Wallpaper Wonderings.. and Furniture!!

Last week’s project (that has ventured in to this week. So thrilled. Where is the sarcasm font?!) was getting the wallpaper out of the main floor bathroom. Yes, the bathroom we want to completely rearrange. This one. We still haven’t won the lotto, so we’re making it work for now. In all reality it functions just fine, but that wallpaper is just TOO much. So off it goes.

I asked our sweet neighbor, Emily, what she had recommended because it sounds like she’s taken down her share of wallpaper.. she had some good pointers, and suggested some booze to help. Great. Armed with a steamer, Downy, good tunes, and a wallpaper scorer I got to work.

Turns out Emily was right. What a disaster! Some spots came right off, others are stuck. I’ve heard more than once that putting it up is worse. Safe to say that I will probably never hang wallpaper then. Whoa. So now I’m mostly writing this as a reason to not get re-started. On such gorgeous days it’s tough to convince myself to spend it in a window-less room, but I promised myself this would be done before I started work. So scrape I must!

In better news, we’ve made our very first midcentury modern furniture purchase! Oh, the power of social media! I was scrolling through the old book of faces and saw a friend post that he’d found a dresser set that didn’t fit as well as he’d hoped in his house. Because of my social media prowess we got in touch pretty quickly and went to check them out last night! They measured to fit perfectly in our bedroom, and they’re in great shape, so they’re now ours! They’re just the right, kind of quirky style.. down to the original Formica laminate top on the smaller of the two. Does it match the rest? Not really.. Do we care? Not really… We’ve walked straight in to another topic of study, though. In addition to not knowing a thing about gardening we also know nothing about furniture. Everything we own we’ve walked in to Ikea or Art Van, said “that would look good” and bought it.. and the figured out how to maneuver it in the house. Midcentury modern style furniture is a totally different beast BUT the skimming we did last night was definitely interesting, so we’ll keep on learning as we go!

Don’t mind those gorgeous curtains.. focus on the dressers! 😉

Have a great week, friends!


Sunday “Fun”day

Ohhh my lands! I know I touched on the garden situation in my last post but perhaps glazed over the details.. good news is I think hope we’ve outgrown (or outsmarted) our black thumbs! We’ve successfully rehab’ed two rose bushes (they’re were creepy and ugly, and now have flowers!) and have managed to concoct a plan for the backyard!

Phil’s grandparents loved gardening, and definitely had the yard to prove it. As it turns out retired people are a little better suited than we are to manage a yard full of garden! The landscaping at this house is beautiful, and we’re so thankful BUT it’s also a lot of work.

Last year tidying the yard up was all we could manage. Phil’s mom helped tremendously by weeding a mulching a bunch of flower beds, and we barely stayed ahead of the weeds! This year we got a better start on spring weeds, did a lot of trimming and pruning, and we’ve been doing a little re-arranging. There is one flower bed smack in the middle of the backyard, but we just can’t keep up with it. So we’ve started transplanting those flowers in to other beds to get ready to bid that flower bed farewell.


This weekend we put the finishing touches on one of the back beds. A few weeks ago we snagged a few hosta from our friends (Thanks, Justin and Ariadne!) and started filling in a few blank spots. That back bed is pretty shaded, but as Phil said, “hosta are like honey badgers: hosta don’t care!”. Over the weekend the final touch was a FULL yard of mulch, but now it’s so much prettier!


This is, seemingly, the summer of bridal showers and yard work! Now that school and boards are done I’m not one bit mad to be staying busy like this 🙂

One Year Down..

Wow. It has been a full year since we woke up in this renovation reality we call home. In the past year we’ve definitely had some adventures: a half marathon, Jessica’s trip to Thailand, a family trip to Italy, Phil’s MBA trip to Europe, TONS of spring graduations (including Jessica’s! Yay!), and our first big bash at the house to celebrate those graduations! It has been a blast, but none of that list include the big list of renovations we had thoughts of a year ago.

Turns out having two grad students as general contractors AND laborers on the projects hasn’t worked out so fabulously.. So right now we tend to focus on keeping our heads above water- literally and figuratively.

A few weeks ago we walked in the door during a thunderstorm and noticed water running down the brick next to our fireplace. Not ideal. Enter drip buckets and frantically moving the brand spankin’ new diploma frame and pretty wedding canvas print somewhere dry! Water was getting in through some of the brickwork in the chimney AND through the roof around it. So as I’m writing we had Jim Nader on the roof repairing our chimney with some roof work to follow.. Jim has been absolutely fantastic to work with- we would highly, highly recommend him! This definitely isn’t the way we were hoping to spend a few pretty pennies on the house, but we’re glad to not skip a heart beat every time is starts raining.

The roof and chimney pros!

The roof and chimney pros!

Our other big tasks have been in this yard. Holy gardens! Phil’s grandparents loved to garden.. and we maybe, just maybe don’t know what we’re doing. We have successfully kept everything alive, which is a pretty good start! We, seriously, do a little studying every day! When do you move peonies? (Never. They don’t like moving, apparently.) How do I make this rose look less scary? (Prune it, dummy!) ..and the all time favorite: What the heck is this?? (I really think we could make big money on an iPhone app that identifies plants and flowers by a photo!) This spring and summer have been dedicated to trimming, pruning, and transplanting. As much as we do love this yard and landscaping it looks like we’ll be cutting the gardens down by one this fall- we just can’t keep up! So in the mean time we’re finding new spots for the flowers in that garden, and taming the jungle.. errr… weeds!

Peonies make all this work worth it!

Peonies make all this work worth it!

Yard work, yard work, yard work

Yard work, yard work, yard work- and Vinnie!

That’s really all for now.. stay tuned for some wall paper stripping next week! When the advice is “grab some booze” this should definitely be fun!

The Higher the Technology the Greater the Need for Human Touch

Hello from Thailand!!

This has absolutely zero to do with our house.. and everything to do with what’s going on away from there.. I (Jessica!) am writing to you from the city of Korat in Thailand (yup. Thailand! what?!).

Ok. I guess not ZERO to do with the house, because we do have an update: we officially own the house!! As of Monday that casa belongs to us! WOO! Next step: everything else 🙂

As part of my grad studies we were offered the opportunity for a global clinical immersion. So in place of clinic time in the US we are working with a university here and their nursing students. We’ll be working in both clinics and the community with our faculty, the students from the university here, and each other. I am so, so excited to be here with some awesome classmates and friends.

Today was our first day meeting with the undergrad nursing students. They had class on a Sunday, for real. We reviewed basic assessments (along with some English-Thai language skills!) and I was absolutely astounded at their knowledge base. They were incredibly kind and so bright. It will truly be a joy working with them and learning from them over the next two weeks.

Playing teacher!

Playing teacher!

The university we are working with is a technology university with a nursing program mixed it- strange combo indeed. Just ask the nurse married to an engineer 😉 The nursing program has the moto “the higher the technology the greater the need for human touch” and I could write for DAYS about how this is the most true thing I have ever read. It should be an adventure watching this play out here, and then in our practice when we get home.

That’s all for now- stay tuned for more Thailand adventures! xo

It’s the Little Things

Hi friends! Long time no see.. sorry! I think since we last wrote we officially closed on our old house- talk about a relief! We were both convinced up until it was done that we could not possibly be so lucky as to sell our house so quickly. Turns out it was NOT too good to be true, and we are down to just maintaining ONE house 🙂


We have been in the house for almost 2 months already, and it is absolutely flying by!! We had big, BIG plans for a huge bathroom renovation before we even moved in, and (obviously) that’s changed a little bit.. but that’s ok, in fact it’s great!

Turns out some of the things that are making this house feel like home are little details. We’ve been doing a decent amount of yard work, installed an electric fence for Vinnie, changed up the bathroom decor downstairs, and started playing with some dimmable LEDs in the dining room. Between those little changes and a kitchen that functions like a dream we are definitely starting to feel more and more at home here! 

Phil- the best chemical engineer electrician you've ever met!

Phil- the best chemical engineer electrician you’ve ever met!

Next steps: a fresh coat of paint on everything that’s painted already, that pesky upstairs bathroom, and training Vinnie to actually play in his yard with his electric fence!

That’s really all for now- stay tuned!

One Week Down (courtesy of Vinnie!)

Hi everyone! Vinnie here 🙂 can you even believe we’ve been living in our new house for a whole week? Even in terms of dog weeks it has flown by, really fast!

This weekend there were a whole bunch of fireworks.. which (lucky for my parents) doesn’t bother me like a lot of other dogs. The vacuum cleaner I must fight with, but fireworks are no big deal! So my people spent the day Friday relaxing (Dad on the golf course, Mom at the pool- all without me!), but then on Saturday it was all business. They busted some serious tail and got the entire garage organized. I spent the afternoon sleeping under Dad’s truck.. you know- 4th of July weekend, pit bull, Chevy truck- it worked well. Then today I took more naps while my parents worked on the yard and stuff. I could dig a sweet hole, but I know I’m not supposed to do that.. so until they need help with a hole, I’m taking naps in the shade!

There are some things I love about this new house, but some things that send me right in to a fit.

Things I love:

  • so many windows to put nose prints on. Err… I mean.. watch what’s happening outside!
  • carpet everywhere, which means comfy spots for naps everywhere
  • did I mention all the windows??!

Things I do not love:

  • I lose my people in this house some times. At our old house we were all on the same floor, all the time. Now everyone is all over the place, and I can’t find anyone. So I spend a fair amount of time crying and looking for my mom. Don’t judge me.
  • My old yard had a fence and this one doesn’t. So I’m tied up outside.. how is a guy supposed to ever catch squirrels tied to a tree??! I have never, ever caught one but I just know the next one that runs by is mine (assuming it doesn’t get to the end of my leash)! Don’t tell my mom but.. the no fence thing has turned in to lots more running and walking in the neighborhood. So I’m secretly not that mad.

Nothing has changed here too much.. yet. I keep hearing that something is going to change, but I’ve had enough change for a little bit! There is still a maze of boxes all over this house. And I don’t go backwards really well- so mazes can be hard! Every day there are a few less boxes, but I don’t care. As long as my food and leash are here I’m pretty cool.

My dad is studying really hard today (boring!), and Mom says it’s really impressive that he’s staying caught up so well. I don’t know much about school… as in nothing. I know nothing about school.

I have to go set the new world record for fastest bowl of dog food ever eaten, (Seriously, you should see me take it down. It’s awe-inspiring!) then I’m pretty sure it’s bed time. Thanks for reading my first blog post!! My typing is pretty impressive for a dog, don’t you think?! Have a great week- I hope you can come to play with me soon!!

Sloppy kisses and snuggles,


So.. we moved!

Once upon a time a young (ish?) married couple had big plans to buy a super cool, “new” house. So they sold their old one, packed up all their stuff and moved. The End. Right??


So wrong! I, Jessica, have a pretty serious confession to make now. I’ve never really moved as an adult. I went to SVSU, so I only moved enough to make dorm life work.. and made frequent trips back to Midland. Then I did the gradual move-in to our “old” house. So this is the first time that I’ve packed up absolutely everything I/we own. And we own a lot. Wow. So, cheers, to you “once a year, when the lease is up” movers!

We’d de-cluttered before we listed the house, so there was a fair amount of stuff already in boxes waiting for us at the new house. As in, I thought the bulk of the work was done. Wrong again. Long story short: we have a lot of stuff. And we (mostly I!) put it all in boxes and moved it a full 2.5 miles across town. For the record: anyone who said “well at least you’re only going across town” was also wrong. With the work that goes in to packing and unpacking I’d definitely recommend taking all that stuff at least five full miles from where it started. A huge thank you to our friend, Jason, who spent his Friday evening hauling our heavy stuff in and out with Phil!

..and to Milton and Caroline who stopped by with offers to help and champagne to toast to the new house!

Phil borrowed a giant snowmobile trailer from a buddy (thanks, Mark!) and we started loading up on Friday afternoon. Truly, all whining aside, things moved along so much faster than either of us thought they would. So next thing we knew our bed and mattress were in the back of the trailer. So! I promptly made sure we had toothbrushes and a way to make coffee in the morning, and we slept at the new house on Friday night!

Now we live in the new house. Let that sink in (it still is for us..)!


..keep on letting that thought marinade..

We’ve been talking about it for ages, and now we’re here! Though lots of work (and there is, no doubt, more to come!) we are thrilled to be making this, awesome, house our home! There is lots of room for company, so come visit 🙂 off to do some more organizing. Good night, friends!