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Watch as our 1923 rowhouse goes from crappy to less crappy.
Jack is 15 months old. Don’t know what I’d do without that sweet face.

Jack is 15 months old. Don’t know what I’d do without that sweet face.

We expanded our garden this year from two raised beds to three. We threw away the beds we built using pieces of cedar from the crazy closets we dismantled because they were rotting. I decided to go with these raised beds made from recycled plastic and wood. I wanted something that would last longer. They were insanely easy to put together, and they look nice enough. We’ve always had the most success growing greens and herbs. We’ve already harvested the kale once, and it’s already growing back like crazy. We got the kale, basil, pepper plants, and tomato plant from the farmers market, which I would highly recommend. We got the plants from stands that sell food we really like—if they have good food, they must have good plants. We also got some fancy salad greens at the Flower Mart at the National Cathedral—also highly recommended.

Our Bedroom


For a very long time, the bedside tables in our bedroom were just two old chairs that I painted blue way back when we lived in Oregon. Finally, we bought (or my mother-in-law bought for us) two Ikea Malm dressers. They provide much-needed storage (no more piles of random magazines and books all around the bed) and they give the old-fashioned iron bed a sleek, modern contrast. I moved the two vintage industrial lamps I bought at Good Wood from the guest room to our bedroom, which has made reading in bed much easier. And of course, I’m still really loving the pairing of the Anthropologie curtains and the Anthro quilt (both discontinued now).

I have a piece of art to hang over the bed, but I haven’t done it yet. I also need to get a rug for the room and dust ruffle for the bed that’s actually long enough.

Jack’s Room


I’m thinking of moving Jack to a bigger room soon, but I quite like this room just the way it is.

Jack is 14 months old today. He’s wearing his new Super Grover shirt for the occasion. As usual, he could not be still for the photo. But on the plus side, you can see all of his four (soon to be five) teeth.

Jack is 14 months old today. He’s wearing his new Super Grover shirt for the occasion. As usual, he could not be still for the photo. But on the plus side, you can see all of his four (soon to be five) teeth.

We have a new dryer!
The old dryer that came with our house lasted three years before it started making this horrible knocking sound. Now it’s gone, replaced by a fancy LG Steam Dryer. And Jack is super excited about it.

We have a new dryer!

The old dryer that came with our house lasted three years before it started making this horrible knocking sound. Now it’s gone, replaced by a fancy LG Steam Dryer. And Jack is super excited about it.

Never Forget


I came across these photos of the kitchen that I took when we got our new stove. I had almost forgotten just how awful the kitchen was. We have changed this house a lot for the better. I need to remember that.

I completely forgot to post a 13-month photo, so here it is, very belated. Jack turned 13 months old on March 8. Then, last week, he finally moved from walking while holding someone’s hand to just walking—everywhere. As with everything he does, he waited until he knew he could walk like a pro before he tried to do it on his own. He’s a little perfectionist, just like his Mama. For better or worse.

I completely forgot to post a 13-month photo, so here it is, very belated. Jack turned 13 months old on March 8. Then, last week, he finally moved from walking while holding someone’s hand to just walking—everywhere. As with everything he does, he waited until he knew he could walk like a pro before he tried to do it on his own. He’s a little perfectionist, just like his Mama. For better or worse.

Entryway Improvements

I finally found a mirror for the entryway at GoodWood. I also bought a set of these shoe cabinets at Ikea. They were an amazingly good buy—so cheap at $40 for a set of three, and not having shoes all over the floor all the time has greatly improved my quality of life.

It Begins
Tomorrow is my first day home with Jack, just the two of us. We have our first play date tomorrow, too.
I was looking back at my to-do list, and I really sort of failed on every item. 
1. The backyard: This is a two-parter. First, I need some trellises to put up and some vines to grow on them. Then, I need to plan our garden for this year and start planting. I found Smart Gardener on Pinterest, and I’m so excited to use it.
The garden has made a small amount of progress. I have asparagus plants, courtesy of my mother, that are yet to be planted. I have soil.
2. Finishing projects: There are so many home improvement things around the house that need to be finished or started. Here’s just a few of the highlights:
- Finish wallpapering the bathroom (yeah, that’s really still not finished)
- Paint the baseboards and repaint the shelves in the kitchen
- Paint the formerly green room upstairs
The bathroom wallpaper remains unfinished. Painting the green room was stalled when I discovered more wall damage. (Seriously, will this ever end?) Painting in the kitchen hasn’t started. 
3. Organize the kitchen cabinets and pantry (more about the details of this later)
I started on the pantry reorganizing project by changing the switch in the pantry to an outlet and switch (so we can put the microwave in there). Actually, I started the project and realized we needed some extra wire, so Keith finished it. But I still feel like I contributed.
4. Lesson plans and projects: I need to gather supplies and make things for Jack and I to use for his lessons. I am a former teacher, after all, so we’re going to have our own little school in our house. I’m excited to make some educational stuff for Jack, including the DIY quiet books pictured above.
I’ve planned some stuff for Jack and me to do, but not enough. I have to give myself points for pretty much single-handedly organizing a playgroup for my neighborhood. I am not the type of person who organizes people, so this is a shocking development. I seriously failed at completing my list, but I did do some worthwhile things.

It Begins

Tomorrow is my first day home with Jack, just the two of us. We have our first play date tomorrow, too.

I was looking back at my to-do list, and I really sort of failed on every item. 

1. The backyard: This is a two-parter. First, I need some trellises to put up and some vines to grow on them. Then, I need to plan our garden for this year and start planting. I found Smart Gardener on Pinterest, and I’m so excited to use it.

The garden has made a small amount of progress. I have asparagus plants, courtesy of my mother, that are yet to be planted. I have soil.

2. Finishing projects: There are so many home improvement things around the house that need to be finished or started. Here’s just a few of the highlights:

- Finish wallpapering the bathroom (yeah, that’s really still not finished)

- Paint the baseboards and repaint the shelves in the kitchen

- Paint the formerly green room upstairs

The bathroom wallpaper remains unfinished. Painting the green room was stalled when I discovered more wall damage. (Seriously, will this ever end?) Painting in the kitchen hasn’t started. 

3. Organize the kitchen cabinets and pantry (more about the details of this later)

I started on the pantry reorganizing project by changing the switch in the pantry to an outlet and switch (so we can put the microwave in there). Actually, I started the project and realized we needed some extra wire, so Keith finished it. But I still feel like I contributed.

4. Lesson plans and projects: I need to gather supplies and make things for Jack and I to use for his lessons. I am a former teacher, after all, so we’re going to have our own little school in our house. I’m excited to make some educational stuff for Jack, including the DIY quiet books pictured above.

I’ve planned some stuff for Jack and me to do, but not enough. I have to give myself points for pretty much single-handedly organizing a playgroup for my neighborhood. I am not the type of person who organizes people, so this is a shocking development. I seriously failed at completing my list, but I did do some worthwhile things.

In Eggs v. Dirt, Dirt Wins

We had Easter a day early at the Chu house so the G-parents could witness the egg hunting. However, Jack was much more interested in playing in the dirt than hunting for eggs. Oh well, maybe next year.

P.S. Our Easter eggs are by no means fancy, but I did use this little idea about putting rubberbands on the eggs. It was very easy and turned out pretty cool.

Crafty

I found this sweatshirt on Pinterest, and I really wanted to get it for Jack. But there were a couple of problems: 1. It is sold by a British company, so I’d have to pay international shipping. 2. It costs 43 pounds, which is about $65. I wouldn’t pay $65 for an adult-sized sweatshirt, let alone a baby-sized one.

So, my solution was to make it myself. I already had everything I needed. I used the last of the three white shirts I ordered from Amazon (the other two were used for Jack’s birthday shirts), and I used the felt I ordered to make Jack’s beard for his Evil Spock Halloween costume (it came in a big pack with a bunch of different colors). I cut out the cloud and lightning freehand.

As you can see in the photo, they’re not sewed on yet. I attempted sewing them on with the sewing machine today, but that was a disaster. I can really only sew in a straight line. So I’m going to have to pull the thread out and sew them on by hand. We’ll see how pretty that is…

The $2,000 Challenge
I know the house will never be finished. It will always be a work in progress. But there are certain things I can do to make it feel more complete. So I made a proposal to Keith: Let’s set aside $2,000 for me to “finish” the house. The $2,000 includes everything except replacing the front and back doors—because those are projects I can’t do. I’m going to frame and hang art in every room, create a hanging lantern chain like the one pictured above to add light to our dark living room (I actually already have it mostly done), get chairs and a side table for the living room, buy bedside tables for the bedroom, finish all the little painting projects around the house, and do lots of landscaping and gardening stuff.
I also have some fun DIY projects planned that have nothing to do with finishing the house. I will share one of those tomorrow (and I’m absurdly excited about it).
One last thing. I have to keep my budget under $2,000, so I’ve got to keep up with what I’m spending. So far, this is what I’ve spent:
3 paper lanterns from Ikea: $15.00
2 extension cords from Ikea: $6.00
2 picture frames from Ikea: $20.00
Total: $41.00
Not bad.

The $2,000 Challenge


I know the house will never be finished. It will always be a work in progress. But there are certain things I can do to make it feel more complete. So I made a proposal to Keith: Let’s set aside $2,000 for me to “finish” the house. The $2,000 includes everything except replacing the front and back doors—because those are projects I can’t do. I’m going to frame and hang art in every room, create a hanging lantern chain like the one pictured above to add light to our dark living room (I actually already have it mostly done), get chairs and a side table for the living room, buy bedside tables for the bedroom, finish all the little painting projects around the house, and do lots of landscaping and gardening stuff.

I also have some fun DIY projects planned that have nothing to do with finishing the house. I will share one of those tomorrow (and I’m absurdly excited about it).

One last thing. I have to keep my budget under $2,000, so I’ve got to keep up with what I’m spending. So far, this is what I’ve spent:

3 paper lanterns from Ikea: $15.00

2 extension cords from Ikea: $6.00

2 picture frames from Ikea: $20.00

Total: $41.00

Not bad.

Some much delayed monthly photos. Twelve months old, and he absolutely will not sit still. All he wants to do is practice walking.

Jack’s 1st Birthday


Jack’s birthday was a big success. He had so much fun. And so did we. I ended up making Jack two birthday shirts: one to wear to childcare on his birthday and one to wear to the party the next day. I also made two banners using blown-up Jack faces. (I don’t ever want to take them down.) His birthday cake turned out really well. My practice cake was too dense, but this one was close to perfect. I discovered that my baking powder was expired (by a lot) and the oven temperature was off (also by a lot). Once I fixed those things, the cake turned out much better.

I planned the menu for our lunchtime party to be as simple and stress-free as possible. We had sliced meats and cheeses and baguettes, along with a kale salad and chili-roasted chickpeas (which are delicious and so easy to make). Recipes for the salad and the chickpeas can be found on my "Jack’s Birthday" Pinterest board, along with directions for making the cake, the banner, and the shirt (and some other great ideas I didn’t end up using). I don’t want to sound like a Pinterest commercial or anything, but Pinterest was really made for party planning. I felt so organized and under control because everything I needed was in one place. Really, I’m just a sucker for organization.