Nicer notes

Have you ever left your car for an extended period of time, only to return and find someone has left an advertisement on your windshield…or even worse, a parking ticket?  I kind of hate walking up to my car and finding some junk stuck carelessly beneath the windshield wiper.  Once, on our honeymoon, my husband and I returned to our rental car to find a note basically saying “I watched someone hit your car and not do anything about it…sorry.”  Luckily we were able to rub out most of the damage- but what a bummer to come back to, right?

What if you came back to find a note like this instead?

Better yet…what if you could leave a note like this somewhere for someone to find?  Well…now you can!  A friend of mine just started up Nicer Notes– she took her own photography (all images taken in the lovely Pacific Northwest) and added some quotes, then had the images printed out on handy little cards to be left anywhere.  She’s already been busy leaving them around her local city.  I think it’d be pretty sweet if these cards made their way across the US- don’t you? 
**Disclosure:  I was not paid or compensated by this company in any way- I just think it’s a cool concept and wanted to share!!**

Home ownership

I missed our 2 year anniversary of owning our house (3/31/12) but thought I’d write a belated post in celebration of that, since I’ve been thinking about home related things lately.  Mostly the not so much fun stuff that comes along with home ownership- trees falling on fences, roof hail damage (fingers crossed this isn’t a reality for us!), pest control and hidden problems under flooring (like a rotten subfloor).

I came across this great article that I thought was pretty helpful for all those new or soon to be (or just dreaming about) home owners.  Some things to be aware of when you have a home inspection done (and please, oh please, get a home inspection done before you buy!!).  Here’s a link to the original article.  And to paraphrase:

  1. Drainage:

    The article states: “Poor drainage can cause cracks in your foundation and leaks in your basement and crawlspaces, not to mention the resulting rot and mold that often come into play

    Our friends bought a brand new construction house last year, and their inspector caught this problem.  Lucky for them it had just rained before their inspection, and their entire crawl space was filled with water.  The builder was nice enough to pay to rectify the solution, which involved installing a sump pump.

  2. Electrical wiring:

    The home’s service might need to be upgraded to meet current needs or the wiring might be aluminum, which is a fire hazard if it hasn’t been retrofitted with the right wire nut at each connection.

    The inspector isn’t going to be able to catch all wiring problems, because that usually involves ripping holes in walls which they obviously don’t want to do.  But they can inspect your electrical panel and any wires that are exposed.  Some other friends of ours had some wiring issues caught in their inspection- they weren’t as lucky and had to pay for the repairs themselves, but at least they won’t be dealing with a hazard later on down the line.

  3. Roofs:

    Inspectors look for missing or broken shingles, damaged flashing, and any signs of rot. Much like poor drainage, a bad roof can result in water damage, which comes with a whole host of problems.”

    Our house had the original roof (21+ years old) on it when we looked at buying it.  This was almost a deal killer for us- they’d done repairs on the roof due to some leaks but weren’t going to shell out the funds for a new roof.  UNTIL- they discovered the damage was due to hail and were able to get a new roof from their insurance company for $500.  Sweet!!  Now we have a brand new roof- and the roof company offers to come out once a year and walk on our roof (for free!!) to inspect it and make sure it’s holding up well.  They’re coming out some time early next week actually, because we had a hail storm recently and I want them to check for hail damage.

  4. Plumbing:

    Even if a plumbing problem causes you to walk away from a house, it’s much better to have an inspector warn you so it didn’t become your disgusting and expensive problem. The inspector will probably check the water meter, vents, traps, fixtures, and pipes for any issues.

    The inspector will also check your septic system if the house has one (you might have to pay extra for this service)- they usually do a dye test which involves flushing a bunch of dye into your system- the tell-tale problem is if this dye appears in the drain field, a sure sign your septic system needs to be pumped/is failing.  To keep your septic system in good working order, make sure you have it pumped every 3-5 years (depending on the number of people living in your household) and be kind to it- don’t use a garbage disposal or powdered detergents, plus make sure your toilet paper is approved for septic systems.

  5. Heating system:

    Some problems may have easy fixes, like changing the air filter or small parts of the system, but if the heater or furnace is more than 10 or 20 years old or has been poorly maintained, you might be facing a complete replacement.
    Our house, unfortunately, had the original heating/cooling system in it (21 years old)- our inspector was kind enough to point this out to us.  The people we bought the house from never had it serviced in the 3+ years they lived there, but it seemed to be in decent working condition (though not very efficient).  We knew that this was going to be something we would have to replace- and thanks to a couple of government sponsored tax credits we were able to put in a brand new efficient system.  We also have that system serviced twice a year by the company who did the installation, to hopefully avoid any emergency phone calls to the company in the middle of winter/summer.

  6. Insulation and ventilation:

    A common problem with insulation is simply that there’s not enough or it’s inconsistent, which can be fixed by having a professional add more. In older homes, though, an inspector might find asbestos, which needs to be removed. Improper ventilation can cause condensation in the attic that can lead to mildew and rot over time.

    Luckily- no problems here for us (or anyone else we know who has bought a house recently).  I know I’ve lived in some houses that were poorly insulated which stinks in the winter/summer.  Our house is overly insulated- even the floor joists are insulated which is great, and means our power bill is decent year round.

  7. Foundation:

    If there’s one thing you can’t fix cheaply after you’ve bought a house, it’s foundation problems. They can lead to serious structural problems in your home and fixing them will be a major job that can cost into the tens of thousands of dollars. If an inspector tells you that the house has serious foundation issues and you buy it anyway, you’ll end up throwing your money into the sinkhole you’re going to have to fix.

    Yeah- no problems to report here either, thank goodness.  But if our inspector had said anything about foundation problems to us, you can bet we would have run the other way!!

  8. Pests:

    Inspectors will look for termites, carpenter ants, and other insects that eat wood and can cause serious structural damage. They also keep an eye out for signs of creepy-crawly things you won’t want to run into, like cockroaches and rats.

    Actually- most normal house inspectors DON’T look for termites- you need to pay extra to have this service done (at least in our neck of the woods).  You might get a really nice inspector who will let you know if they notice any termite damage, but otherwise this is something you need to pay extra for and it’s not a bad idea to consider getting a termite bond from a pest company that specializes in termite control.
    We also have a pest company come out quarterly and spray our house- when we moved in, we found cockroaches, GIANT spiders and scorpions.  Now that we have regular pest control we rarely see anything around the house- except for the stupid black ants that have decided to take up residence in our kitchen.  Good thing our pest guy is coming soon!!

Blogger award

Imagine my surprise when I checked my email this morning and found out I was nominated for a Versatile Blogger award by Maria Elana over at Our Home Away from Home (she has a beautiful house and garden- go check out her blog!!!)- awwww, my first blog award- I’m so touched!!

 So here are the “rules” for this award:
1. Thank the Blogger who nominated you.
2. Include a link to their site.
3. Include the award image in your post.
4. Give 7 random facts about yourself.
5. Nominate at least 7 other Bloggers for the award.
6. When nominating, include a link to their site.
7. Let other Bloggers know they have been nominated.
So let’s see- 7 random facts about myself:
1.  I love dogs- but y’all know that.  What you may not know is that I used to (well, still do) love horses- I had several growing up and rode/showed them often.  I miss riding and having my own horse!!
2.  I went to college to be a veterinarian- and changed my mind a couple years in.  I got hooked on marine biology and haven’t looked back since!!
3.  I love working with kids and not-so secretly wish I had a teaching degree so I could be a teacher (of marine biology of course- ha!)
4.  I lived on a Coast Guard Ice Breaker in the Bering Sea for 6 weeks in both 2007 and 2008 and would do it again in a heartbeat if someone gave me the opportunity
5.  I wrote a blog while living in the Bering Sea…and I *think* you can still find it somewhere on if you look hard enough.
6.  I used to own (and ride) a motorcycle- the longest trip I took on it was a 10 hour trip from Bellingham, WA  to Couer d’Alene, ID  (I was SO sore by the end of that trip!!)
7.  I love the ocean- and miss being close to it!!
Here are my nominations for this award (in no particular order):

Thursday thoughts…on a Friday

Whoops!  Thursday snuck up on me this week- I guess that’s what happens when you have a holiday in the middle of the week.  So…better late than never:

We had a big storm here on Tuesday and part of a tree from the property behind our house (empty lot) fell on our fence- boo.  Not exactly what we wanted to come home to!  T was able to get it off the fence but we need to have someone come out and fix the fence itself.  Luckily it was the chain-link portion of our fence and not the wood.  The tree that lost its top is now just a trunk, and there are still two giant branches hanging up in another tree, teetering precariously above our fence- lets hope those stay up there until Monday when the tree guys come to take care of all of that (courtesy of the property owner).
I ordered new curtains and a new desk chair for my office- very exciting!  One step closer to having it put back together.  Right now it’s a disaster, but I’ll hopefully have it cleaned up enough to share some photos with you after the weekend.
We have a somewhat bizarre predicament that I’m not sure what we’re going to do about- baby D is due November 21st- the day before Thanksgiving.  I’m pretty certain he won’t pick that day to show up (but he might!)  There’s no way to plan exactly when he’ll show up or how long I’ll be in the hospital (which is luckily only 4 miles down the road from us).  My concern is our 3 dogs, one who needs someone with him at night (we use an overnight pet sitter when we leave town).  I’m not sure how to handle this, since T can’t come home at night from the hospital before baby D is born, seeing as he might miss the birth.  I’ve contacted our regular pet sitter about this, but it’s hard to have someone on call around a holiday.  Any creative ideas?  This is one reason why it’s hard not having family in the area…

It’s been so hot here for the past week+ that I’m retaining water- which sucks.  No cankles yet (thank goodness) but my fingers feel like sausages- the other day I couldn’t put on any of my rings.  #pregnantwomanproblems.

I’m not sure I have a five…hmm.  I guess I’ll leave it there- hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!!

Today I am…

(THANKFUL) it’s already Tuesday and that tomorrow is a holiday.  I think we should have a mid-week break every week!  I was against this originally (I love me a good 3 day weekend), but now I’m really looking forward to having a day off to sleep in and re-charge.  Getting up early for work seems to just suck the life right out of me by the end of the week.

(TIRED) from painting- yep, more painting.  I’m planning on not picking up a paint brush again for at least another 2 years.  Someone please slap me if I mention painting within the next year. 

(LOVING) our new carpet!!  It was installed yesterday and it feels SO good to have all the old yucky carpet out of the house.  I promise to take photos soon- after they installed the carpet yesterday I spent the remainder of the afternoon taping below the baseboards and painting- our new carpet is a lower profile than the old carpet and the baseboards needed re-touching.  Once the tape gets pulled I’ll take some photos- and don’t worry, I wore a mask the entire time I was in the rooms with the new carpet.  The paint I’ve been using is no VOC but the carpet has a definite odor to it (which should go away in a few days with the windows open/doors closed). 

(GRATEFUL) for AC- it was 109 here on Saturday- TOO HOT.  I barely went outside.  Luckily it’s sort of cooling off now- I think we’re only supposed to hit the mid 90’s today.  We got rain late Sunday night, complete with a spectacular thunderstorm (which Jackson of course hated and T had to get up with him for an hour) that helped cool things off a little. 

(DISAPPOINTED) that doggy photos did not happen AGAIN.  This time it was a camera malfunction.  At this rate, I *think* that these photos will end up being a Christmas present rather than a birthday present for T.  Sigh.  To make up for it- here are a few old doggy photos from my friend…

Ellie sitting on my lap- she’s a total lap dog even though she weighs 45lbs

Ellie (aka Black Bear) at an agility trial- my friend took this while hiding behind someone because Ellie has jumped out of the ring before when she’s spied my friend (who she loves)

Kirby, sitting nicely for the camera

Kirby and his friend Dexter (a 7 month old Schnauzer puppy who LOVES him).  This is usually what Kirby does- non stop running

Today I am…

(COPYING) this from a blog I read regularly (La Buena Vida)

(TIRED) from painting my office all weekend- I forget how much I dislike painting until I do it.  It took me all weekend to get two coats on and I still have to paint the closet.  Sigh.  I also had the windows open and it was at least 95 degrees here all weekend- so hot.  I wore a mask on top of having the windows open to protect against fumes, which made things extra warm.  Then I looked more closely at the paint can and realized it was zero VOC.  Whoops, oh well.  Better safe(r) than sorry right?

(IN LOVE) with my new office color- it went from a blue that very honestly looked purple most of the time (and clashed with the rest of the house colors) to a very pretty tan/grey color that I love so much more already.  New carpet goes in next Monday and you can be certain that I will post photos.  I’m also planning on some new curtains, a different arrangement and a new office chair.  Wheeee!

(APPREHENSIVE) about the results of our quad screen.  The results show I have an elevated risk of having a child with Down Syndrome- my risk ratio is 1:225 (the cutoff is 1:250 for high risk).  I’ve been reassured that this is just a screening, and the test has a 20% false positive rate, but I’m still nervous about the possibility of something being really wrong.  I had a missed miscarriage last year, and the odds of that are as low as 1:5, so I guess I’m just afraid of always being the “1” in the scenario. 

(EXCITED) that the upside to the not so great quad screen news is that we are scheduled for a level II ultrasound this Weds, June 27th.  Which means…we get to see the baby over a week early!!  And if it cooperates, we will get to find out the sex early as well.  Think happy baby thoughts for us that we will see a healthy baby on Wednesday morning.

(CONFUSED) that my baby bump is bigger during the day than first thing in the morning.  Seriously, I wake up in the morning and I hardly look pregnant.  Then once lunch time rolls around- bam:

18 weeks 2 days in this shot- apologies for the terrible bathroom photo..yeesh.

Happy Monday y’all…

Thursday thoughts…

I’m going to make an attempt at starting a new (for my blog) tradition- a few blogs I follow do this and I like it. So here goes nothing- enjoy the randomness that is floating around in my brain right now!!

I love thursdays.  Not quite as much as I love Friday afternoons, but it’s a close tie.  Right now I really love them because that’s when our midwife appointments are.  I especially anticipating our upcoming appointment on July 5th…!  I also love Thursdays because I have agility class with our youngest furbaby Kirby.  He LOVES class and it’s so much fun to see him grow up and use his brain.  We switch to Tuesday classes starting next week- I suppose then I will also love Tuesdays?
That reminds me- we’re using a midwife for this pregnancy!  I’d always thought I’d go the OBGYN route, but our local hospital has a midwife clinic associated with it.  I get all the benefits of a midwife, but will still give birth at the hospital.  It’s been a really great experience so far and I’m so glad we decided to go this route.
Hmm, apparently the theme of Thursday Thoughts this week is pregnancy.  Oh well- running with it.  This is actually my 2nd pregnancy.  Last year I was pregnant (and did use an OBGYN) and had a missed miscarriage.  Dealing with the aftermath of that was somewhat traumatic- I won’t go into details but it wasn’t a simple D&C and done.  It was almost enough to make me re-think having children period- but luckily I came around.  And funnily enough, I am due Nov 21st with this baby- a year and 3 days after our first baby was due.  Coincidence?  
Ok on to lighter subjects!!  I am painting (hopefully) my office this weekend.  Not my work office (although it could use a new paint job but has 15′ high ceilings so you won’t catch me attempting that!)- my home office/extra room/place to toss all my junk.  I’ve always disliked the blue color I chose- it reads purple in most lights.  So a new color is going on this weekend!!  Don’t worry- I will buy low VOC paint, wear a respirator AND open the windows, just to be safe!
I have yet to knit my own child something- and I’m almost to the halfway point.  Yikes!  I’ve knit for 2 friends now that are due soon- well, one is actually a week and a half overdue.  Yet I cannot for the life of me find the motivation to pick up the needles for this baby.  Maybe once we find out the sex.  Also all my yarn is buried in the upstairs bedroom- I’m not certain I can find everything I need to do any knitting (although I think this is just an excuse for my lack of desire to knit).

Letting the cat out of the bag

Happy Monday everyone!!

So I mentioned we had a big project going on behind the scenes here- and I suppose it’s about time to let the cat out of the bag.  I’m going to need your opinions on this project though, so please leave a comment and help us out:

Neither of these bumps are real- we had help from one of those foam baby bellies!

How many of you thought that this was the big project??  We find out the gender July 5th- so please cast your vote- are you on team pink or blue?!?

The details- I’m almost 18 weeks along and due 11/21/12 (a turkey baby!!)  I’m going to try and not make this a pregnancy blog (I’ve been really bad about taking weekly photos or writing down anything during the past 17 weeks- I was REALLY sick for most of my first trimester) but I will probably post some photos of nursery progress.  Right now it looks like this:

We’re getting new carpet in our downstairs bedrooms so everything is living upstairs currently.  Before everything moved upstairs I was working on a project for the nursery- it’s actually almost finished so I’ll show you a sneak peek now:

Thanks for reading and I look forward to your votes!!!


So I’m not quite ready to reveal the big project going on around here…and aside from that we don’t have much else going on that’s picture worthy so this is going to be a little bit of a random post, but that’s OK right?

A couple of weeks ago I had a birthday.  And it was the big one (well, one of the big ones).  That’s right- 30!  When my family asked what I wanted for my birthday, I mentioned a new camera.  I felt like my little point and shoot just wasn’t quite cutting it, especially for indoor photos.  We were lucky enough to meet up with family in Oregon a few weeks ago and my birthday wish was granted!!  I’ve been getting to know my new toy for a few weeks now and I wanted to share with y’all what it can do (and how much better it does it than my point and shoot).  *PS* These photos are straight out of the camera- no editing.  Promise.  I’m too lazy to do anything but upload them!

First- my sister’s cat Chili (just because I love a good animal photo):

Then here comes the randomness- a few shots of a room that I can NEVER get a good photo of because there’s not much natural light:

The crayon art I did awhile back:

A pretty true to color photo of the upstairs bathroom (see, told you it was random):

And a peek at a small-ish project that we’re doing soon (which means one of our bedroom is a disaster right now):

Wonder what kind of camera I used for the photos?  Check it out here:

This concludes my random post- I hope you enjoyed it!!

Hangin’ in there

Thanks for sticking with me everyone!  I STILL don’t have any photos of the finished living room/kitchen/dining room, partially because I was out of town last week for work and partially because things aren’t finished yet!  Ha!  My extremely hard working husband took on the daunting task of caring for 5 animals and laying quarter round while I was out of town (on top of a full time job).  Yesterday I did some touch up painting on the baseboard and quarter round, and today, a new area rug arrives which means we can FINALLY put everything back together!  I hope to have photos of the final lay out by the end of the week, but we’ll see how that goes.  In the mean time- here’s some photos of other things to tide you over!

The rug we chose- 10’x13′- it’s huge, but should fill the space better than our old rug did, which we sold on Craigslist
The next few pictures are from the Savannah area, where I was for work:

And to be really random- a photo of my dog at an agility trial!  We went to a trial in Savannah after work was done for the week- she didn’t place or even qualify in any of the events she was entered in unfortunately, but we got some good photos out of it at least!
Ellie, my little stinker-pants
That’s all the random I have for everyone- hope y’all had a great weekend!!