Friday, March 28, 2014

Baby Fever

Look out world, there's another Kelleher on the loose! My brother and sister-in-law welcomed their beautiful little girl yesterday morning. Her name is Cecilia Rose - the perfect name for a perfect princess. They had a fast, easy labor, which makes us all so thankful because the pregnancy was not fast and easy. Ceci's mom is a trooper, and deserves many presents for her last 9 months of hard work!

We love you Ceci!

And now you're going to get Baby Bombed!

The thing about 30 is that you and your friends start feeling the whole biological clock thing. It is so fun to watch all our close friends start their families, and it means Everett has a lot of sweet babies to play with these days.




Monday, March 24, 2014


And now comes the answer to everyone's question: what the HELL are the Wirths doing about their house situation? We have been asking ourselves this same question for the last 6 months. After sleepless nights and countless budget discussions, Jeff and I have decided to STAY in our current house and fix it up.

Here is our reasoning:

When we were first looking for houses four years ago, we were immediately drawn to our little green bungalow and all its raw potential. It is the epitome of the "Adorable Spokane South Hill Bungalow," but it was a fraction of the price because it is on a semi-busy arterial. Seeing all the features of a house we wanted long-term at a price we could afford, we put in an offer and the house was ours. Fast-forward four years later, we now have a baby and two incomes, but we never really got to all those projects we imagined because we could never afford them until now. And now that we can afford them, would investing so much time and money into a house on an arterial be the best financial decision? This question lead us to put our house on the market.

Jeff and I started looking for new homes last fall, and began by filtering our search to houses in our budget. This put us in a house that was about the same size as our current house, but put us in a neighborhood with those cheaply built homes from the late 20th - early 21st century that all look the same. It is what it is, so we made an offer on one of these houses. It had a strict HOA, which totally stressed me out because I have a lot of colorful habits that could annoy my neighbors - air-drying laundry, homemade compost bin, desire to build a chicken coop - and all of which were forbidden in the neighborhood. In the end, this house fell through and we saw it as a sign from God.

When we increased our budget to get in a neighborhood with some character, we ended up losing square footage, or getting in a house that needed major work...oh the plight of living on the South Hill! If we increased our budget even more, we found great houses that still needed work, but offered the exact house we currently own, except these houses were only 2 blocks away, off the not-that-busy arterial. This kept us in the neighborhood we love, and the increase in our house payment would have been doable, but adding another child to our family would not have been an option. For that matter, we wouldn't have been able to afford to furnish such a house.

In the end, we stepped back and looked at the situation and realized we felt extremely pressured by others to move. And in the end, other people saw us in one of those manufactured neighborhoods. But we still saw us in our current home. We settled on our current house by living on an arterial, but we were 100% unwilling to settle on another house (and life) just to get off the arterial. The pros of our current neighborhood (friendly to runners, walking distance to everything you could possibly need, 10 minute commute, safe, always plowed in the winters, friendly neighbors) far outweighed the cons (arterial, pot smokers, crazy lady next door who complains when our sprinkler hits her driveway). We could invest in a nice home renovation, then pay down our current mortgage, giving us financial freedom to travel and save for Everett's college education. These are the things we value. Things we don't value are living in a large, perfect house and being owned by the payments for that house.

So now lucky you! You can follow us in our home renovation! And it's going to be fantastic. We are going to turn the basement into a master suite. Demo starts 2 hours ago!

Here are the before pictures to give you an idea of how much work we are talking about.


Standing on the staircase, this is the view to the portion of the basement that will eventually be our downstairs living room. The completely unfinished laundry room is currently behind that makeshift wall. I just realized I forgot to take before pictures of the laundry room...wah waaah. FYI that makeshift wall is painted bright pink on the other side.

 Here is a view of the staircase/future living room from the doorway to the laundry room. The staircase will be demolished and rebuilt.

Turning left at the bottom of the staircase, this is the current view. A huge master closet and storage area will eventually be tucked under the staircase/mudroom area, and the current wall to the bedroom will be knocked out and extended to the load-bearing beams you can see.

This area is our future bathroom, complete with a walk-in shower, freestanding bathtub, double vanity...and toilet. There will also be a storage closet where the camera is currently sitting. The storage room will have a door to a mechanical room, which will hide the furnace and water heater.

And this beautiful area is our future master bedroom. Yes, those are spiderwebs all over the walls.

In addition to finishing this space off, we will have all new electricity, plumbing, HVAC, and an electric heater (to make sure the area stays warm in the cold winter months). We spent this weekend clearing all our stuff (read: shit) out of the basement, and now I am very sore. We are incredibly excited, and can't wait to see the final product!

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Daily Tornado - 15 Months

It's hard to believe this little guy is 15 months old. He is becoming more independent every day, and plays well on his own, but he still prefers to be close to adults for the occasional snuggle.

Everett's favorite activity is singing with me. When he is not singing with Mom, he is climbing into the bathtub, playing with the toilet, turning the stereo on and off, attempting to stick keys in electrical outlets, hiding things/throwing things away, and knocking all his books off the bookshelf.

Here is a brief snapshot of Everett's life in a typical 2 minute period:
  • Steal glass off the dining room table, shatter glass all over floor;
  • Run to the bathroom and grab curling iron;
  • Mess with curling iron knobs;
  • Decide curling iron needs to be thrown through the cat door;
  • Run to kitchen with curling iron chord trailing behind, narrowly missing the pile of glass Dad is cleaning up; 
  • Dump pesky appliance into the cat's room;
  • Terrorize cat for a few moments;
  • Return to bathroom, grab Mom's blush brush, smear blush all over bathroom door;
  • Reach up to bathroom counter and steal Mom's cell phone;
  • Hide cell phone in Dad's laundry basket;
  • Go to Mom and ask for a hug.
Meanwhile, I am (unsuccessfully) trying to apply makeup and prevent my child's death.

Needless to say, there is currently a lot of activity in our lives. We are exhausted at the end of every day, but he certainly provides comic relief.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Travel Bug

If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that we were in Seattle this last weekend. The winter blues hit our house hard, and we needed a little time away, as well as a change in scenery.

One of my dearest friends recently got engaged! And it was such good timing that we were in the Emerald City for her engagement party. In addition to her party, we took long family walks, explored the city, went to the Seattle Aquarium, ate good food, and made a stop at Ikea.

I wish I could have taken better pictures with the "real" camera, but I had wiggly Everett in the Ergo carrier for much of the time, and my photos were less than perfect with a toddler trying to grab at the camera.

One of my favorite activities from our trip was exploring the Seattle Public Library. This is probably the most ambient building I have ever been in, and I highly recommend putting this on your Seattle Buck List. Again, the photos aren't great (darn you little boy!), but I wanted to share a few shots I took on the way up escalators/stairs.

This is called the Red Room, for obvious reasons.

This was a great photo-op, but the fussy toddler wouldn't let me reduce the aperture on the camera without a noisy fight, and to be honest, I was getting a little vertigo from being so high up!

We hardly took any photos at the aquarium because there were thousands of little people running around, and I ended up holding Ever on my shoulders for most of the time there. Jeff isn't the manual-mode camera pro in our family, and I am OCD about pictures (no flash please!), so we got a couple crummy photos and videos with our iPhones and called that good. He seemed to enjoy watching the seals and otters best.

The kid has always been pretty fascinated by starfish too.

Back at home, Spring is pretending to come. Yesterday was almost 60 degrees, so I took advantage of the nice weather and air dried some linens in the sunshine. Spring cleaning for us always involves washing the down jackets and comforters, touching up paint on the baseboards, airing out and deep cleaning the house, and planning our vegetable garden.

The indoor plants are waking from their winter dormancy.

What should I use these for?

New growth on the lemon tree after winter caused it to lose most of its leaves.

I wasn't completely sure if this amaryllis would come back, but I left it on our kitchen table for the last year just in case. I think my mother-in-law thought I was crazy. But I was so excited when I woke up one morning to this!

Then this a few days later...

Which became this...

And finally this...No filter!

Even our poinsettia is sprouting! Next year, I am going to get a white one and see how long I can keep it in alive. The white will be more neutral for when I want variety.

For now, we are enjoying the rain, the cuddles on the couch, the longer days, and the occasional visits from beautiful friends.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Book Club

I have been reading a lot of books lately - some for my book club, and some for my personal amusement. I thought I would share a few of my favorites from the last few months, for those who are interested.

I cannot express enough how much I admire Barbara Kingsolver. She might be one of my favorite authors, and her newest novel does not disappoint. Her work is always relevant, artfully written, and a joy to read. I think it is important for everyone to read this book, as we need to better understand the class system in America, and recognize the importance of our everyday actions.

This book did not get good reviews, and I can tell you exactly why: this book is NOT Harry Potter. In The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling has removed herself from entertainment writing and has stepped into a whole new role - that of relaying the human condition through the medium of words. This book makes her an artist, in my opinion. I put this book on my list because it was real, and I like reality (which is why I watch The Bachelor...?). Maybe it is because my husband is a counselor, and I hear stories like the ones told in this book every day, but I think it is important for people to step outside their comfort zones and realize that life is not easy, nor is it perfect. When you read this book, you do not like any of the characters, but you relate to all of them, because we all have a little evil inside us, which is eloquently reflected through the characters in this story.

If you are looking for redemptive endings and strong, likeable characters, The Invention of Wings is a great read! Based on historical events and figures, this book is an easy read. You get a snapshot of what life looked like for a slave in the South, but without causing the reader to go into a severe depression. Sue Monk Kidd is always a consistent, accessible author. I challenge anyone who reads this book to brainstorm ways our society is still violating human rights (sweatshops..?).

Looking for another feel-good read? This one is fantastic. It has strong female characters, witty dialogue, and a decent storyline. There is certainly not a ton of depth, but that makes this book a perfect poolside read. 

This is another excellent book I have read. It is very accessible, the writing is artistic, and the characters are beyond heroic. Grab a box of tissues though, because The Fault in Our Stars will make you weep like a pregnant lady. 

If you are a fan of sci-fi/fantasy, or are interested in a good read in this genre, this book series is my FAVORITE. Rothfuss has written 2 of 3 books, and I don't even care when the third book comes out, because I could read these stories over and over (and OVER) again. The hero is incredibly likeable, but makes idiotic mistakes like the rest of us, and the story is artfully written. I finished The Name of the Wind, then immediately started it from the beginning again - the ultimate sign of a good book. When reading The Wise Man's Fear, I found myself laughing out loud and writing down quotes from almost every page. If I had to use one word to describe this book, it would be "Clever." Warning: like many books in this genre, the descriptions can get tedious at times, so the novice sci-fi/fantasy reader should just plow through those descriptors and enjoy!

And those are my most recent favorites! Check out some of my other "Favorites" for more good reads. Tonight, I start Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer. The Wirths are considering building a chicken coop! Yeeeeehaaaaaww!
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