Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Curb Appeal

If you've ever tuned into HGTV, you know how important curb appeal is. I will admit, I totally judge houses by their "cover". If it's an ugly front, I sometimes don't even bother to click through the rest of the pictures to see the inside. So we really wanted the front of our house to scream "YOU KNOW YOU LOVE ME! YOU WANT TO BUY ME!"

I already posted a few before/after shots of the front of the house, from when we bought it to recently, mostly showing off the new landscaping, painted shutters, etc... In the past week, Brian also scraped some chipped paint & touched that up, trimmed the tree, repainted the stoop and the garage door AND we took the screen off the door. I think removing the screen was the most dramatic improvement, we wish we had done it years ago!

And just for fun, here are some pictures of the beautiful hydrangea bush growing in our backyard!!

Lamb Roast 2010

It was time once again for the Martini Family's Annual Lamb Roast! Sadly, I didn't get any pictures of my actual friends because I was too busy taking pictures of Jake and HIS friends. I see how things are starting to go around here.....

Let's just say that if the party was a preview of what we're in for at the beach....we're all going to need to take a vacation AFTER our vacation to recover. These 2 have a great time with each other, but it's very hard to keep up with them! They had a blast riding this thing down the hill over and over and over again:

Then it was pool time!

And of course, after working up an appetite from all of that activity, it was COOKIE TIME!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

No, I'm JAKE!

Jake had a shirt on today that said "CRABBY" with a picture of a crab (of course). I asked him what was on his shirt & he said a crab. Then I asked him if he was crabby, too, and he looked at me like I had lost my mind & replied "No, I'm JAKE!".

Sunday, June 27, 2010

And so it begins...

I'll post more details later in the week, but we've officially started our house hunting process!! If you've gone through the house buying process, then you know how bizarre some homes are when you're looking at them. Sure, you always have the horrid wallpaper, the Pittsburgh toilet or the bathroom that hasn't graduated from 1952. But today, we saw 3 homes and of the 3, we had strange experiences at 2 of them.

House #1: cute house, well maintained, guns hanging around. WHAT? Yes, you read that right. Guns...wide out, in the open, leaning against the wall in a bedroom, the gameroom and the garage. Really? Would it kill you to stash them somewhere?

House #2: the owner of the house was there. Not a big deal, had he just made himself scarce, but instead, he followed us around. Room by room. Giving us a rundown on every.single.thing that he had done since moving in THIRTY FIVE years ago. It was quite awkward. Especially since we didn't care for the house. Oh well...at least there were no weapons, right??

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lights, Camera, Action!

A few simple (and cheap!) improvements we've made recently were the light fixtures. I forgot to take pictures of the "befores" but trust that these lights are an improvement. They're probably not what we would have installed if we were staying in the house, but they are definitely a more modern look than what was there before and a cheap upgrade to make.

Brian installed this light in both the entryway and our hallway (these lights are a bargain on sale at Home Depot, 2 for $14!)

And this light is right outside of our pantry in the kitchen ($9 at Home Depot):

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all of the dads/dads-to-be and hopeful dads out there! While our Father's Day was maybe not a traditional celebration, we enjoyed it nonetheless.

We had mulch delivered on Saturday & unfortunately before we had a chance to finish spreading it, we got caught in the middle of a downpour. Brian was adamant about getting it done over the weekend, so by default ended up doing it Sunday morning, instead of relaxing since it was Father's Day. Oh well...it's done and it looks great!

Nana & PopPop were visiting for the weekend, and we were joined late morning by GG & Pappy. The men headed out to see the Pirates game in the afternoon (and they actually won the game, shocker) while the women hung out at home with Jake. We all enjoyed a nice dinner together when the men returned from the game and I think it's safe to say that everyone enjoyed their Father's Day.

I think it's easy sometimes to focus on the annoyances (putting his socks beside in the hamper instead of IN it, for example...why is this so difficult??) but Father's Day is always a good reminder that I should be grateful for what I have, and that's a wonderful husband and the best daddy to our son. I know he's been extremely stressed out lately between trying to get our house ready to sell and studying for an upcoming licensing test for work that's really important, and I don't always help matters by getting snippy over little things and turning up my level of sarcasm when I'm frustrated. We are both so alike in that we get frustrated easily, snap at each other, then just need a few moments to cool off...but after that has passed, we always know that we still have what matters the most to us, and that's each other and our families. (aww, that was kind of a Hallmark moment.)

Here's a little photo tribute to all of the dads in my life...thank you for everything you do for us!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Don't quit your day job.

It's a good thing I've never tried to make a living out of painting. We wanted to repaint the baseboards and around the doorways of the kitchen. The paint needed to be touched up anyway, so we decided to just paint over the existing paint with white (we had previously selected a "latte" color that was not exactly what we had hoped for once it was actually on the baseboards, but wasn't so bad that we absolutely had to change it...so it stayed)

Here is the before with the beige:

And the after, in white (a much cleaner look):

I was really proud of myself, walking around the house all "Oooh, I'm such a good painter! Look at my masterpiece! In your face, HGTV!". My gloating came to a screeching halt when Brian pointed out to me what I had done above the doorway. I was too short to see it before. oops. It's all about the effort, yes?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Designed to Sell: Pittsburgh Edition

First, I guess this is me coming out of the closet and announcing to the blogger world that we are, in fact, getting ready to sell our home. (This is where I go and cower in a corner and quiver with nervousness at the thought of buying and selling at the same time)

Now that I'm officially out, I can tell you that we have been doing some little improvements here & there to our home, in an attempt to make it drool-worthy to potential buyers. This will start a series of posts with the improvements that we're making along the way and our progress on the home buying process.

I'll start with some pics of the house before we bought it and some of the changes we made when we moved in. Let's start with the outside, shall we?

Here is the before:

And after! Painted the door and shutters, ripped out all of the dead/overgrown bushes, tore down all of the ivy, planted new stuff.

And here's the back of the house before (those 2 huge things in the 2nd picture are rhododendron bushes growing in the MIDDLE of the yard)

And after! New patio installed, new landscaping, no more steroid-induced bushes. Look! There's actually grass underneath those things! And a neighbor's house behind us!

Moving inside, here is the kitchen before:

And after! New paint (Behr's Mother Earth), new flattop stove

Dining Room before:

After! Behr's "Toasted Oat" paint, new light fixture

Bedroom #3 before:

After! Painted the room (can't remember the color) and Brian pulled out the carpet & finished the hardwood floors underneath:

Those are some of the major changes we had made within a few months of moving in. Stay tuned for more updates!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Meet Larry the Pug

*I apologize in advance to my googlereader followers, this will be posted twice, the first time, the pics didn't show up for some annoying reason*

We finally got to meet the latest addition to our family, Larry the Pug! Larry was the recipient of the puppy welcome basket that I posted about a few weeks ago.

Jake LOVED Larry and has been talking about him since Saturday (he has trouble saying Larry, so he calls him That Dog).

Gracie, on the other hand, didn't quite know what to make of Larry. I'm not sure if he was just too high-energy for her (which is possible, Gracie's favorite daytime activity is napping) or if she just felt threatened by his presence. She's normally the only dog running around my mom's house, so it is possible that she was extremely jealous of him. Maybe they will grow to love each other. Or Gracie will just sulk in the corner and wallow in her own self-pity during every family gathering. It could go either way.

It was great to meet Larry the Pug, and it's always nice to spend time with Nate & his girlfriend, Katie.

Touch a Truck

I was behind on uploading pics, so this post is a bit late, but we took Jake to the Touch a Truck event last weekend. I would say that it was half successful. Jake was into it at first (we got there right as it opened) but as it grew more & more crowded, he kept saying that it was too loud & that his ears hurt. I don't blame him...all of the sirens & horns were going off at once, it was kind of overwhelming.

But he did enjoy driving the school bus....

And making a Smiley cookie!

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