House Update

Day 1:



Day 2:

Day 14: IMG_0644_Fotor_Collage2

Day 15 & 16:


Day 22: IMG_0742_Fotor_Collage4

We’re surviving the reno!  Things are moving along – on time or so we’ve been told.  We’ve run into a few things as the walls have come down but I watch enough home improvement shows to know that isn’t abnormal.  Annoying, yes.  Abnormal, no.

Things should really start coming together at the start of next week.  They templated the countertops today & are finishing the cabinet installation today (tonight as we speak) or tomorrow.  The wood floors go in at some point this week & they are refinishing the stairs to match the new floors starting Wednesday.  I think the appliance are coming next week too.  All quite exciting.  We will all be happy to have the house back and of course, we’re so excited to see the finished product!




August was a super busy month for us.  On July 29th we closed on our new house & I flew to Calgary to start my new job.  We were so lucky to have Mom & Phil come stay with us the first week of August & Eileen here the 2nd week of August. It was so nice for me to have London home with her grandparents while I transitioned back to work.  I think they were all happy to have the time with her. IMG_0608_Fotor_Collage 2 IMG_0608_Fotor_Collage

We officially moved on August 13th.  Thankfully Eileen was here to help us pack.  We tried to pack & bring as much stuff as we could to the house ourselves but had to have movers for all the furniture.  The week before we moved in we had some painting done, carpet replaced in the basement & the carpets cleaned upstairs, the ducts cleaned – all that fun stuff.  We were initially hoping to have some renovations done before we moved in but it just didn’t work out.IMG_0610_Fotor_Collage 3

We’re still unpacking, decorating, etc. – slowly making progress.  We’re living in a bit of flux on the main floor since we are hoping to start some renovations in the next couple of weeks but the upstairs is in pretty good shape (still need to hang pictures, etc.) and the basement too.  We’re so happy with the house.  Love the space.  LOVE having a backyard. Love the neighborhood.  We’re excited to start this new chapter. IMG_4085_Fotor

Apartment Tour

Top picture is what you see when you first walk in.  To the right is the hallway to the bedrooms & bathrooms, to the right is the laundry room & 2 coat closets.  You can see that we have quite a bit of storage in the laundry room, stocked full with my sewing/arts & craft supplies.  That box is our end table that arrived broken…just waiting for the replacement pieces.20140220-164906.jpg

Here is the living/dining area.  You can see that most of our furniture/decor moved with us.  There are lots of windows/natural light.  20140220-164915.jpg

There is just enough room behind the couch for a little work/sew station.  Bottom pictures are of the hallway bathroom.20140220-164930.jpgThe kitchen.  It’s small (especially compared to the dream kitchen in our house) but not teeny.  The space is extremely functional which I think really helps compensate for the size.  We didn’t have a table that would fit this space, so we asked the owner to leave theirs (well he asked us if there was anything we wanted him to leave).  They chose to leave the rug too.  I’m not a huge fan of it but it hasn’t been worth the hassle of removing it.

20140220-164921.jpgMaster bedroom. With a walk-in closet!!  Plenty of room for the baby’s bassinet when she arrives.20140220-164850.jpgAnd finally the master bath.  It’s been really nice having a master bath & even nicer to have that huge soaker tub.  And I thought I throw in a couple of selfies (38 weeks tomorrow) since you could see my huge belly in some of the pictures.20140220-164856.jpg

I’ll post pictures of the nursery at some point next week when I get things finished up in there.

Selling Our House

In mid-October we met with our realtor to discuss what we could do to help get our house “market ready”.  At that point we were not planning on putting our house on the market so quickly but we knew that a move was likely in our future and wanted to start making any improvements that would help move the house when we needed/decided to list.

We had a list of potential improvements and Donna did a walk-through and pointed out some other minor improvements.  Over the next couple of weeks we went to town making the fixes we were able to make and brought in a contractor to do some of the work we were unable to complete ourselves.  Claudio fixed the dry bar in the basement (we loved how it came out and kicked ourselves for waiting to have it done), did some painting, and removed the glass door from the shower upstairs.

After much consideration (and advice from Donna) we decided to go ahead and list the house before heading home for Thanksgiving.  There were many comparable houses on the market, maybe even nicer/bigger houses, but the locations were all terrible giving us a potential market advantage.  Donna came over again and advised on how to best stage the house (at this point we had already been selling furniture, de-personalizing, and staging to some degree).  Before we left for Thanksgiving, we had the house staged.  We actually got an email from Donna that the house had been listed on our way to airport.  Here are the listing pictures.20140113-114516.jpg20140113-114225.jpg20140113-114219.jpgNow check out the pictures I took when we bought the house.  At some point I’m going to do a separate post of all the home improvements we made.

I think the first offer came in on the house on Sunday or Monday.  We had a couple offers.  After a few days of negotiating, we had a signed contract on Thanksgiving.  So thankful we were able to sell the place so quickly and able to show it when we weren’t home.  We had a little back and forth after the home inspection was done but in the end were very happy with offer.  We signed the closing documents on January 2nd, literally right before we hit the road to Toronto.  The timing couldn’t have worked out better (Pete might disagree since he had to organize/air traffic control the movers when I was still on the east coast).

2121 N Verde was a great first house!  We both loved it but as I keep saying to Pete, “I’m super excited for our next adventure” which is already underway!!

‘Tis the Season!

I’m really getting into the Christmas spirit this year! I’m loving having a house to decorate – of course, that means I’m slowly starting to accumulate decorations which is all sorts of fun & exciting! Check out the “Keep Calm & Merry On” rug – representing England here in Chicago. As I mentioned in a previous post, we bought our [1st] Christmas tree on the way home from the airport the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We only had a handful of ornaments, so I had to buy a box (definitely should have been on the hunt for these this summer at yard sales but I missed the boat). And we needed lights & garland! And a tree skirt (aka a piece of fabric). I had the tree decked out by Sunday afternoon.

And I have to admit I did some decorating before we went away. Pete was in London the weekend before we went to South Africa so I took the opportunity to put up decorations downstairs…mainly the mantel. Still not sure if Pete noticed the fall decorations came down & the Christmas ones went up…or that we had fall decorations to begin with. At least I thoroughly enjoy them!

This past weekend I (as previously mentioned) finished decorating my gingerbread house. I also took advantage of the warm weather (it was in the 60s) & put lights on some of our outdoor trees. We don’t have a ladder so it was an interesting process of me flinging lights around trying to get them to stick. The neighbors were probably laughing at me.

I’m kind of sad I don’t have more crafty decorations…I’ll have to get on that this week/weekend…

Friday Morning Break In

Ever start your day breaking into your own house? If not, I don’t really recommend it…

Friday morning I walked out of the house with my coffee in one hand & a bowl of oatmeal in the other, shut the locked house door & realized very quickly I couldn’t get into my car without the keys…and I couldn’t get into the house to get my car keys without the house key which is on the car key chain…you follow me? In short, I was locked out. I called Pete (he was in NYC) to see if by some miracle he had hidden a house key somewhere outside the house (we have several hidden (not sure if this can be used interchangeably with lost) in the house, lots of good that is doing us).

Me: Any change you hid a house key outside the house somewhere? I’ve managed to lock myself out.
Pete: No (unimpressed)
Me: Ok. I’m going to have to find a way to break in .
Pete: Call me back either way so I know you didn’t fall off something & break your neck.

After circling the house several times (hoping desperately for one of our ground level windows to be unlocked – no such luck) & evaluating what I had to work with, I came up with a strategy to break in. If you’ve had the pleasure of visiting our house, you know Pete built a staircase in the backyard; if not, picture a 4 step staircase that leads from the deck to the grass – lucky for me he removed it so I could plant grass in the back yard. I brought the staircase over to under the guest room windows and leaned it up against the house. From the top step I was able to use a garden tool to pop out the screen & push the window up enough to know it was unlocked & open it about 6 inches. Unfortunately, I couldn’t reach the inside window sill…

SO I had to bring over two cinder blocks (thankfully I had just dug a couple out of the back yard), position them in the upright, standing position & put the staircase on top of them & lean the staircase against the house. Safe? Absolutely not. Necessary? Absolutely. (It was running through my mind that I should ask a neighbor if they had a ladder.)

From the top of the staircase I was able to push the window up a little more & grab the inside window sill. All before the cinder blocks started to wobble & the staircase went out from underneath me. Yup. Just picture me hanging on the side of the house, over a pile of staircase & cinder blocks. I started frantically trying to use my feet to climb the house. My upper body strength is lacking so I knew my time was limited before I crashed down on the rubble beneath me. I was able to swing my leg up & into the window, giving myself enough leverage to pull the rest of my body up & in. I was winded but I was in.

I went back out to get my heels (yes, I was dressed for work & wearing heels) & laughed when I saw my frantic footprints on the side of the house.

Lesson learned. Hide-a-key is a must.



Fall officially arrives a week from tomorrow. I can’t wait. I adore fall. My favorite season.
We’ve had a glimpse into what fall will look like in Illinois over the past couple of weeks. We’ve had some chilly mornings sprinkled in between the 90° days. It’s going to be gorgeous. Bring on the sweaters, boots & scarves – and I can’t go on without mentioning Pumpkin Spice Lattes – all the rage on Facebook, Instagram, & blogs.
Over the course of this week I’ve started decorating. Definitely have a long way to go (especially since we had NO fall decorations) but I’ve started. I obviously had to buy a bag of decoration pumpkins at the grocery store; my feet just wouldn’t move me past that display.  **Recognize the pictures?**

Here is a sneak peak of the mantel I built downstairs. With any luck all the projects going on down there will be wrapped up by the end of next weekend & I can post some updated pictures of the “complete” basement then. Looking back I don’t think I’ve posted any pictures of the basement since the home inspection photos. Well I guess you’re in for a treat.