New Old Sideboard

We have a spot in our dining room for a sideboard or some sort of china cabinet.  I had been looking for one on craigslist for quite a while.  Every once in a while I’d see one I liked but the price was not ideal. Then shortly before Thanksgiving I saw this beauty posted on Craigslist.  I emailed them, and never heard back.  I figured someone else beat me to it.  Then I saw it reposted again after Thanksgiving.  I pounced!

I almost walked away when I saw it in person.  The pictures online didn’t show some damage it had on the top veneer and where one of the back legs was crudely repaired after a break.  I really liked the style and hardware on it, and knowing that I had never seen any other ones like this posted for sale,  I talked the guy down some $ and took it home. Sidenote: this was an Evan-approved purchase 🙂

I actually had no idea furniture this old used veneer, but I suppose it makes sense.  Anyhow, I found this awesome Youtube channel and got to work.  I cleaned off 100 years of gunk.  SO GROSS and yet so satisfying.  I fixed the back leg with some epoxy.  Whoever repaired it before me literally screwed a metal plate on it to connect the two pieces. I found a local antique place where I could get a “new” old wheel to replace one caster that was missing.  All the wheels are made out of wood – pretty cool.

The top was in rough shape. The veneer had water damage on one side and had lifted. Thanks to my Youtube dude, it was an easy fix.

Veneer is now flat, but it needed to be refinished to even it out.

Sanding and oxalic acid to lighten the water stains

You can still see the large water stain.  Sometimes there is nothing you can do about this.  I could technically get the top re-veneered but I can live with this as-is.

Staining the top.  Got lucky, found a cheapie minwax stain that pretty much matches the rest perfectly.

Here is a closeup of the hardware.  A lot of these craftsman-style sideboards are simpler, with wood drawer pulls.  I really like how these add some extra decoration to it.  It’s fancy without being FANCY, ya know?  The only thing it’s missing is a key to the drawers, but that’s OK.

The funny thing is – I usually hate oak furniture.  There is something special about tiger oak though…so pretty!  Next on the list would be to find a table that somewhat “matches” this.  Most of them I’ve seen are round/oval.  I prefer rectangular tables, so I’ll have to keep waiting.

PS: WordPress did some automatic update and wrecked this site hard.  I had to take down all my plugins so some things may look wonky until I fix it for realsies.

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Whidbey Island

A few weeks ago we went on a little daytrip out to Whidbey Island.  We took a ferry there, drove from the south end all the way to the north, which connects to the mainland by bridge so you don’t have to turn around and go back the same way to get home.

This first picture isn’t mine but it shows the view from Fort Casey.  This area is open to the public to explore, which is pretty cool.  They built this Fort ~100 years ago in case we needed to defend the Puget Sound area.  No guns were ever fired in conflict here, but many of the big guns (or replicas) remain.

In the lighthouse
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This is facing the Olympic peninsula/Olympic mountains.

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I know this is sideways.  I don’t know why.

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Then we continued on and went to Deception Pass State Park.  It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.  The pictures just don’t do it justice.  I accidentally left my big camera at home but I don’t know that it would have made much of a difference!


A photo posted by @pnwchristine on

There is a long, narrow strip of beach, a swimming hole area and campgrounds here.  It’d be tempting to go camping here but apparently the fighter jets from nearby Naval Air Station like to fly by when campers are trying to sleep.

If we were smarter we would have brought towels and changes of clothing and STUFF because we should know by now if you take little boys to a beach they will end up covered in seawater and sand no matter how cold it is.  Whoops.

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I almost forgot how to log in and make a post here.  Bad, I know.

Long story short: we moved in, found a flea problem and between that and my grad school classes it doesn’t look like much is being accomplished around the house.

Latest update: I haven’t seen any fleas in about a week.

And this:


Here is some food for thought/advice: it’s really hard to find a cello teacher.  It’s kind of a pain to transport a cello because it takes up a seat.  Cellos cost more money.  If you want easy logistics, play violin.  They teach violin lessons at the boys’ school, but only a beginners class.  PJ isn’t quite ready for that, plus he needs attachments.  ET is beyond that, cellowise.  So luckily the teacher who handles the year 2 class was willing to take on a cello.  This means that the violins in the class need to play in a different key to accommodate him, which is tolerable I suppose.  It’s a small class, there are 5 violins…and then Elliott.  Luckily he fits in ability-wise, though until last week he was the only boy.  The new boy had never seen a cello and was very impressed, so I think Elli is enjoying his “special” status.

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Finally, a house!

For us, the third time was the charm.  House #1 accepted our offer, and then the inspection revealed a LOT of expensive problems – an attic chock full of mold, a not terribly old but worthless roof, rotted decks, etc, etc.  House #2 supposedly accepted someone else’s offer, but the sellers have a messy divorce situation and I’m not entirely sure that they were being truthful.

House #3 almost wasn’t.  The pictures online were atrocious and we almost didn’t go see it.  The pictures were from a previous listing and weren’t sized right, so they were all pixelated.  It’s definitely not decorated anywhere near what we like, so it’s going to need a lot of paint before it feels like home.  It’s really similar in size and layout to our last house.

I had hoped to get some better pictures at our inspection…but the sellers were having a birthday party at that time, and so not only were they home, but so was all the birthday kid’s friends too.  Which meant I couldn’t measure stuff and photograph things without looking too jerky.

We did get to meet the sellers, who were very nice.  They are actually buying a house nearby that we also looked at (I swear we have seen EVERY house in this vicinity!).  Closing should be at the end of August if all goes well.  Here are some pics that I scrounged up from elsewhere.

One of the big selling points was the yard.  We looked at homes with 5 acres, and we looked at some with pretty much no yard at all.  This is a nice happy medium, about half an acre and a POOL, which I think is hilarious because it’s way too cold for this kind of nonsense.  It’s actually one of those above ground pools and if you walk around to the back side the yard slopes down and you can see the side of it.  The downside is there is an HOA, and i’m not sure if I can get away with chickens.  The rules do say you can have “caged birds” so I’m going to have to feel them out to see if that is something I can get away with.

family room
It’s a wee bit frilly in here right now.


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Not for the Squeamish

The weekend before last was a real doozy.  The super abbreviated version is that Elliott got hurt at a friend’s house and had to go to the ER but they fixed his problem and now he’s fine.

The long version includes a rusty nail and an ambulance ride.

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So…I learned it’s hard to pick the words you use when you tell your spouse you’re in the back of an ambulance with your firstborn who has a nail impaled into his face.  It’s also hard to play it cool with said child when you’re internally freaking out.


Both boys were down the street playing at a friend’s house.  That family also has two boys the same ages.  Apparently, there was a tent rain fly hanging in their backyard, it was nailed to a fence and to a tree on either end, and it made a fabulous fort for boys.  Somehow a hotwheels car ended up on top of it, and they were flipping up the edge of it trying to get the car down.  WELL, the ends of the rain fly had those elastic bungee cord type bits, and they kids somehow pulled enough on the fly to slingshot the nail right out of the fence and impale it into ET’s face.  The placement…impeccable.

The fire department showed up just before the ambulance got there, and they weren’t going to touch it with a ten foot pole.  The problem was, the dad found a nail that was about 4 inches long near where the boys were playing, but we had no idea how long the nail was that was in ET.  We also didn’t know how it happened…the paramedics kept asking the boys and they didn’t know either – which makes sense because they weren’t actually playing with any nails or sharp things.  For once.

So they had to transport us 30 miles away to a hospital with an appropriate trauma level and adjacent children’s hospital just in case of a worst-case scenario.  Evan was already in Portland for a soccer game, and I thought for sure he’d beat us to the hospital because he was so much closer.  Those ambulance drivers HAUL.  We got there crazy fast.  Elliott was a champ for the whole thing.  He was pretty freaked out, and he could definitely see the nail from his point of view, but he stayed calm.  Luckily the CT scan pictured above showed that the nail was much shorter than we thought, and it didn’t penetrate anything important or break any bones.  It was 4cm long in total, and it was about 2cm in, 2cm out.  I still have no idea how the heck they were able to launch it that hard into his skin.

The doctors were great, they knocked him out for a few minutes, pulled the nail out and gave him a tetanus shot.  No stitches needed, and he walked out with just a band-aid and a prescription for antibiotics.  He did have to have an IV put in for fluids and an initial dose of antibiotic, and he handled that like a champ.  I think the soreness from the tetanus shot was the worst part.

This picture was taken later in the same day.  No bigs.
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Lesson learned:

  1. Kids damage themselves even when they aren’t playing with dangerous things
  2. No more nose piercings allowed
  3. If you’re going to max out your medical deductible in one day make sure you get a good picture to take home to make it worthwhile.
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Oh my things have been CRAZY.

Summary: things are okay and our house is essentially sold.

Long Story: Two weeks ago we were getting ready for our house to be listed on the MLS.  That sunday we noticed a few odd bruises on Milo the dog.  Later that evening there was more broken blood vessels in his ears, on his gums, etc.  So first thing on monday I took him to his vet.

The vet took one look at him and then told me to go to an emergency hospital in Portland.  She didn’t even charge me to see him.  So instead of washing windows, Milo and I head to NW Portland and spend 4 hours there getting blood tests.  While I’m there waiting, Evan texts me to say that our house hit the MLS and the listing has gone live.  The vet called me back to a room and basically told me that Milo had no platelets, so no ability to clot blood – it was an autoimmune thing.  She gave him a very poor prognosis and suggested that I admit him to their hospital and begin some sort of chemo immediately.  The medicine was $1000 for a dose and she said she didn’t know if it would work.  I couldn’t believe it.  He was acting totally normal but if he injured himself he would basically hemorrhage.  He doesn’t even like having his nails clipped, and the kids had no idea that he was even “sick” so I declined treatment and took him home so they could say goodbye and prepare for the worst.  They gave me prednisone to give him.

So the next few days were teary and watching him like a hawk for any bad signs – meanwhile having to leave the house for showings every day or so.  Then I checked in with his vet again and she said that while this is serious, it isn’t always a death sentence and to keep him still/quiet and see if the prednisone helps.  I took him back several days later and his platelets had increased from basically 0 to 132.  200-500 is normal, so this was SUPER good news.  I took him back a few days ago and he is back into the normal range.
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On sunday we accepted an offer on our house from a very nice couple.  We close at the end of June-ish, so now we need to start looking for a new place for us.  We’re headed up to Washington the weekend of memorial day weekend to shop.  It sounds like their market is pretty hot, and we’ll have to be ready to pounce that day if we see something we really like.  So, like, not intimidating or stressful at all.

Next time I’ll have to post some before/after pics of the house.


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School Update

The boys are about 2/3 of the way done with this school year.  It’s hard to believe that PJ is almost done with Kindergarten and Elliott is going to be a 3rd grader soon.  Mostly because that makes me feel old.  The saying “The days are long but the years are short” is so true.

PJ is doing very well with reading.  He is sounding out a lot of words and is very close to reading a basic book all by himself.  Report cards at this age are funny/frustrating. He doesn’t like to do his worksheets in the morning and was willingly skipping recess in order to postpone doing them.  In other news he and a classmate Alayna have decided they are getting married and will have a party with soda and cake.  I got an invite from the bride herself from PJ’s backpack last week.


In other news PJ still loves Star Wars, Legos and playing outside in the farm fields.  He is a passionate fellow, telling me when I make food that displeases him and that (when he is mad at me) he will move to San Francisco once he is grown up.  Oookay.

Elliott is doing pretty well in school.  He is reading at a 4th/5th grade level (!!!) and oftentimes he’ll just disappear from the family room to go read his book in his bed.  It’s hilarious, he turns on their radio alarm clock pretty loud to listen to pop or hip hop while he is reading.  I have no idea how he can enjoy that, but he does…and I love it.  He struggles a bit with not distracting other people because he’s so chatty, but he gets good marks for participating and being generally pretty happy.  He reminds me a lot of myself (his desk is a disaster zone).  We are not very good at remembering to practice the cello as often as he should but he does pretty well with that too.  I’m not sure we’ll be able to continue with that in Washington yet.

Overall they are both doing well and still do just about everything together.  They say that in the new house they want their own rooms, though I think that PJ would have a harder time adjusting to that.

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Moving On Up

Way back in 2011, I painted the biggest room in our house navy blue and gold.

And then 6 months later we were moving to Portland.

So then, let’s see….3 houses later…summer of 2015 (yes that is almost one move every year!) I painted the biggest room in the house navy blue (Benjamin Moore Hale Navy).

And here we are.  6 months later.  MOVING TO WASHINGTON STATE.

Now…I am the first person to say that correlation does not equal causation.  But I think mayhaps next time I will let Evan paint his own room.

Right now I am in (and have been in) major house fixit mode trying to wrap up projects that I was in the middle of.  I’m re-finishing our back deck – almost done! – and I have pretty much all the interior paint done.  The outside of the house will be painted soon…we needed to do that regardless.

Evan will be tele-commuting with his new job until school is out in mid-june, so if we pull this off the way it looks in my head, our house will be fixed up and be listed for sale at the end of April, people will want to buy it right away, and then the kids will finish school and we will close the sale and move out shortly thereafter.  After that, who knows.  We have some temp housing available to us and will be shopping for a house somewhere in Snohomish County, Washington.  It’s pretty similar to where we are now.  A bit cooler temperature-wise.  The mountains are bigger, and it’s closer to the ocean.  And Canada.

So that is what we are up to now and will be working with for the next couple of months.  I will try to update here as we find out more info!

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Happy New Year

I have been so bad at keeping up with this blog lately.  We just got back from spending Christmas and New Years in Arizona.  The boys met their cousin Cameron for the first time, which was fun.  They got in one day of swimming in the pool, and also met up with their old daycare friends.


In other news, PJ is getting glasses next week.  I’ll have to update with a new post when that happens.

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A very wet week!

I don’t know if you’ve seen on the news, but the Portland area has been getting a lot of rain lately.  In the city of Portland, they’ve gotten bout 6 inches of rain in the last 5 days.  I’m not sure if we have more or less than that, but we have had a LOT of flooding here.  The field behind our house is FULL of water and it comes all the way up to the edge of our property behind our backyard.  The boys’ school bus has had to re-route because of road closures.

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Their bus usually goes down this road and then turns near where those rows of trees are on the upper left side.

The school itself hasn’t had any flooding so school has been open as usual.  Speaking of school, I was hired as the school “librarian,” technically, a library clerk since they don’t have librarians anymore.  It’s a pretty sweet gig, only 5 hours a week.  On my off days I can sub for school aides if they need a substitute, and it’s pretty convenient with the kids!

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