Thursday, August 4, 2011


"puppies... it was the best of times, it was the worst of times"

on sunday we picked up otto!!!  he's a big ball of fur and love and has been a lot of fun so far, but also a lot of work.  he came from a home with 8 litter mates, four adult dogs, and 4 kids under the age of 8 plus a stay at home mom so he had a lot of activity and company at all times.  when we leave him in the crate, he starts barking... but we have learned that as long as are sure he has gone to the bathroom, if we ignore him, in only a couple minutes, he stops.  we also have bought a large stuffed animal to put in the crate him since he was sleeping with one of his litter mates and we put one of trevor's tshirts in there  so he will be reminded of us.  he likes to look at his reflection in the sliding glass door, sleep under tables, and runs into things a lot since he doesn't seem to be able to turn his legs fast enough when running.

in other fun news, he eats everything and his breath smells like pee :(

per the vets suggestion, last night we gave him a "greenie"- these chew toys that are supposed to be good for keeping them entertained and for cleaning their gums and teeth.  we thought oh great we can give him one of these every day.  he is eating it while we are eating dinner- all of a sudden he jumps up and it's nowhere to be found... we're thinking, "what?  did you swallow the damn thing?!"  turns out he did... so we call the vet and wind up bringing him to the vet at 9pm.  fortunately the vet said it would likely dissolve in his stomach but there was a risk that it could get lodged in his stomach or intestines and we would need to monitor him very closely over the next several days.  we set our alarm for every 2 hours to wake up last night to check on him but he seems to be doing ok.  still don't know how he even got that thing down his throat!!  after this very traumatic night he slept very soundly and was good the whole night.

we have two girls across the street that are home schooled high school students.  they are pretty much the sweetest people ever, so they will be watching him during the day while i'm at work.  they will come over twice a day to feed him, take him out, and play with him and take him on a walk.   we're so lucky to  have such great neighbors like them that we can trust!

here are some videos and pictures to entertain you....

yes, there is classical music playing in this video.... we play it for him in the mudroom so he is less lonely

Friday, July 22, 2011

living room before and after

Just a quick post to show some pictures of our latest painting project- the formal living room.
the room was previously a butter yellow.  we had the floors refinished, painted the ceiling, painted the trim ivory, and painted the walls in Benjamin Moore squire hill buff and nantucket gray (which is more of a green than a gray).

before and after shots for your viewing pleasure!

This was taken on our first visit to the house- the previous owner had made part of the living room her "game room"
 this is a picture of the other half of the room, which goes towards the front of the house:

and after our work (pictures taken on iphone, not as clear)....

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Introducing Otto :)

As most of you know we have decided to get a goldendoodle puppy!  this was a long awaited decision.  Both of us are dog lovers and I miss my dog who lives at home with my parents.  In our apartment, we were not able to have a dog so that is basically why we bought a house- just kidding :).  Trevor has been begging for a dog for months now and although life is a bit crazy right now we figure why not do it with a puppy :)

We found a breeder online and did a bunch of research.  We wound up being the first pick in the litter of 7 males and one female and went to pick out the puppy last weekend.  It was an extremely hard decision because they were all so adorable!!  However we somehow managed to slowly narrow it down to leaving us with only two.  Using my powers of persuasion, I convinced Trevor to get the one that I really wanted, with a good shaggy coat and a blended caramel color hair.  We are naming him Otto after Otto the Orange, the syracuse mascot (the most adorable and unintimidating mascot EVER), since Trevor is from Syracuse we feel we can bring a little syracuse into our home in NJ.

We will be picking up the puppy on the 31st.  yes this is the day after our housewarming party for friends but i really did not think it was a good idea to have a new puppy at that party and we also  have to be careful as to who hes exposed to until he has had all his vaccines.
Enjoy the photos and video below from the day we picked him out!

The trenton farmer's market, new furniture, and our garden

in my last post I wrote very excitedly about the trenton farmer's market and wanted to share some pictures of our experience with everyone.  It is technically in lawrenceville, and it is HUGE!  it is open all day year round.  we really enjoyed walking around and buying fresh fruit and vegetables, meat from the amish market, and even eggs, granola, honey, and fresh mozzarella.   I am thinking we will go here maybe once a month to get some nice things on a regular basis.

Additionally in the past few weeks we got our furniture delivered and have been enjoying rearranging it and actually having places to sit and sleep now :)  here is a funny video of trevor sitting in his recliner for the first time- which by the way is the most expensive piece of furniture we have bought so far!

And lastly I wanted to share some pictures of our garden and the plants we have around the yard.  we were quite fortunate to buy a home that already had some wonderful landscaping done because the woman we bought the house from, her son is a landscaper.  when we met some of our neighbors they were proudly telling us that they helped launch his career when years ago as a kid they hired him to mow their lawn.  apparently his career took off from there.  He even cut our lawn one last time the day we closed on the house.  anyways i definitely appreciate all the work that was put into the yard previously as it makes our yard feel much nicer and personalized and gives us some more privacy and defined space from our neighbors.  we've decided that this is not the summer to add more plants, we'll just work on the inside of the house this year- and next year after living here for a year we can add more to the yard.  eventually i would like to plant some more privacy bushes in our backyard to seperate our yards from our neighbors more but for now I am ok with it!  The outdoors is a whole other set of tasks to tackle from identifying the plants to learning how to care for each of them, but fortunately both my parents are very well knowledgeable in this area and have been helping us out!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

update from this past weekend

I recently updated settings on the blog so that it gets emailed to those of you that i think actually want to see this on a regular basis.  before i thought you could "subscribe" to the blog, but after conferring with blog expert brother, I have been advised that I need to manually choose who this gets emailed to.  apparently it can only be emailed to 10 people, so congratulations you made the cut.  (let me know if you don't want to get these emails!)

so last weekend was a nice long weekend.  we spent ALL day saturday doing the deck.  combind it took us over 6 hours.  WORST thing ever.  painting each individual rail is what took the longest time, and maneuvering around the bushes we have on the other side of the deck.  on sunday, my parents came over with baba my grandmother to have lunch and show her the house.  it was her first time there, she liked it but of course advised us, in her typical candor, that our dining room was too small and we needed pictures. :)  i told her we are getting around to that at some point! 

we have our housewarming party for friends planned for july 30th, we're very excited to show everyone our hard work!  but before then a lot needs to be done.  we will need to accomplish a lot this weekend!  we are planning on painting the living room, swapping out the rug in the family room, and moving furniture into the living room. 

also on saturday we get to go pick out our goldendoodle puppy!  we'll be picking up the puppy for good on july 31st (day after the housewarming party).  we are first pick of the litter  of 7 males.  we have already picked a name, otto, after otto the syracuse orange (mascot). 
i'll be sure to post some more pictures soon as i know this blog has been lacking!

Friday, July 1, 2011

home depot is a 2nd home

In the past few weeks we have been to home depot countless number of times.  More than once I have been there at opening hour in order to beat the "paint line rush hour" of mid day.  I'm starting to get to the point where I know the majority of the staff, they're recognizing me, and when I see someone from paint in the electrical department my first thought is "what's the paint guy doing over here".

we just returned from another eventful trip, bought a new rug at the rug sale for our family room.  i'm not sure if the colors are right, so we'll have to test it out.  we also got some wood to build a ramp for our shed out back.  our lawnmower has been taking up our garage for the past few weeks, so it will be good to get that out of there.

and our other major project for this weekend is to stain/seal the deck.  Although the deck is in decent shape, we aren't sure when the last time was that she stained it and some parts are kind of fading- we were thinking we would just seal it, but the HD friends said its better to do the stain with sealer built in.  HD seems to be pretty keen on selling these "combo" products, like paint and primer in one etc so i was skeptical but too tired to debate it with them.  our deck is very dark so they said to try and just match it to the best of our ability.  our thoughts are we will tackle that first thing tomorrow morning and then go to the farmer's market!!!

i have literally been looking forward to the trenton farmer's market for WEEKS now.  we heard about it from our neighbor (bob aka jonathan, the man that put out the fire).  he has lived in the area his whole life and worked there growing up and now his son is working there.  it's a massive farmers market with tons of vendors, even a fish market, jeweler, and baker come there every day all year round.  i am SO excited to see what its like!! originally we thought we would go there first thing in the morning but i guess with the deck we will wait until the afternoon.  I'll be sure to post later this weekend on how the farmer's market was, with pictures of course!

our house has been coming along pretty well.  our family room is completely painted and furniture moved in, we just need to decorate with pictures and change out the rug.  the new floors look great, i can't really even remember what the carpets looked like!  i am really glad we did that even though it was a big expense, I know it was worth it to improve the value of the home in the long run.  our bedroom has been painted and we love our new bedroom furniture.  Later this weekend i'll take some more pictures and show you the status of each room right now!

Hope everyone has exciting, fun, and relaxing plans for the holiday weekend.  ttyl!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

painting, floors, and a FIRE!

we've had a busy week and have accomplished a lot with the house!  After three weeks of scraping, sanding, and spackling, we've finally gotten to the stages where we are ready to paint!

We started by priming three rooms upstairs- two bedrooms and the office, these will be our initial focus for painting.
Last weekend I was at a bridal shower in PA and was gone the entire day.  Trevor was a hero and painted all three rooms the first coat himself!  When I got back the next day we finished the other three rooms with the help of our parents.

Verizon Fios also was installed, but we don't have our tv our furniture in yet so we sit on picnic chairs and watch on our tiny tv.  the cool thing is there is an iphone app for fios so we can control the tv through our iphones!

Michael, Dad, and Trevor worked on removing all the carpet upstairs. Katie helped to remove all the nails and staples that had tacked the carpet down.  tada!!  beautiful oak floors were hidden under the ugly carpet for all these years!  We still have no idea why she put carpet down in the first place.  In the pictures below you can see our finished paint job (aside from trim work) but the old floors:

Guinness had one final run around the living room before the floors were redone:

We had our floors refinished the past couple days by a flooring company.  this involved them sanding and using an oil based finish on the wood.  We had heard this was a very messy job that would create a lot of dust all over the house but were pleasantly surprised, it was not messy at all.  the guys did a great job at cleaning up the dust that was left over.

Here;s what the floor looked like right after sanding:

And here's what it looked like after the finishing was redone... I will take pictures of all the rooms soon and post them over the weekend.  for now, this is all i could see from the foyer!

There was another adventure that occurred with the hardwood floors.  The workers left their garbage which included oil covered rags in garbage bags at the end of our driveway.  I thought nothing of it, but apparently the heat of the very hot weather caused this to burst into flames when we were not at the house!! fortunately, our neighbor saw it burning and ran and got his fire extinguisher and put it out.  We felt so bad, and were so grateful he was there to look out for us, that we made him brownies and brought them to him today to say thank you.

here's trevor after we learned about the fire.  best part about this video is the next day we found out his name is jonathan, not bob.  just another way we are impressing our neighbors.  *sigh*

Monday, May 30, 2011

Moms to the Rescue!

Memorial day weekend- we had parties with friends and family on both Saturday and Sunday which were great but meant we had only Monday to truly dedicate to the house.

Trevor's Mom came for a visit on Sunday night and we went to Home Depot late that night right before closing to get our first Weber Grill!  She bought it for us as a housewarming gift which was so awesome and we are so excited about it.  We were adventurous and crammed the grill (boxed up) in my Murano trunk with me driving, Trevor's mom in the front seat, and Trev crammed into the remaining crevices of the trunk to drive home with it that night.  Today (Monday), both Moms came over to help on the house.  Trevor worked on setting up the grill for an hour or so this morning but unfortunately we are missing some of the bolts needed to complete the set up, so we need to call Weber to get them this week.

My mom and I went to work on painting the ceilings and were able to do it in the dining room, the upstairs bathroom, the master bedroom, the office, and the two guestrooms.  WOW I could not believe how tiring and hard paiting the ceiling was.  It was definitely much harder than I expected.  I had paint all over my hair, face, and clothes.  I also fell off the ladder once and have some nasty bruises.  It also is pretty straining on your neck, back, and legs to be looking up the whole time to paint but after a couple rooms, we got down a system and started moving along quickly.  Trevor's mom helped get the kitchen ready by lining the shelves with a new liner and cleaning out drawers.  We practiced testing some paint samples in various rooms and are starting to figure out the colors we want in various rooms,  but before we get there, we still have more ceilings to paint, we need to touch up the ceilings that were done today and give them a second coat, and buy paint at the various stores.

We are so grateful that our moms were here this weekend to help us out!  it definitely made the time go by faster and we got a lot accomplished.

My brother Michael comes home from Paris tomorrow and we will appreciate some extra hands in the free time he may have to come help us out too.

Below is a video of Trevor starting to remove carpet from the stairs:

Friday, May 27, 2011


After closing, we picked up subs at our favorite pizza place, Vito's  and brought them back to the house where we sat on the floor eating our sandwiches and drinking champagne to celebrate the exciting first moments of owning a home.
here we are right after closing

about to walk into our house for the first time!

champagne and subs

We then took before pictures of all the rooms to remember what the house looked like in its current state.

Two things about the house (in its current state) that are irritating:  
1.  wallpaper everywhere!!!  this was our first challenge to undertake.
2.  where there is no wallpaper, there is creative and ugly stenciling.  (see example below)

there were 3 bedrooms, one dining room, and one bathroom that needed to have wallpaper removed.  We actually started removing paper in one of the bedrooms the night of closing and spent the entire first weekend removing all the paper.

It was a complicated process because there was a variety in the amount of time and way in which the wallpaper had been done.  Some wallpaper had been applied relatively recently, probably about 15-20 years ago, and although timeconsuming, did come off more easily.  We scored the paper, sprayed it with wallpaper removal gel/solution, and then scraped it off, then scraped off the remaining glue.  In other rooms, we learned that the paper had been on for probably about 30-40 years.  We learned that using the traditional scoring/spraying/scraping method did not work well in these rooms as it was tearing off the paint as well.  so we had to literally just chisel this wallpaper off.  There were three "easier" rooms and two of the more difficult rooms.  Here's a video of some of the process for us so far (and the mess we've been making)

it was definitely an exhausting process but we are so happy the paper is off because the rooms look bigger and it's definitely already increased the value of our home in removing the paper.  

Unfortunately, the scraping process left many many holes in the walls and the next step was using spackle to seal up the holes, then sand.  we bought a ryobi sander with a built in vaccuum but the dust still goes EVERYWHERE all over the house.  we have spent multiple days just cleaning off all the dust and wiping down the walls after the spackle dries so that we will be able to prepare for painting.

One of the things Trevor has been looking forward to, and talking about for MONTHS is mowing the lawn.  Here's a video after he mowed the lawn for the first time!