time with our loved ones. The wedding was beautiful, and not only did we get good time with our families but also with a couple of my best friends and Jamie's best friends.

We both breathed a couple huge sighs of relief when we pulled back into our driveway at 6:40 Monday morning (we drove through the night on the way back so Hadley would sleep the whole way).

The last three days have been super productive. We've sorted through the six most lived-in rooms and made them "livable" - our master bedroom/bathroom, Hadley's bedroom/bathroom, the living room, and the kitchen. Our two spare bedrooms, office, basement living area - those are all a complete disaster, but we have a plan to slowly but surely tackle them.

We've also pulled weeds, mowed/edged the yard, explored the local farmer's market, enjoyed home-cooked meals (finally!), got DirecTV up and running again, met a couple neighbors, etc. We are very happy to have a house to call ours again.

The curveball of the week (so far) was finding a fairly substantial leak in the basement guest bedroom's ceiling on Monday (yes, just hours after we got home); Our master shower is right overhead. High five for owning a home! We did not expect issues this early. Yikes!

Less than 24 hours later a plumber arrived to do the dirty work and figure out what was up. After cutting out the soggy ceiling tile and running all kinds of tests, he determined that the leak is 100% not from any busted pipes. He figured out that the hand-held shower head in our master shower had been pointing at a tiled area within the shower that had a sliver of grout missing, and that that was enough to cause the leak! We were so relieved. His visit ran us $80, but besides fixing the ceiling tile and re-grouting that small tile area, our expenses should be nadda. Praise the good Lord above. We are definitely feeling like we dodged a bullet with that one!

The leak issue was just the fire we needed to sign up for a home warranty plan first thing this morning. We ended up going with American Home Shield after seeing how well they took care of a situation in my MIL's home a few months ago, and we could be happier with how far our dollar is going to cover us. I'm definitely breathing easier about owning this 27 year old home knowing that any big issues in the future will be covered.

As far as tomorrow goes, I have a to-do list with eight things on it that we're ready to tackle. Y'all know I can't function without my lists! Jamie goes back to work next week, so I'm definitely soaking up my time to tag-team various tasks with him. He's a rockstar, and I love that he's loving this house just as much as I am.

I'll leave you with a 10 month picture of our little love bug.

I can't believe we're in the two-month countdown to celebrating her birthday! She's been such a trooper throughout all of the moving chaos, and I'm so glad that her days of sleeping somewhere other than her crib are over for several months. We DeSpains aren't going anywhere for a while. Time to settle in!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Home Ownership Round Two Commences!

Hello! I usually never blog on Saturdays, but Jamie's sitting next to me watching football and I'm just in the mood to kick back and do a little typing. It feels so good to relax; We've had a busy week around here!

Like I mentioned in my last post, we did our walk-through for our new home on Monday, and then on Tuesday, we signed our lives away and became the very proud owners of a second home!

To say that we're in love with our new house would be a major understatement. We're already dreaming of all the memories that will take place in this house - Hadley's first steps, hopefully bringing home a second baby (God-willing but not right now), several Christmas mornings, backyard barbeques, maybe hosting a life group - the list goes on and on! We're truly so happy and feeling very humbled and blessed.

After we finished at closing, Jamie and I went out for a celebratory lunch, did some grocery shopping, and unpacked the things we brought in our cars from Arizona. My sister had her first babysitting gig, and I'm pretty sure Hadley loved her afternoon with her aunt!

On Wednesday, Jamie detailed our cars (which were all kinds of dirty from our trip!) while I started painting our master bath. Here's a few "before" pics. That shade of green had to go.

On Thursday, we were at the Fort Riley ER bright and early with Hadley. She'd been running an on-and-off 100-100.7 fever for five days, and by Thursday her stomach was going bananas. After about two hours in the waiting room, I smelled something a little funky and went to change Hadley. Five minutes later I walked back into the waiting room with a baby wearing nothing but a diaper.

While changing her I quickly discovered she'd had a massive blow out (she caught the worst stomach bug) and I forgot to pack a second outfit (mom fail). Jamie looked at me like I had three heads when I walked out with a naked baby! I definitely felt like "that" mom. *palm to forehead*

Four hours later we were back at my sister's so that Hadley could sleep for the afternoon. Jamie stayed with her while I went back to our house to finish the bathroom. I've only painted two rooms in my life (and did a terrible job both times), but I was determined to do better! I got a little out of the lines, but some white touch-up paint did the trick! ;) Now I think it looks great!

Yesterday was a much-needed "me" day! Jamie and Hadley had a daddy/daughter day while I got my hair and eyebrows done. It felt good to get a little pampered! I cooked a big dinner for Jenn and Josh last night as a thank you for letting us crash with them for the week, and the four of us enjoyed hours of sitting around talking and laughing. Being in the same town as them rocks big time!

Today we were all up early again. Jamie went on a long run while the rest of us went out to hunt the yard sales. I scored big with a gorgeous gold vintage mirror and new gold kitchen chargers, but mainly it was just fun to run around with them for a few hours.

The rest of the day was spent doing random stuff around the house. Jamie took down a few TV mounts the owners left us and I followed behind him to caulk the holes. He left around lunchtime to watch football with Josh, so I did the first coat of paint in the sunroom while Hadley napped.

Once Jamie got back we tore up the overgrown garden and pulled a bunch of weeds around the property. I'm not a huge raw vegetable eater, but my veggie-loving husband is looking forward to what we can do with this garden area in the springtime.


I'm thinking about doing a little visual tour on Monday just to have all of our "before" pictures documented, so stay tuned for that! Thanks for reading! Hope you've had a fun weekend. :)

Monday, September 1, 2014

PCS roadtrip: Hello Kansas!

Hello from Kansas! We're here.

Popping in for just a minute to give a quick road trip update, and then I'm shutting off my brain for the rest of the day in anticipation for closing and starting our next home ownership journey tomorrow. Speaking of the house, we finally got to see it for the first time this morning during our walk-through! We were equal parts speechless and gasping with excitement (yes, Jamie too) as we explored every inch of the place. Though I'd looked at a million pictures of the place a thousand times, there's no way that pictures could have prepared us for just how perfect this house is for us.

It's crazy to think that less than 72 hours ago we were still drowning in a house full of boxes in Arizona with a 1,300 mile trip ahead of us. We had quite the weekend!

On Friday morning, I woke up early to knock out one last morning run before the packers/movers got to the house.

Around 8 a.m., Jennifer, Hadley, and I drove 30 minutes over to Bisbee to eat at Bisbee Breakfast Club while Jamie stayed back to receive the movers. It was a delicious start to the day!

I was excited about getting back to the house to a big moving truck and a bunch of men clearing the house out, but that wasn't the case. The packers were back to finish up packing (since the company only sent one guy on Thursday), and they'd barely made a dent while we were at breakfast. It was a long day.

We figured the truck would be packed up and roll out by 6 p.m., and since we had a 4.5 hour drive that night to our first stop, Jamie encouraged us girls to go ahead and get on the road.

Around 4 p.m., we hit the road to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. That first leg was eventful - Hadley refused to nap, spiked a fever, and got herself so upset that she refused to eat her food or drink her bottle. I can't think of better timing than a big move for her 7th tooth to come in! :) Jennifer did a great job of doing her best to keep her distracted and having fun, but her random outbursts were tough to ignore. The three of us were very happy to snuggle into the comfy hotel bed that night. Jamie and Teddy ended up getting to the hotel around midnight.

On Saturday morning, we woke up early to check out a fun breakfast café that was highly rated on Trip Advisor, but the owners were on a vacation and it was closed. Party foul.

We were so bummed, but instead of finding somewhere else to get breakfast, we decided to make our way two hours north to Albuquerque and finding a yummy brunch restaurant. Hadley slept the entire way! Jennifer did a little research and found a place called The Range Café, and it hit the spot.

Hadley was really well behaved the rest of the way on Saturday. She took a total of three naps and was overall happy during her awake times. We met up with Jamie a couple times during our gas stops and snapped this picture right before Alabama kick-off. Roll Tide from who-knows-where, New Mexico!

We stopped for the night in Elk City, Oklahoma. We wanted to make it all the way to Oklahoma City, but we were more than ready to call it a night. We found a delicious casual steakhouse to grab some dinner (thanks again to Trip Advisor) but ended up scarfing it down and booking it back to the hotel so Hadley could have some down time. She was We all were toast.

On Sunday we slept in a little and then made the remaining six hour trip home to Manhattan, Kansas. Besides having a heck of a time finding an open certified weigh station to weigh our cars for our partial-DITY move, it was a pretty uneventful day. After putting Hadley to bed last night, we put on some comfy clothes, had a couple drinks to wind down, listened to a heck of a thunderstorm, and finally called it a night.

I've already said five times today, but I'm so thankful that trip is behind us. Moving around the country with a baby is not a blast, but I know we're making some good memories. Thank you to those who kept us in your prayers for safe travels! It feels good to have these big moves under our belt.

Hope you've enjoyed the holiday weekend!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Peace Out Fort Huachuca

It's no secret that leaving Fort Campbell back in March was one of the hardest things I've had to do, and one piece of advice I received numerous times was to consider myself lucky that saying goodbye was so hard - the pain of leaving it all behind meant that we really enjoyed doing life there.

Now that we're leaving Fort Huachuca, I'm finding even more truth in that small piece of advice. I'm excited that we're getting out of here today, but my anxiousness to leave this place behind makes me a little bit sad. Though we've fallen in love with this beautiful state, thoroughly enjoyed the simplicity of this small town, and have met some really great friends and neighbors (even Teddy made a best friend!), I've never let myself feel totally settled (my own fault). I've missed the feeling of being "home".

When I think back to our time here at our "summer home" (as I affectionately call it since we were only here for 5.5 months), I'll hopefully remember the sunset mountain view from our second-story bedroom as I folded laundry every night. It was so beautiful.

I'll hopefully remember how much family time Jamie's easy-going class schedule allowed us.

I'll remember my morning jogs with Hadley and the awe I felt nearly every single time I stepped foot out the door. I was as mesmerized on my last run as I was on my first.

Above: March 18th / Below: August 23rd

I'll remember that this was the house where our baby learned to get up on her elbows, let out her first belly laugh, sit up by herself, crawl around like crazy, climb the stairs, and nearly start walking.

Though Kansas was no where on our radar as far as our next post was concerned, we are bouncing off the walls with excitement to get there. The intense extrovert in me is so eager to plug into a new church, quickly find a playgroup for Hadley (with hopefully a gaggle of fun mamas for me!), and make our new house our home. My sister is only going to live roughly four miles from us, and I can't wait to soak up a few months together before they move. Finally, though no Army wife is crazy about "girlfriend dating", I am anxious to put myself out there in high hopes of finding those effortless friendships again.

To our friends here in Sierra Vista - Thank you for making this place so much more sweet.

Onward, DeSpain family! Here's to our mid-western adventure.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Captains Career Course Graduation Day

It's packing day! Squeal! Crossing our fingers that everything goes just as smoothly as the last two moves have gone.

While Jamie mans the packing process today, Hadley and I are be-bopping up to Tucson in a few hours to pick up my sister!

If you've talked to me at all in the last week you know how excited I am for her to get here so that we can embark on our big road trip. I also hear she's coming armed with books and ideas to keep Hadley preoccupied during the 1,300 mile drive. Instead of dreading this trip, I am really looking forward to it!

Backtracking a bit, yesterday was Jamie's Military Intelligence Captains Career Course graduation. His graduation wasn't until 2 p.m., so once he finished with his Army 10-mile team practice yesterday morning, he was home for breakfast and to hang with us for a few hours.

While he watched Hadley, I took advantage of some quiet time and went on a four mile run.

Every ounce of me wanted to just veg on the couch, but I knew I'd feel so much more mentally equipped to tackle the day if I got in a workout. I put on my favorite worship music playlist and enjoyed some alone time. Nothing distracts me more from the discomfort of running than a great set of praise music. You should try it sometime.

Once Hadley went down for her nap around 10 a.m., Jamie and I got to work knocking out things around the house. He left for the graduation line-up around 12:30 and we met him up there about an hour later. Thankfully the ceremony only lasted 30 minutes. It was funny to look around at all the moms to see their bags of "magic tricks" that they'd brought along to keep their kids occupied. I only had to leave with my little diva once (after she spotted my cell phone that I whipped out to take a picture of Jamie - mistake). Daddy's graduation is not the time to talk to Siri, Hadley Lynn.

I know I'm biased, but my husband looks so dang good in a uniform. So good.

After taking some pictures, we headed home to relax for a couple hours before his squad's farewell dinner at a Hibachi restaurant. Hadley missed her afternoon nap, so we knew the chances of her being a wild woman were high. We enjoyed a couple drinks, a yummy dinner, and a great time kicking back with friends. We were the first to leave because Little Miss was starting to lose her mind, so once again we made our rounds and said our goodbyes. Jamie made so many awesome friends throughout this course, so it was bittersweet to see him give big "man hug" after man hug to his great buddies. The toughest goodbye for me was with my sweetest friend Nicole and her daughter Jocelyn, but I'm confident that our paths will cross again.

My love/hate relationship with this Army lifestyle is pretty unpredictable, but tonight I definitely had an "I love this life" moment. I was sitting around a big table with 20 people who get me, who get this madness. They get the chaos of moving. They get the emotional "I'm so ready to leave, but I'm so not ready to leave" mentality. They're away from their families and best friends like we are. None of us knew each other a few months ago, but it was so fun to sit around and reflect on our time here in Arizona before we all venture to our next posts around the world (literally - the couple to my left is heading to Germany and the guy to our right is heading to Korea). It was a really great night.

Well, I better get off this computer and get moving! There's plenty to do around here before we jet tomorrow afternoon. Hope you have a good one!