Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Out with the Old

This is what the family room looked like when we bought the house.  It has stayed that way since we moved in May 28th.

In the last month in between working on my workshop, we have taken to removing the wallpaper slowly. We borrowed a wallpaper steamer from a friend instead of renting it.  Here are some pictures of the process.  Have I mentioned that I hate hate hate wallpaper.  This is the epitomy of overdoing wallpaper.  Why do one pattern, when you can have 3!!  The bottom is a nice plaid pattern.  The top is a dotted flower pattern.  And don't forget the chair rail blue border!!

The sad thing is the parents of my wife and I actually liked the wallpaper!!  Can't account for style :)

The joy of wallpaper steaming.  Get everything wet.  And after you take off the top layer with the print, you have to go back and take off the the rest of the paper.  Hard to see against the white walls. 

Also, some of the paint came with it.  Mostly in the areas that weren't primed it seems.  There will be a lot of skim coating with drywall compound in this room.

The hardest thing is that this is the most heavily used room in the house.  This is the kids play room!  We have to move the toys around and the furniture around.  Being such a large room helps though.  We really love this house and the space it has afforded us.

Here is another shot of an area that will need to be mudded.

We will paint the wall a nice greenish/greyish/blue color.  The long-term plan is to put beadboard on the bottom half with a chair rail.  This will protect the wall from children and break up the large expanse of the walls with cathedral ceilings.

I tell you, just what we have removed so far has made the room feel larger and brighter.

We have about half of the wallpaper down so far.


I finally introduced Nairi to the Tupperware cabinet. I don't know what I was waiting for. Its usually good for at least 10 min of entertainment.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas Tree Farm 2011

Glove Hollow Christmas Tree Farm- Plymouth


Uncle Matt with his perfect tree

Israel, Nairi and Mike

Mike and all the kids

Kelsey and Iliana

Cousin Joseph and Aunt MK

We have an artificial tree but Mike's family and cousins usually go to a tree farm every year and get Christmas trees so we decided to tag along this year. The kids had fun going on tractor hay rides, walking through fields of trees and drinking hot cocoa. The weather was beautiful at around 50 degrees!

Advent/ Christmas 2011

So excited to have a place to hang stockings now. We used to just put them on the floor or the couch at our old house.

Pine branches from our yard.

Keira did most of the decorating this year.

We had a fabulous Thanksgiving at my brother's house. We were so busy eating we forgot to take any pics!

We usually put up our tree the day after Thanksgiving because Mike is home and its a good day for the family fun of tree and house decorating. Last weekend we put up some Christmas lights on the outside of the house. We didn't get to do as much as we wanted as at least 3 sets of lights failed to work! Our neighborhood is awesome about decorations. Most people go all out with decorations for Halloween and Christmas. The kids love looking at the Christmas lights and the blow up snowmen, turkeys and Santa's. Eventually we want to get a huge real Christmas tree for the family since it has vaulted ceilings and can accommodate a huge tree and use our artificial tree in the tv room as a decoration. That way I can have one gorgeous looking tree and one for all the kids decorations. Keira likes to paint those cheep wooden ornaments from the craft store. But this year the family room is a mess due to wall paper removal and funds are tight so we are decorating with what we have on hand.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A new appliance is a beautiful thing! :o)

5 burners, convection oven, warming drawer... It has lots of bells and whistles! I think dinner will taste much better cooker on this Cadillac than on our old almond electric cheapo oven/stove. Or maybe my kids will think so anyways.

Our Latest Saga

Our latest saga is bigger and more expensive than we ever anticipated! 
When we bought this house we knew that the water heater was 13 years old.  So, we got a quote from the same plumber that did our irrigation system.  We wanted it replaced before it burst and potentially destroyed all the drywall I just spent 3 weekends putting up in the basement for my workshop.
Since the plumber was going to be doing the water heater, we figured it would be convenient and cheaper to have him run a gas line (yes he has a gas license) for the stove.  Since we heat the house with natural gas we wanted to upgrade our old almond electrical stove to a new gas stove that we purchased at 30 % off from Lowes. The stove is original to the house (1993) so the new gas one would save us monthly on our electric bill. 
And since I am anal retentive and forward thinking, he also noticed that the furnace was drawing air from the basement instead of from the outside.  Not a problem when your basement is unfinished, but since spray foamed the workshop side, we eventually would spray foam the entire basement and build a couple of rooms down there (TV Room, Craft Room, etc...).  Again, killing 2(or 3) birds with one stone (plumber) seemed to be convenient. 
Pretty simple and straight forward?  Run gas line to new stove and install new water heater; quote $2300.  I don't mess with gas, plus NH requires a gas license and inspection and permits, we wanted it done by a licensed plumber.  Check, check, check.
This was last week. Water heater is installed and running great.
In the process of doing the intake on the furnace, they notice that the combustion pressure switch was bypassed!  They replace the switch and still the furnace will not fire.  Looking at the manual, the exhaust requires a 3" PVC pipe, but the original installers only used a 2" pipe.  Not a big deal.  During their 2 days of troubleshooting and taking tons of measurements and checking out the system, they find that the furnace is hitting the high limit and setting off that high limit switch.  This means that the temperature is going too high for the heating element and shutting off the element as a safety.  The blower continues running, but then only circulates cool air.  This will not work when the temperature outside is 0 degrees.
The plumber said the furnace is too large for the duct work or the duct work is too small for the furnace (however you want to slice).  Oh and the A Coil (Air Conditioner coil) is too small for the furnace as well.  No matter how you slice it all of these problems equals $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ that we weren't intending on spending!! 
The manual states that the supply duct work needs to be 390 sq in and the return needs to be 440 sq in.  Our supply is 231 sq in and our return is 264 sq in.  Only about 33% smaller than it needs to be :(
The plumber is looking into the least expensive option.  But may require a new furnace, a new A Coil, more duct work (with drywall work upstairs) or any combination of these things!!!
So, the original contractors mess up and now it is our problem!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My "project"

The other thing I have spent hours on lately is school research for Keira. She will be going into Kindergarten in the fall and we are started the process of trying to figure out where we would like to send her. We have decided that she will go to private Catholic or Christian school. Problem is there is so many choices around here!
There are 3 main schools that we are focusing on but there are at least 3 others that would fit the bill of private Catholic or Christian schools. Being my typical self I spend hours emailing friends and church members with their kids at these schools, asking principals questions about their schools, and looking up every thing from how often they have recess to what the publisher is of the theology texts. There are so many decisions to make. I know that she could probably get a great education at any of these schools but some of the questions that haunt me are:
Full day or half day kindergarten?
Weekly Mass at the school yes or no?
Is there enough play incorporated into the Kindergarten curriculum?
Is there enough recess / outdoor time?
Is foreign language a neccesity? ( she will be at these schools through 6th or 8th grade)
How important are extras like sports, art, PE, and music?
How important is location?
If we stay within the city limits she could ride the bus home ( first grade and up) and then I wouldn't have to worry about disrupting the younger kids nap routines. So is the ability to bus important to me?
The school identity... whats the school family like? What are the other kids she will be hanging out with all day like?
I could go on and on. We are scheduling school tours and hanging out at the schools during a school day to see what things are like.
So I research it all, find the answers, share my findings with Mike and discuss discuss discuss!
We will keep you posted!

Its raining leaves!

Nairi loves to look up at the sky and see the leaves floating everwhere. Its very entertaining for her!

She also enjoys eating the leaves!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Project backyard leaf clean up

Israel is always in on the mowing action

Mike wants me to point out that he is wearing my hat as he seems to have misplaced his own 2 hats.

Nairi gets to watch all of us work. Speaking of Nairi she now has 2 teeth and has had them for about a month. They appeared around 6 1/2 months. She is now pulling herself up to standing as well!

Looks like next weekend will also be devoting to leaf clean up. We have bagged around 10 bags of leaves last weekend and this weekend with plenty of leaves to fall yet. So different from our last house where we had MAYBE 2 bags of leaves all fall!

leaves everywhere

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Passed Out

I put Keira's ballet movie on for the kids while I was upstairs nursing the baby to sleep for her nap and came down and found this. Israel passed out from boredom. He NEVER falls asleep when watching TV. TV is a treat for them so its always fun and exciting. Except when you are Israel and you are watching a ballet movie apparently.

Another easy and cheap project!

The knob on the left is the new one and the knob on the right is the knob circa 1993. We bought a bunch of new knowb on ebay and Mike has been busy switching them out.

This have 1991 written all over them

Just some random cute kids making a smoothie and eating frozen berries.

There is hope for the wall papered walls...

The ugliness is all over this room!!! This wall paper HAS. GOT. TO. GO. Its so ugly!!!

We started taking it down. Its going to be slow going as wall paper removal always is but so excited to see some wall paper less wall! We already have the paint for the walls so this is the first step to the room make over.

Up close and personal with the busy ugly wall.