What's going on with our house?

Would you like to know why nothing has gotten done lately?
 Despite spending the last four years of our lives renovating and then renovating some more we still aren't done with our house. And it's only a three bedroom, one bathroom, 1,200 sq-ft little place! I'm sure I've said it before but I'll say it again: I had no idea what we'd be getting into with this place. I thought things would be as simple as some primer, paint, and new carpet, but when you can see things that haven't been taken care of, chances are there are a lot of thing's you can't see that haven't been taken care of either.

So far we've:

- Scrubbed, primed (twice), and painted (twice) just about every square inch of the house
(To get out the smell of smoke, and then to change colors)

- Scraped off the popcorn ceilings and re-textured them
(To get out the smell of smoke) 

- Replaced the carpet (twice) and added laminate wood floors to the main level (mistake)
(To get out the smell of smoke and replace the flooring for the first time in 30 years, and then to upgrade)

- Replaced all the trim and doors (but not the jambs)
(The trim was damaged beyond repair and all the doors reeked of smoke)

 - Completely demoed the bathroom and put in all new things
(The sink/ toilet/ bathtub were all in utter disrepair, the fan was choked with soot, there were clouds painted on the ceiling [likely by a child], and the drywall was crumbling and falling apart, damaged beyond repair)

- Sanded, primed, and painted every one of the kitchen cabinets and replaced the hardware (hinges and handles)
(To get out the smell of smoke and to get rid of the grimy and dirty old hardware)

- Put up a glass tile backsplash and failed spectacularly, tore out the freaking drywall and replaced it and then added a subway tile backsplash sucessfully
(That was 100% my bad)

- Replaced the kitchen sink
(It was heavily stained and N-A-S-T-Y)

- Replaced all the light fixtures
(They were outdated and tinted with smoke)

- Added beadboard to the family room
(The previous owners had glued fake wood paneling to the walls [which they then painted and SPONGED over] and after taking them off the drywall was so damaged it was add more paneling or have them replaced or retextured)

- Had new windows installed
(The old ones wouldn't open, were cracking and falling apart, and added a significant cost to our heating bills and quality of life in the summer)

- Had the house painted and some siding repaired
(It hadn't been painted in at least 20 years and there was significant damage)

- Stained the deck
(It was built and then never stained or sealed)

- Completely re-did the landscaping/ sprinkler system
(It was a complete hot mess before, are you surprised)

That's all I can think of right now, but I'm pretty sure that sums it all up. If it seems like a lot, well, it's felt like a lot! Especially on our poor bank account. I don't even want to know how much that all cost us added up. We will definitely not get it all back when we sell the house, but beggars couldn't be choosers and we were definitely beggars when we got this house.

And yet there's still more to do:

- All the doors need to be painted

- All the paint (walls and ceiling) needs to be touched up

- All the ceiling texturing is going to have to be re-done
(N is a very, very handy person but one thing he is NOT good at is drywall, and while the ceilings definitely look better than they did with the popcorn finish- and the don't smell!- they will need to be re-done before we sell)

- The bathroom is going to have to be re-done
(What I said about drywall reigns true for the bathroom too, while it's certainly nice to use there are unsightly drywall seams and some mistakes that happened placing the tile- I think we'll get a slightly nicer sink in there as well)

- The kitchen needs new cabinets
(All my painstaking sanding, priming, and painting did NOT make the poor cabinets look any better, though it did rid them of some stink. Unfortunately the insides of the cabinets still stink and are decaying, and the tops of our wall cabinets all have serious water damage- probably from plants being stored up there. I would really like to just take a sledgehammer to them all and put in some brand spanking new ones from IKEA, but N is on the fence right now. I'm totally over the fence though so you know how that usually works...)

- We need banisters on our stairs
(The ones that came with the house were ugly and damaged so we tossed them, right now we're banister-less and I don't mind it, but we do need new ones)

- The laundry closet needs to be fixed and re-done
(This is purely a pet project that N is totally against but dammit I will do it!)

- The front and storm doors need to be replaced

- The deck needs to be sanded with a heavy duty sander and then re-stained and all the railings need to be replaced because they are broken/ warped/ not to code/ totally sketchy
(Uggh uggh uggh I don't even want to think about this!)

And god only knows what condition the yards are in right now after it was so dry last year and Hank has been completely destroying our back yard. I love him enough to sacrifice the yards beauty but we JUST put in new sod two years ago so I am going to have a major sad if it's totally gone to hell.

Right now my main concern is the kitchen. N has said that he doesn't think replacing our cabinets is going to add significantly to the value of our home and I completely disagree. They are a DISASTER. It is a blight on the rest of our renovated and decent looking house, and I know it will be the biggest downside to getting people interested in paying what we want for the house. The kitchen is very small, and there aren't a lot of cabinets. If we can get some new IKEA ones in there for a few grand that will be well worth it. I have a friend who re-did her kitchen with IKEA cabinets and it is gorgeous. Seriously a dream. I am going to get N to go into that store with me sooner than later, mark my words!

What's holding us back from getting all this house stuff done is the other project list we have to tackle- the one that deals with cars. Right now we have a Wrangler that needs to be finished up and gotten the hell out of here, my Commander that needs to be fixed, the OTHER Commander (the one N just put a motor in) that now needs a new transfer case, and of course N's poor pet project Camaro that needs lots of TLC and he has negative time to deal with it. Right now just about our entire savings account is tied up in two of those stupid cars (the Wrangler and the other Commander) and it's been a really obnoxious monkey on my back- and I'm sure N is feeling it too.

I follow a lot of home renovation/ decorating blogs that seem so fun! They take an already nice house and then transform/ upgrade it into something breathtaking. We're not doing that. We're going from cheap to cheap (except the window$) and really just trying to repair things. It's been exhausting and not the least bit fun. Don't get me wrong though- I am BEYOND grateful to have our own house, in a wonderful (if redneck) neighborhood, in an incredible location! I would just rather not sink one more cent into this house and I know we have no choice.

And did I mention we need a new water heater? I need to stop thinking about all this now. ;)

Plans: R's Third Birthday Party

Now that R is a little older she has lots of things that she actually enjoys herself- that aren't connected to N or I. Some of these favorites things include Cars, Toy Story, Despicable Me, Peter Rabbit, monster trucks, etc. But her most favorite thing of all is of course...

And it helps that I heartily approve of this show for my little feminist in training. ;)
So the theme is set: My Little Pony with a big dose of rainbow. Her favorite pony is Twilight Sparkle (not Rainbow Dash) but I figure that rainbows are an integral part of Ponyville, and really, I'm just looking for an excuse to be colorful. I know R is going to love it!

We're going to have the party at my parent's house again this year (it's where we had her first birthday as well) because they have a big (though awkward shaped) basement and an even bigger backyard.

Which is important because I want (for R obviously): REAL LIFE PONY RIDES!

I've already contacted a pony rental place and put down a deposit for one hour of pony rides and a small petting zoo. Is it cheap? No. Is it cheaper than what we spent the previous two years? Yes. Would it be AWESOME? HELL YES.

As far as decorations go I'm going to get all the branded MLP stuff without shame. I've slowly but surely been accumulating stuff from Zulily thinking I was smart and saving money, and then I looked at the Party City website and realized they're selling all the same stuff for EVEN CHEAPER. WTF Zulily? So yeah I'm done with them (ok not really, but a little bit.)

I also want to do some nice rainbow decorations with lots of streamers and balloons such as:

With the streamers twister and balloons instead of the puffs because I've tried to make those before and it wasn't pretty...

With Dollar Store tablecloths instead of tulle because while gorgeous, that is far too expensive! I love these "cake table" setups but my parents basement is strangely shaped and doesn't lend itself well to one of these. I think I will put one up against the wall where we had the photo backdrop for R's first birthday. I would put the cake and sweets on it, and put the regular food on the bar that's down there.
As far as food goes I'm hoping I can talk my mom into having our local Dickies BBQ do a delivery buffet. You see, one of Reagan's other favorite ponies Applejack is "Southern" and uh... Yeah you're right I just want the BBQ for myself. (Pulled meats are much easier on my stomach! And coleslaw for days!!!)


For treats I'm thinking: MLP cookies from Etsy (I can't find these exact ones anymore and am so sad!), rainbow rice crispy treats, fruit kabobs, cake pops (likely also from Etsy), and jello squares. And then all sorts of rainbow candy of course.

We'll definitely be doing a cake and cupcakes again because cupcakes are a lot easier to deal with. As much as I love Gigi's I think I'll be making our own this year, or asking a friend (or my sister if she's home) to help because as you've seen I am not very good at decorating cakes!

For R's outfit I'm going to ask this Etsy seller if she can this shirt with a 3 behind Twilight:

Then I'll make her another tutu myself and get her another cupcake headband from the same seller I got her first one from:
 *Phew* That is all I have for now, but I'll likely have more planning and progress posts in the future. This is the one big party I plan all year and let's be real here, what else to I have to do with all my sickly free time?


Throwback: R's First Birthday

With R's 3rd birthday coming up in about two months I've been thinking about what we're going to do for her party this year. Before I start blogging about my plans and preparations, I thought I'd share with you pictures from her first and second birthdays. We are super blessed to have a professional photographer in the family- N's sister is incredibly talented. She's taken pictures at our parties that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Here's are the pictures from R's first birthday:


A "Disney Side" Baby Shower!


Diagnosis Confirmed: I have Gastroparesis.


A few weeks ago I had my follow up appointment to go over the results of my Gastric Emptying Scintigraphy (Scan). The doctor was in a hurry- he had just come from surgery and squeezed me in- so we didn't go over the nitty gritty of the scan, but my stomach emptying was markedly delayed. I have Gastroparesis.

To be honest, I'm relieved it was abnormal because it means that there's something actually wrong with my body, and that it's not somehow "all in my head." When the Smartpill test didn't show any delay in my stomach (I suspect it's because the pill was so heavy that gravity helped it to digest faster) I got really worried that we wouldn't be able to find out what was wrong. I have also gotten worse in the past few months, and that too may have impacted the Smartpill vs. GES results.

These so called "invisible illnesses" can be a real pain. When you don't "look sick" people treat you like you aren't sick, even if you're dealing with debilitating symptoms. I've dealt with this my whole life with mental illness, a third of my life with autoimmune hypothyroidism, and now I'm dealing with it regarding these GI issues. Another complicating factor is that most people with Gastroparesis vomit multiple times a day, and while severe nausea is my biggest issue I don't actually vomit all that often unless I am sick. Of course I take a LOT of prescription anti-emetics, and a lifetime of emetephobia has helped me keep it down if at all possible. I also haven't lost any weight- and god knows why because I am not eating a whole lot these days.

Anyway, the doctor said that I am to continue taking 3 pills of Domperidone 4 times a day and I have another appointment in a couple weeks to see what my symptoms are like (since they've changed over the time period I've been seeing this doctor) so he can decide what kind of surgery to preform. Right now he is considering two options:

Pyloroplasty: This is a laparoscopic surgery where the valve that empties the stomach is cut and then sewed together in a more open fashion. This can help the stomach empty better and improve symptoms. There are some risks to the surgery and it isn’t a good choice for everyone. Potential problems include reflux, (including bile reflux which is difficult to treat with medications) persistence of gastroparesis symptoms, leaking from the surgery site, infection.

Enterra device: The Enterra device was FDA approved for compassionate use in 1999. It is a neurostimulator that is placed surgically. Although this does not make the stomach empty normally, it interferes with the message of nausea to the brain. This improves the overall quality of life.

I have heard that other doctors inject botox somewhere in the stomach and that helps too, but I forgot to ask my doctor about that. I will the next time I see him.

Anyway, the doctor is leaning towards the gastric pacemaker because the nausea is my biggest issue, and I am all for that. The biggest thing I am worried about is the cost. I've read online that the surgery costs about $70,000 and applying my insurance deductible and coverage rate that would mean I would be responsible for roughly $20,000. And that's if they cover the surgery at all or cover it according to the guidelines I was looking at. N has been really supportive of my fears, and says that if it makes me feel better, no cost is too great. I feel horribly guilty, but not being able to function normally has become a very serious issue. Also, if I was feeling better than it'd be possible for me to get a part time job (I'd love to do this when R starts school) and that would help us pay off the surgery in no time.

And of course there is always the risk that I get surgery and it still doesn't help. These procedures aren't perfect, and there are a lot of risks. And there's also the possibility that it could get worse, and then god only knows what we'd have to do. But I'm trying not to think about that and just get through this next month so we can start talking serious treatment options.

Right now I'm just at my wits end. I'm spending hours in the bathroom, am not going out in public much, am not eating much, and just feel awful in general. If I can't live a normal life can I just live a *relatively* normal life? Some days I feel like it's too much to ask.


F#!% It Friday

I have a couple other posts I need to get done but I am still steaming right now and I need to let this out. Today I woke up all excited to watch the U.S. vs. Canada men's hockey game and all I have to say is:



Anyway it's been a pretty emotional week.

The other day our good friend's oldest daughter was really hurt in a freak accident (she was turning away from a dog, tripped over her own feet, and fell hard on asphalt.) She split her forehead open and was helicoptered from their local ER in New Mexcio to a hospital in Lubbock, TX that had a children's trauma unit. They had suspected she had a skull fracture but thankfully her sweet little skull and brain were alright, it was just a giant gash. The pictures my friends posted were terrifying; it was like something straight out of a horror movie. Their little girl needed a couple layers of stitches, but she's back home and doing well now. R and I bought her a bunch of goodies that we're going to send out tomorrow. I'm just sick for her and her whole family that they had to go through that!

Another friend of ours had a very serious spinal surgery yesterday. He is in his early 30s and was diagnosed with esophagus cancer a few months ago. The cancer has spread to his brain and lymph nodes and there were painful growths on his spine that they removed the other day- that they had to wait to do while our friend recovered from pneumonia and a lung infection. Our friend was given a terminal diagnosis and it's all so fucking sad it hurts me to think about. Our friend is a really, really great guy who was  Marine during the early days of the Iraq War and is a purple heart recipient. He has a beautiful wife and three little girls- the youngest is younger than R. If anybody is interested in making a donation towards their family they have a You Care funding site open here.

Anyway I am over today and this week and maybe next week too. ;)


Tuesday Troubles/ Thoughts

Stolen (with permission!) from Jen at Ramblings of a Suburban Mom!
I'm alive!

- Ok to start out, R is on my lap right now and is demanding to listen to Miley Cyrus' Wrecking Ball OVER AND OVER! This all started when she caught me watching the video for the first time (I was curious!) and now she is obsessed with the song. She tries to sing it which is pretty cute, and it's not quite as annoying as her other obsession What Does The Fox Say but uggh.
- It's been two weeks on my new medication and on Sunday I upped my dose to two pills (from one.) I had been getting heart palpitations on one pill but they weren't very bad so I figured it was ok to follow my doctor's advice and increase my dose after a week. Well for the past three days I have gotten CRAZY palpitations and generally felt like hell. This morning I had crazy palpitations, and was shaking and sweating so I took my blood pressure- 150/97! This is super high for me and I was really worried it was going to keep climbing and send me into a hypertensive crisis. Luckily I was able to force myself to fall asleep again and I woke up feeling better. I'm not sure if I should keep taking two pills and hope this goes away (my doctor said it probably would) or go back to one immediately. I was really hoping this transition would be easier.
- Our iPad charger stopped working and I need to go to the Apple store to get a new one. That is on my list of favorite activities right under gouging my eyes out with a plastic spoon.
- My mom isn't here to help out this week because she's in Costa Rica! So far I've felt better enough where this isn't an issue, and lord knows she needs a break, but this is a trouble because they're in Costa Rica without me! They started taking cool vacations after I graduated high school and I'm definitely jealous. I've never been anywhere tropical before (closest I've been was Disney World so not close at all) and I'm hoping my parents take us to Hawaii one day. ;)
- I had a post about Gastroparesis written up but never got around to finishing it and posting it. I still intend on putting it up sooner than later but I thought I'd let y'all know that my radioactive egg test did come back abnormal and my doctor wanted me to go one more month on medication to see what my symptoms did in order to decide what surgery I should get. I go back for that consult in less than a month and I'm nervous!

- About a month ago R asked to wear my rings (I have one engagement ring and two wedding bands) and like an idiot I obliged. We were just sitting in the office/ playroom but somehow she managed to lose one of my wedding bands and I still haven't found it despite tearing every room upstairs upside down. It just couldn't be anywhere else but I have no idea where it is! I'm super bummed out.

- (Warning, hardcore FWP) N hasn't looked at my car yet so I've been driving the other Commander that he put a new motor in that we planned to fix and flip. It's a year older than my car and has more miles (on the car, not the new motor) but it's nicer inside and even has a sunroof! N said I could keep it and we could sell my car, but I'm so sentimental I just don't think I can do it! My car is like a child to me! Ok not really, but I feel very affectionate towards it (when it's not broken.)
P.S. I finally got the courage to re-dye my hair by myself and one jar of Manic Panic Hot Hot Pink later:

(Please excuse the weird face I always seem to make in selfies.) My hair is practically neon in real life and it's so cool looking! N has gotten used to it (he's not really one for crazy things) and R is obsessed. She demanded that she get pink hair too so I bought her a pink clip-in extension which she loves. She can wait until high school to dye her hair and then do whatever she wants. You're only young once!


Datevitation Review

When Amanda at My Show had a giveaway for a Datevitation booklet, I knew I had to enter in hopes of being able to finally (for the first time in our 7 years together!) give N something more than just a card for Valentine's Day. When I won I was so excited and set to making and ordering my book right away. It ended up shipping just two days after I made it and arrived only a few days later!

I won't give a detailed review of the process, but suffice it to say that there are a TON of dates to choose from (over 500), you can edit the text on all the pages, make your own custom pages, and more! You can personalize books for your significant other, friend, or even child! I especially appreciated how you could add in your own faces. It took the whole thing from silly to ridiculous- in a good way.

In addition to regular dates, they also had a "foreplay" and "x-rated" section that was one of the most hilarious things I've ever seen. You need to go to their site just to see some of those cartoons. Of course, being the middle school boy that I am, I had to order a couple of them. I have NO intention of actually using them, I'm just not like that, but they will be a good joke. Sorry not sorry!

Here are some pictures from my book:

Nailed It: Valentines Day Garland

Welcome to another edition of Nailed It! where I attempt Pinterest crafts with probably varying results. Up today is a Valentine's Day picture garland.
Well, this project didn't actually come from Pintrest, but I'm just going to put all my crafts under the Nailed It! category. I wouldn't be surprised if there is something similar on Pintrest, but I just didn't go off of any specific craft I've found before.


Subscriptions: Birchbox February 2014 Review


Subscriptions: Ipsy February 2014 Review


Subscriptions: Beauty Box 5 February 2014 Review


Our Valentie's Day Decorations


Although I wanted to do a lot more crafting this year (crafts fall of the list first when you're sick), I let the siren song of Target call me to it's holiday aisle and for the first time decorated our house for Valentine's Day! I've always been a V-Day fan, it always meant flowers and candy from my parents and I LOVE candy, and now it's fun to include R in the festivities. The first time N bought he a valentine gift my heart completely melted. I also love the excuse to indulge in reds, pinks, and hearts galore! Here's what I've got up this year:

So What Wednesdays

Today I'm linking up with Life After I "Dew" and saying so what if...
 - I'm late the link up this week but the fact that I had the energy to do this is definitely an accomplishment for me right now!

- I took Hank to the dog park today since it was a balmy 46 degrees (practically flip flop weather) and felt weird about being out without R. My mom has been watching her during the day a few days a week for the past few weeks while I work through my medication switch and this damned Gastroparesis (post on that coming later), and it's been nice but I've missed her. I wish I could say the same about her- she is living it up with her Gigi!

- Hank has been dirty and gross for a few weeks now, and got over the edge disgusting at the dog park today because it was so muddy. It's too much to bathe him here now that he's over 100lbs and we have one tiny bathroom and tub, so I made him an appointment for a bath and brush at PetSmart but it's not until tomorrow. We have a stinky night ahead of us!

- I have a BzzAgent campaign I need to finish in order to post about but I've been too sick to go to the grocery store. Uggh. I need to go later this week because:

- I am using my Disney Side party kit to help a friend with her baby shower! I am planning on making cupcakes and cookies (I got cupcake liners and cookie cutters in my kid) and I'll need to go to the store to get mix for both.

- Speaking of sweets, N got both the cookie dough and rice crispy Oreos at the store and despite my stomach hating me I tried both. The cookie dough is just too chocolatey between the chocolate chips and the actual cookie, and the filling just tasted like brown sugar. It wasn't gross per say, but I'm good with only eating one and not having any more. The rice crispy one was surprisingly good! It tasted mostly like a golden (vanilla) Oreo but with a yummy crisp in the middle. They were worth a try and now I want to try the lemon ones!

- I was already spoiled on Facebook for the first Olympic hockey game and I am PISSED. You would think that both the Avalanche organization and the NHL would be better about using a spoiler alert or something. ANNOYING.

- I am jamming out to a song by my favorite band Taking Back Sunday and just had to post some of the lyrics to my Facebook. The song may be about a girl cheating on her boyfriend and relates to my life in exactly no ways, but I am loving it.
- I take so many creeper pics of N and R sleeping whenever she's sleeping in our bed and they look cute. I don't think N is embarrassed which is good because I am going to keep doing it! ;)

(Ok maybe I have a problem...)

I've got some more posts to work on so until next time!


Subscriptions: Bonjour Jolie February 2014 Review


Our Life: Denver Monster Jam 2014

R, a direct clone (in personality) of her father N, is obsessed with monster trucks and has been for a long time. It was love from the first time we bought her first die cast, and she loves driving her (many) monster trucks all over this sweet Calico Critters playset. Last year she was a bit too young for Monster Jam (we had learned our lesson at the drag track), but this year I knew she was going to be in it- or at least, hopefully into it- sitting still isn't exactly her strong suit.

This morning I woke up not feeling so great but was determined to go anyway. I loaded myself up on nausea meds and all was ok for the first 30 minutes and then I started to get the intestinal cramps from hell with those always lovely hot waves of nausea. I made it to the bathroom once and then decided to book it back home. Luckily there is a lightrail that goes straight from the Pepsi Center to a station near our house, so I got to race the car back myself (dreaming of driving it over the other, smaller, cars I was passing) and N and R took the train. I was sad I had to duck out early, but I'm glad that I got to be there even for a short amount of time to watch R go completely wide-eyed and speechless at what she was seeing. And I was glad my illness didn't have to ruin it for everyone else!



Sunday Social


1. What is your favorite thing to watch on a girls night?

Well, I don't really have girls nights (I don't really have anything but regular nights these days, haha) but my BFF and both love to watch Dance Moms and then gossip about it on Facebook. Next week promises to be a doozy (pretty sure this is where the fake arrest is coming and even though it's fake I don't even care) and I'm SO EXCITE.

2. What is your favorite thing to watch on your day off?

I also don't really have days off since I'm a stay at home mom, so off the top of my head another thing that I've found I've enjoyed watching is collections of hilarious Vine videos. I don't have a Vine account but you can watch compilations on YouTube and man, people are really funny/ clever! This is also a good list.

3. What is your favorite thing to watch when you're sick?

Trashy TLC shows FOR SURE. Honey Boo Boo? For sure. Sister Wives? Sign me up. Hoarding Buried Alive? Well at least me house doesn't look like that! I need to catch up on this 90 Day Fiance business too.

4. What is the last movie you saw in the theater?

We don't see a lot of movies in the theaters (theaters make me panicky for some reason) but I always make an exception for anything Tolkien or Hunger Games related. As far as The Hobbit goes, I'm enjoying them for what they are, and that is a story loosely based on the book. I want to complain about Legolas being in it, but as the first love of my life, I will never complain about Legolas being in anything.

5. What are your top three favorite movies or TV shows?


Honorable Mentions: Drop Dead Gorgeous, Mean Girls, Detroit Rock City, all of the Harry Potters, others I am probably blanking right now.

TV Shows:

Honorable Mentions: Tosh.0, Fantasy Factory, Ridiculousness, god pretty much any special on TLC where they profile someone with a crazy disease/ life

My taste in TV/ movies is pretty much the opposite of my taste in books, haha. I may be binge watching TLC but at least I'm reading War and Peace! ;)