A little demo project.

So, to all of you who have seen our kitchen in person (or in photos), notice anything different?


Nope…we still have that ugly linoleum and horrid light fixtures. It isn’t so much about what is there, but more about what is not there anymore...


THAT cabinet that has been the bane of my existence since we moved into our house. I cannot tell you how many times I have hit my head on THAT awkwardly placed cupboard, or how broken up our kitchen felt and looked with it hanging out right down the middle of the kitchen.

So my hair-brained idea that has been stewing for a few years -  just take the whole cabinet out. Earlier this week I started Operation Destroy Cabinet and cleaned the cupboard out, reorganized the kitchen so we could “live with it” for a few days to make sure we could really do without the storage…and happily I can report we don’t need the extra space!

Then today, as I was prepping the trim to get a fresh coat of paint I simply thought “out loud” and my sweet husband knew that it was coming down one way or another. So he (only mildly grumbling that I waited til the END of the weekend to hint about the cabinet’s demise) set about to taking it down for me. About an hour later with a little help from Jeff, we have an incredible open and spacious kitchen.

Addie is excited because when the girls help me bake we can all work and not be crowded under the cabinet. I’m excited because I can see out my the windows when I’m in the kitchen – I can see from one end to the other! And…no more cranking my head. Yeah, definitely that, too.

Whew…Another Weekend Down.

But even though this weekend was non-stop packed, it was just a beautiful weekend all around.

We began on Friday with “THE” phone call that we had officially closed on the house. It was a wee bit anti-climactic since we didn’t get handed keys, didn’t get to drive by our new house slowly relishing in the thought of a “new home,” and didn’t even get to move all of our junk from one place to the other. Oh…wait – we have a new “house” and didn’t have to move! All good, yes.

In fact, we celebrated our new place with a rockin’ Spring Boutique. I think that my dear Erin may have taken a photo or two, so maybe I can talk about our crafty fun tomorrow with some photos.

Saturday we started making our “to-do” list and finding a few little things here and there that make a huge difference. All bets are off now – we are kind of house improvement obsessed. We spent this afternoon ripping out all of the overgrown bushes and flowerbeds in the backyard. And I have the sunburn and achy muscles to prove it. Addie is beside herself with excitement. She is itchin’ to plant a garden! And flowers! And anything that she can get dirty doing! Each flowerbed that we uncovered she was ready to replant, I had to keep telling her, “Soon, baby. Soon.”  I did remember to take photos before the deconstruction of the jungle, but I forgot to take photos before J. demo’d the rotten (literally – the wood was completely rotten!) pergola/arbor/thingy. I’m so disappointed because it makes such a huge difference in the backyard.

Even the small things make great changes. Like Daddy and Addie took the babygate at the top of the stairs down…and now it is crazy how different our hallway feels. While they were taking it down I made a little sigh and Addie asked me, “Do you still need the gate, Mama?” I said, “I still need you to be little enough to need the gate.” And she shot back with, “Well, you should put a brick on my head, Mama!”

Don’t think I wouldn’t try if I thought it would stop her from growing or stop time – for even a few minutes. But instead time marches on…and we are off since we still have lots more work to do.

Thank Goodness It Is Monday…

…now we can rest!

THAT was an insanely crazy weekend and I’m looking forward to a hopefully slower-paced week so we can all get a little rest and recuperating done.

Thank you for all of your well-wishes, presents and phone calls on Em’s birthday yesterday. She had a blast and truly felt loved. She even told me that yesterday was the best birthday EVER. No pressure for next year or anything!

Since we had a big party last year, I told her we needed to keep it small this year. She invited a few of her friends and we went to Common Thread, a sewing studio and lovely Jin helped the girls make monster pillows.


You should totally stop in for a class or visit with Jin and her cute puppy, Lucca – it is such a cool place!


Next we went to Mix ‘N Munch for lunch. They have gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches…and about 50 different kinds of cereal. Yes. Like cold cereal and milk. But…that is what Em wanted and that is what she got.


(Like how Daddy is clearly feeling outnumbered by all of the girls as he sits patiently in the back corner?)

Then we walked down for a little Menchie’s treat. Again, Em’s choice.


I love that pic of Em. She had something in her eye and I didn’t realize it when I took the photo – but I love that she looks like she is winking. Such a cute 8-year old!

What a blessing it is to know that Em has such a great group of girls to depend on and have fun with!


Some of the girls went home at that point, but the party didn’t stop. Em decided she wanted her ears pierced. Yeah, I know she doesn’t look too sure of it here…


…but she powered through…


…and now has some bling!


And is also now obsessed with cleaning/turning/admiring them.

So it was a pretty full birthday. Throw in a jog-a-thon, Girl Scout meeting, birthday dinner, a Silent Auction for the girls’ school, bringing in 200 pairs of shoes the Brownies collected for Japan, a little bit of gardening and…oh, YEAH…signing all the paperwork on OUR HOUSE, and it was a pretty full weekend, too.

C’mon, Monday. Bring it.

The word on the street.

Sorry that I’ve been a bit absent but I’ve been off in a corner biting my tongue. I have been all-consumed with house happenings pretty much 24 hours a day for the past three weeks, and I didn’t trust myself to not talk about it since it has been ALL that has been on my mind. But I think it is safe to say we are indeed buying our house! Yes, it is true.

So here’s the backstory for those of you who maybe haven’t been on this long four-year journey with us. (Family and friends you can skip all of this, if ya want.) When we first moved back to California, 5 years ago it was at the height of the crazy real estate boom. We decided to rent until we could figure out what area to live in, where the good schools were, etc. – and we found a place to rent that we looooved! And then, the dog moved in. And we had to move out.

It was about that time that I met Ann, our real estate agent, and she started a hunt for a house for us. We saw so many houses but just couldn’t justify all that money for hardly nothing of a house. And then Ann suggested that maybe we would like to rent a house? She had friends moving out of a great house in a great neighborhood with…great schools. Perfect.

So we moved in, four years ago this week. I remember when we pulled up to look at the house, I told Ann that I wasn’t really fond of Spanish style homes. And then I walked into our house and said, “Huh. Well, I guess I do like Spanish style houses.” And we’ve been loving on our house ever since. We repeatedly told the property manager that when the landlord wanted to sell…we wanted to buy.  But the landlord’s plan was to move back here after he retired, so staying here was always kind of an elusive dream for us.

And then, very unexpectedly, our landlord passed away and we have kind of been in a bit of limbo for a few months. Meanwhile our amazing Ann has been tirelessly helping us for the past FOUR YEARS, and a few weeks ago she calls me and says that the trust is putting our house on the market.

After the shock wore off, and J. brought me down from the edge of hysteria, reality set in and we set to work determining if this house was truly in our cards or not. Ann let me drag her to every house for sale in our neighborhood so we could be certain that ours really was the “one.” And I did honestly go into each of the other homes with an open mind, but I knew in my heart, I know in my heart, that our house is the home for us. After all, this is really the only home that Em and Ad remember. And we have built an amazing network, community and circle of friends. We have put down roots, and for the first time in our almost 18 years together, I really feel like J. and I are finally somewhere we can stay and both be happy forever.

And now we have the added bonus of having a great house (the inspector said that it has very good bones that will be around for 300+ years) that now we can really pour our time and energy into. Oh, and it is going to need a whole bunch of both of these, let me tell you.

So we are not completely official yet, but we are in escrow and all is looking very good. Hopefully we will close in a few weeks, and you better believe we will have a little celebrating to do here at Chaos.

It is a pretty good excuse for being so very absent her on the old blog, don’t you think? Forgive me?

Looking for an hour I seemed to have misplaced.

Anyone seen it? Actually I could use a few extra hours, but that measly little one hour we lost last night? Oooh it really, really hurts!

Each year that confounded Daylight Savings Time sneaks in, and for at least a good three days, manages to create total and complete chaos around here. This weekend is no exception. And to make things worse, my official clock-changer is out of town. So all day I’ve been walking around asking myself, “did I already change that clock? Is that one that changes automatically? Gah! What time is it??”

I am pleased to report that although it is only 8pm here, I have managed to wrangle the girls into bed and I’m fairly certain they are already asleep, too. We had a full, but fun, weekend which happily allowed for lots of good “play” time for the girls. Lately it has been a little high stress around here, and although I only let the girls do a few activities that they really want to do…I have been feeling the schedule-heavy days weighing on everyone a bit. So they got to spend a good 6 hours just “playing” yesterday while the Mommys frantically tried to finish the school pottery project.

When we were getting ready to go, the crew of kids invited the Moms back into one of the bedrooms where they had been playing…to attend the opening of their art gallery.


They had hung all of their artwork they had created throughout the afternoon, around the bedroom on fishing line. It was most excellent. I was so happy to tuck them in last night knowing they had an incredible time without one minute of TV, computer time, or other electronic gadget. Just pure imagination and fun, gotta love that.


And today they spent a few hours running around outside with our friend Charlie, playing Nerf dartguns. A complete novelty for my girls – but again, running outside, just being kids. That is the best antidote for busy weeks, I think.

I, on the other hand, didn’t get much “play” time. And although I still can’t really talk much about it yet, the short version is we are trying really hard NOT to move. We are trying to buy our house – the house that we have been renting for nearly 4 years. And if you know anything at all about California real estate, you can understand my constant tension headache. But, we are praying it will all work out. And while J. was traveling last week he got this in his fortune cookie…


…if that isn’t a sign?

I am thankful we are at least in action mode, instead of “let’s just wait and see” mode. Because let me tell you, I do not do good in limbo situations. I gotta plan. I gotta know what is what. And right now I gotta go figure out some more numbers and try to get to bed early to find that elusive extra hour I am missing.

Sometimes a small appliance is just the thing.

I may be a little odd, but two of my favorite birthday gifts have been small appliances. Before you get all up-in-arms and wondering how anyone could purchase an appliance or household “present” for a birthday gift, let me explain…

My brother-in-law used to work at Williams Sonoma and got a sweet deal on a Kitchen-Aid one year and gave it to me for my birthday. That mixer has moved from San Mateo to Chicago, to Naperville, to Pasadena and now to San Gabriel with me, that is four different moves,  plus it gets used on a weekly (many weeks, much, much more!) basis.  It is perfect when you have baking “helpers” and I can honestly say that I LOVE that mixer. It is the one thing in the kitchen that I can’t imagine doing without. It is also one of those things that I would never buy for myself, no matter how much I really wanted one.

And I have always told everyone it was one of my favorite gifts ever.

Until last week. Now I am in love with another appliance. Not that it can replace the Kitchen-Aid, but it is another “can’t do without” tools in my keeping house repertoire. Allow me to introduce my new love. The Scooba.

A few days after we moved into the new house, I kept noticing (and complaining!) that our feet were soooo dirty. And unless I mopped every room, every day I didn’t see how I was going to keep our feet and the floors clean. Every inch of the 2700sf of our house is either hardwood floor, Spanish tile, or (in the kitchen!) icky linoleum. I had (kind of) joked that I was going to have to buy a Scooba just so we wouldn’t have to wash our feet before bed every night.

And two days later J. said that my Birthday gift had arrived early and I could open it. He seriously picks up on the smallest hints, even if they were not intended as hints. Again, this was one of those things that I would like to have, but would never really spend the money on, and J. also knew that.*

But the thing is freakin’ amazing. I have “Scooba’d” every room in the house…at least once. Some rooms, like the kitchen, get “Scooba’d” almost daily. It is awesome. Pour in some detergent and water, set it down, push a button. It sweeps and mops the entire floor.  The coolest part, and this might be some crazy sickness I have, is opening the tank and seeing all of the dirty water. I mean, we are talking some serious dirt here. It gets it all!

Emma and Addie think the “robot” is so cool. The cats don’t know what to think, and our “little Emma” friend is terrified of it. She won’t use the bathroom when she is at our house because I keep it in the little bathroom to charge when it is not “working,” and she thinks that it is a real “robot.” But, for the most part it has become a part of our family.

And if coveting and drooling over mundane housekeeping tools makes me strange, well, so be it. At least I have clean floors without having to spend my days mopping!


*Anyone interested in actually buying a Scooba, should check out Amazon’s remanufactured models. That is where J. got it and it works fantastically. It is also half the price of a new model, and he got it even further on sale when it was listed as one of the Friday specials!