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Living In The Construction Zone

2017 October 9
by Becky

I’ve eluded to a few house projects we’ve had going on lately, but the level of the construction surrounding our every day life is kind of ridiculous…things here have been loud and messy. We decided to forgo the waiting period, jumping right into the work we wanted done. We won’t be saying “Oh we wish we would have done this sooner!!!”, not this time. No way.

So first up was some pre-planned brick work done as soon as possible.



We hosted a master brick crew for about a week of drilling, scraping, anchoring, and giant-ceiling-hole-cutting. The hole was just a bit bigger than we anticipated…


Shockingly, this giant hole wasn’t what bothered us the most. The brick work was enjoyable compared to the month-long gas line project we never knew would happen. Right in front of our house.


We knew there was trouble when we noticed the “pretty colors” painted all over the street. Good thing Finn is a flexible sleeper, because every day involves a different napping situation to avoid noise and vibrations coming from the drilling and digging going on 10 feet from our front door. Sometimes there are three dump trucks and two backhoes right outside the front windows. There have been times our whole house felt like it was moving! The already limited parking is shut down every day till 3:30, which scared us to death, but turned out to be not all that bad. I just cannot wait till its over!!

I’ve distracted myself from the construction (and daily news reports) by removing wallpaper and painting the kids room. They’ve chosen a space theme, it’s going to be great. I’ve got some artwork to hang and a few finishing touches before sharing more, but here’s a peek…


And this weekend we had the windows cleaned, something I was waiting to do until after the brick dust had settled and didn’t think would be a big deal, but it ended up taking two whole days. Our windows were SO dirty, the extremely patient and thorough gentleman with many years of window cleaning experience said he’d never seen such filth. Now that they are done, we have 10 times more sunshine lighting up our house…best money we’ve spent so far. I walk around singing, “I can see clearly now…” all day.

PSA: Have your windows cleaned!!!!!


Final project of the month, the back fence. It was extremely flimsy when we moved in and managed to start falling down a couple weeks ago. The old brick wall running across the back of our yard made it tough for a normal human-size person to fit through the back gate, especially when carrying a bin of recycling, so we asked our brick guys to use their giant scary saw to cut it back a bit. More noise, more destruction, more mess. But progress. The new fence goes up this week and will be a drastic improvement.


It’s weird having all these non-diy-able things done around the house, maybe that’s why it was easy for me to get going on the kids’ penthouse suite so soon. I needed to get my hands on something!! Next on my list of things to do myself: the living room walls. They need some paint to make the pretty pretty molding pop.

Next huge mess? The third floor bathroom. It gets gutted next week and we can’t wait to see every inch of it go bye-bye. Yet another project that was hard to let go, but we decided it made sense to hire the whole thing out. Honestly, getting all the demo down the three flights of steps alone is almost worth the extra cost. I’m committing to shooting lots of gross befores (let I forget as usual) in all the leaky-moldy-nasty-grouty glory so the afters are even more fun.

Stu keeps saying things like, “Well at least the worst part is over!” but I know better. These bathroom remodels are going to be yucky. Wish us luck.

Finn: Almost Three

2017 September 21
by Becky


In true second kid style, I completely forgot to talk about Finn’s first day of preschool!! Well first day at his new preschool anyway. In St. Louis he went twice a week all day, lunching and napping there so I could grab him after work at around 4pm. Here in Northern Virginia, the preschools for littles are more of a half day situation, therefore Finn had no issues transitioning. He’s loving the small class and nice teachers at the new place, taking great pride in choosing the snack we pack each day. If anyone has trouble with the back-to-school schedule, it’s me, trying to figure out a normal routine with every day being a little different.

Don’t get me wrong, I love having lots of Finn time. His recent developments have me realizing just how short these toddler years are. He tries so hard every day to keep up with big brother, doing all the things I’d never have let Ethan do at this age. Just the other day I was talking to friends about how much we expect of the second kid, it’s a little unfair.

That is, until they prove they CAN do just about everything you think they are capable of, which brings me to our biggest news of the month. Finn is POTTY TRAINED!!!


Just three weeks ago, we were changing full diapers and assuming he would be well over three when he decided to do this. He was SO defiant and even seemed to take pleasure in using his diapers, holding power over us in any little way. But Stu left for a work trip (to Paris…must be rough) and not a day later Finn started saying “YES!” every time I asked him to go potty, getting ready excited when I mentioned a sticker chart. In one day he filled a whole row of his chart and got a prize, setting him with a determination I’ve never before witnessed in him. He was on a roll.

Oh, and here’s another prime first vs second kid example:


Yes those are eye ball stickers, frantically dug out of a coloring book drawer after promising “star stickers”, which I had no luck finding at the grocery store, the only place we went that could possibly have stickers on the day he decided this was going to be a thing. Finn did not care one bit! He was pumped about his chart and was filling it up so fast I ended up adding a couple more lines to the bottom that first night.

It took about three days.

I’m STILL in shock. I even sent him to his second day of preschool in underwear because I was SO confident he would be ok! (And because he was heading to the potty every 4.5 minutes, leaving little time to have an accident.) Life feels lighter without diapers. But I almost cry every time I see the boys both running around the house in underwear (their FAVORITE thing to do), in shock that our baby days are over.


When he doesn’t have school, we explore. It’s weird not having Ethan with us, I’m still not used to him being in school every day and I’m constantly having deja vu from my days with Ethan at this age. Especially after I trimmed Finn’s mullet-like baby curls and he looks SO much like his brother. What started out as a bang trim ended up being a full cut because I just couldn’t stop, it looked so cute!!

And then I cried about the piles of curls on the floor and freaked out wondering what Stu was going to say when he got home. ( He loved it! Whew.)

We’re doing lots of the same things E and I used to do when we lived here 4.5 years ago. Walking around the National Mall and feeding the nicest ducks in the world (that hopefully don’t have rabies), checking out museums, the zoo, and new-to-us places like Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens (which will be a post in itself soon), steadily checking off our mile-long list of “Things To Do Immediately in DC”.

So while we still see plenty of toddler behavior—like when he refuses to eat a piece of breakfast sausage because it broke in half as we took it out of the package—this dude is growing up too fast.

Anyone need a hundred diapers? I was overbuying in an attempt to reverse-psychology fate into getting him potty trained. Worked!