My dad is a pretty handy guy to have around, he is the kind of guy that can fix, build or make anything related a house, restoring/maintaining a car, boat, houseboat, RV and pretty much anything else.  Growing up our garage was like a mini Home Depot and my parents are the kind of people who will take on these projects themselves rather than hiring someone to do it for them.   I remember spending hours in the garage with my dad while he taught me how to change the oil in my car and we spent countless hours washing our cars, RV, boats and if I didn’t do something right or good enough he would make me do it again, and again until it was done correctly.  Of course I hated him for that at the time, but now I get it…  When I went off to college my dad sent along with me a tool bag complete with a power drill.  So those habits rubbed off on me.  Justin worked construction for a few summers and is pretty handy himself and likes to do things with his hands.  He also was hired by his parents friends as a kid to wash & detail their cars and he spent many hours working at his parents salon.  So we both were raised to be do it “yourselfers” and are always looking for the next project to do.

I have been wanting new carpet for a long time, pretty much since we bought our place.  We’ve done so many other projects around our house but the carpet never got replaced.  We decided that we would get new carpet when I got pregnant before the baby came…little did we know that would take 3 years…but the time is here and we started carpet shopping/research.  These house projects are dangerous because one thing always leads to another and we end up doing 7 projects when we intended to do one.  When we had the carpet guy over to give us a quote and measure out the square footage we mentioned that we didn’t necessarily need carpet in our vanity area of our bathroom because we were planning to put tile there.  Of course he suggested getting that done before the carpet was installed so we wouldn’t get the new carpet dirty, which lead to other things we wanted to get done before the carpet was installed, like moving electrical into the hallway, cleaning out the guest bedroom & closets, painting the nursery, etc…So the new carpet set off the domino effect of projects to get done.  Anyone who has done these kind of things knows that these projects ALWAYS take longer than expected.

First up was electrical…Our 2nd bedroom served as a guest room, storage place and office.  Since we got rid of pretty much everything in that room and closets so it could serve as a nursery, we needed to create some sort of office area for our computer, printer, etc… So we ripped out a built in cabinet that was in our hallway and put in a counter and added a smaller cabinet for office supplies and to house our printer/scanner, voila instant office!  the only problem was there was no electrical to plug everything in.  So we had an electrician come out and move some electrical into the office area and install the fixings in the ceiling of the nursery so we could hang a fan.  Done!

Next up was tile…as I mentioned the vanity area of our bathroom was carpeted, ewww, I know.  And the tile that was in the shower/toilet part of the bathroom was this really annoying rock tile that was impossible to keep clean.  Funny, because I remember the flier when we were buying our house and that was a selling point, “New Rock Tile in Bathrooms!!” I couldn’t wait to rip it up.  At first we planned to rip out the shower and replace that as well, but since there was some tricky plumbing involved we didn’t feel comfortable doing it all without the help of a professional.  We got some quotes from 3 different contractors and it was going to end up being a $5,000-6,000 project.  So we decided to leave the shower alone and just redo the floors.  We (Justin) ripped up the rock tile and carpet and thanks to my dad for letting us borrow his tile saw (from his mini Home Depot garage) we installed nice clean 12×24 subway tiles.  It made a world of difference!  Justin did most of the work on this project, I was his assistant handing him what he needed (including a beer here and there, we were having a heat wave!) and holding tile during some tricky cuts in the saw. Halfway through the project I told him I was feeling kind of guilty that I couldn’t help him with a lot of the heavy labor stuff, he smiled and said “That’s okay, you can repay me in a few months when you go into labor.”  Yep, that’s the kind of man I married 🙂  Done!

Then there was paint…Justin and I have pretty much painted our entire house literally from top to bottom.  Now being pregnant, I wasn’t too comfortable with being exposed to paint fumes for a long period of time, so Justin’s parents offered to come help and the three of them painted the nursery walls and hung a new fan while I cleaned out more stuff around the house. Done!

Finally, carpet…This was the one thing that didn’t require any work on our part, except it did.  We removed all the baseboards in our bedroom.  We had to pack up and move all the small things and everything that was at the bottom of our closets downstairs.  By now the nursery was empty so after carpeting that room, all the furniture in our bedroom was moved in there.  After the carpet was all in, we had to move everything back.  But it was SO worth it!  Done!

Start the nursery…After many trips to Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby, online research and reading Baby Bargains we finally made a choice on a crib and dressers.  The main reason why we choose the one we did was because of the height of the dressers, all the ones we looked at were so short, since one dresser will also serve as a changing table I kept picturing us tall people bending over changing thousands of diapers and it made my back ache just thinking about it.  We came across a set that was much “taller” than the rest and I was excited to find a tall person’s dresser.  If you didn’t already know most baby furniture takes 8-13 weeks to be delivered, of course that was the case with the set we decided on.  With the crib, I didn’t mind waiting that long since the baby would be in our room for the first few months anyway, but I needed the dressers so I would have a place to put all the clothes and everything else we will be getting in the months to come.  So after some phone calls to Buy Buy Baby we were told that they had all 3 pieces in stock (yay!) so we didn’t have to wait 8-13 weeks, but we also needed to buy it right away before someone else did.  There was a hold on one dresser, so we waited a few days and they called and said that the other people didn’t want the dresser so all 3 pieces were ours and they would put our name on them and hold them for us for a week.  So we go to Buy Buy Baby the next day to confirm that they had everything and purchase it.  Like everything else, it was not an easy ordeal.  To make a long story short, they told us that they only had 1 dresser in stock, not the other dresser and they didn’t have the crib.  Of course we were frustrated since we were told on the phone that they had all 3 in stock and were on hold for us.  So after much back and forth looking in the back stock room and checking the inventory at another store a few hours away, we ended up with 3 people helping us including the manager.  After an hour and a half they “found” our crib in the back with our name on it so now we had a crib and one dresser.  So we negotiated buying the other dresser off the floor display since it was in good shape.  Justin was able to work out a deal and we had 20% off coupons for each item plus 10% off the dresser from the floor, we made arrangements to pick it up a few days later.  When we went to get the furniture, the dresser from the floor display was all packaged up in a box and at first we thought oh, how nice they packaged it up for us.  Then the manager came and told us that a new one came in sometime in the last few days and they gave us the new one (and we still had the 10% discount)!  So with a little help from some friends we now have furniture in the nursery. Done!

Making room for baby…I know the baby itself is just another person and will not take up that much space.  It’s everything that comes with the baby that I need to make room for!  We had an old bookshelf in the corner of our living room that I cleaned out and we got rid of, so now we have a good sized empty space.  We put up some shelves for the books and the space below is going to be for the swing and other baby toys, blankets, etc…I just need to get some baskets or some kind of dresser to house those things.

Other than some finishing touches to the nursery, the only other thing we need to get done is install new baseboards in our bedroom and bath. It has been a pretty fast-paced, hard-working few months, with countless trips to Goodwill, ACE Hardware, Home Depot and the dump, but now we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. From now until the end of the year we have lots of fun things planned like baby showers, birthday parties, holiday parties, so I am glad we got all this done when we did. And everything looks great!

Here’s Apollo supervising Justin working on the tile.

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