Friday, December 31, 2010

Cloth Diapers - Easing Our Way Into It

We've planned to try this cloth diaper thing.  Friends of ours have done it and said it wasn't so bad, so we figured we'd give it a shot.  It's cheaper, and it saves the landfills.  We're not going to be all high and mighty about it though.  Don't even know if we'll be able to pull it off.  Plus, we'll probably end up using some combination of cloth and disposables.  For instance, I don't think daycare will do cloth diapers for us, and on road trips, I think disposables are key.

We gave ourselves a little break and used the infant disposable diapers that the hospital stocked us with.  But two days ago, with a little nudge from our friend, Lisa G, we decided to dive into cloth diapers!

Here's the skinny.

We invested in a few Fuzzibunz,

and a couple Thirsties,

plus Gerber Pre-Folded Cloth Diapers. 

The Fuzzibunz seem too big for our little fella right now, and I haven't quite figured out how I want to use them yet (yeah, should've figured it out before, but didn't, okay?).  So we started last night with a cloth diaper covered with the x-small Thirsties cover.  So far, so good.  He's had two pees and a three poopies, and no leaks.  Of course, he hasn't had a huge blowout shart yet, but I'm still happy that the cloth diapers seem to be working for the normal-sized pees and poos.

I haven't washed a load yet. I'll let you know how it goes when I do.  I did buy some special detergent called Charlie's Soap, which I read is safe for baby skin and good for cloth diapers.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Follow Up - What's in Sarah's Birth Bag

I wrote a post a while ago about what I packed in my birth bag for the hospital.  This birth bag thing is like, what everyone is doing, so I thought I'd share my experience.

Here's the recap, in case you don't want to link back:

- Bath Robe
- Slippers
- Sour Push Pop
- Gatorade
- Make-Up
- Toothbrush
- Kotex Super Overnights
- IPod Touch

So here's the thing, I found out, you really don't NEED a birth bag.  At least not if you're opting for the epidural.  I didn't need any memento to focus on, or watch to time my contractions (I was hooked up to a monitor anyway).  The hospital provides pads, snacks, a gown (which I found to be perfectly adequate), slipper socks, and everything else you'll need afterwards.

There are a couple of things in my bag that I found useful. 

First, the SLIPPERS!  Yeah, those slippers that I got from a co-worker.  They were great!  I hated the hospital slipper socks because they turned around all the time (no heel).  I'm so glad I did end up bringing my fancy schmancy slippers.

My slippers :)

Also, Gatorade.  I drank both bottles during my hospital stay.  The only thing that sucks is that you have to pee more, but they try to pump you full of fluids anyway and Gatorade really hit the spot.  Plus, it was always there when I needed to take a pill.

The last useful item was a toothbrush.  The hospital did not provide one and I used mine every day. 

The other items in my bag didn't even get touched, except for my going home clothes, which I only used some of.  My mom ended up bringing me other clothes from home.

So, I hope this helps anyone trying to figure out what to put in their bag.  While the things I put in there might not have been useful during or after Rowan was born, it was theraputic to pack it, because I felt like it was a way to prepare for what was coming.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lifesaver (I mean, Pacifier)

It's Day 7 of dirty diapers, nursing, burping, crying, and too many kisses to count.  We haven't gotten into the groove yet, if that even happens! 

Rowan has been an angel during the day.  He's so quiet, you can almost forget he's there (pssh, no, I haven't done this).  The nights are a little more rough.  We somehow manage to get through the day on about one or two hours of sleep each night.  AMAZING!  Never thought it was possible. Everyone says "sleep when the baby sleeps", but seriously, that doesn't really work out so well.  Especially when it's the holidays and there are so many things going on and people around.

So far, I've found one thing that especially helped us get through the some of the not-so-pleasant parts of the first week at home.

SOOTHIE(R) $1.50 ea, available at

The SOOTHIE(R) pacifier. 

There is probably not scientific evidence to back up what I'm about to claim, (in fact, there's probably evidence against it) but I SWEAR, this thing saved me from becoming an "I tried to breastfeed" mom.

Rowan wasn't latching well from the beginning and it was making breastfeeding a nightmare.  One particularly fussy evening, we gave in and plugged Rowan's mouth with the SOOTHIE(R) pacifier that our friend Lisa G had given us.  We figured this particular pacifier might have some special power, I mean, Lisa is a labor and delivery nurse.

He sucked on that thing for hours without a peep, and if we thought that wasn't enough, the next feeding was the best he'd had!  My (fairly unbased - I don't read up on these things) theory is that sucking on that SOOTHIE(R) was good practice for the real thing.  Maybe, maybe not, but I'm sticking with it and I'll most likely be giving these to all my friends with babies on the way.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Best Christmas Present

 Our perfect baby boy, Rowan Matthijs Balyon, arrived on December 22, 2010, at 5:58pm.  He was 7 lbs, 9 oz and 21 inches long, and pretty much the most cutest thing on the planet!

Rogér is the proudest Papa, and has become a super poopy diaper changer, and the baby burrito (swaddle) master.

Sarah is an incredibly beautiful Mommy who;s husband thinks she is the greatest and did an amazing job cooking up the little dude.

We are so excited and have a lot to learn.  Luckily, for the past week, Rowan's Grandma Bev has been here to help.  But starting tomorrow, we're on our own!

Since things are going to be even busier around here, we might struggle to keep the blog updated at first.  But we hope to be able to document and share our dive into parenthood, little Rowan's adventures, and the rest of the circus act.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Still Waiting for Baby B...

Two days left until his due date, but it feels like he's late already!

A couple nights ago, we got fooled by some contractions that seemed pretty regular and kinda painful.  I'm not really sure if they were real contractions after all because I ended up falling back asleep and waking up sans baby.  Made fore an interesting morning though, because we got up at 4am, packed some bags, and gave the Demon Dog a much needed bath!

Haven't felt any contractions since then. 

I guess we should be enjoying our free days and nights without the little guy.  It's just that we're (me especially) ready for this whole pregnancy/delvery shindig to be over and on to the next thing already!  I think. Plus, if he really was about 7.5 lbs two weeks ago, I really don't want him to cook much longer.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Saying Goodbye to Plastic Bags Part II

A friend of mine left a comment on my ode to the plastic bag post with a URL to an awesome YouTube music video about single use plastic bags.  (Thanks Elliot!)

But the video actually wasn't my favorite part.

I scrolled through the YouTube video comments and found that some people had good points about how the poly bags that we buy for $.99 are still bad for the environment.  Better, I think, but it's true.  This lead me to a source, for 35 ways to make reusable grocery bags out of materials you may already have and things that you would probably chuck anyways without a better use for them!

Here are some of my favorites, which I chose to highlight because they do simply use things that you will actually have lying around and they don't seem to require super-crafty skills (well, the first one might require some):

Recycled Grocery Totes Tutorial - courtesy of Dana-Made-It 

 T-Shirt Bag - courtesty of

Pillow Case Grocery Bag - courtesy of CreativeKismet

This still doesn't take care of my dog poop bag dilemma.  I've seen some reusable dog poop bags, but c'mon, that's waaaay too much work and kinda gross.  Also, without grocery bags, we'll be cycling through a LOT more trash bags.  Not sure how to solve that one either. Any ideas?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

San Jose to Ban Plastic Bags from Grocery Stores

We've been told this day would come.  Every grocery store that's any grocery store sells reusable bags with their logo plastered on the front.  Sometimes, you even see people using these bags.  An admirable step towards reduction of waste.

Now, San Jose is putting their foot down with a complete ban on plastic bags from the grocery stores.  Stores would pay a fine if they continue plastic bag use.  The ordinance, which passed on Tuesday, will also sport a fee for paper bag use.

I get where this is coming from. We have a few of those reusable bags.  Maybe, if forced, we'll even remember to bring them when we go shopping.  And, yes, we like to consider ourselves on board with acts of environmental friendliness (as long as they don't interfere too much with modern daily life).  But the truth is...

We'll miss our plastic grocery bags!

Buh-bye free garbage pail liner.

So long handy, always-one-in-the-car-when-you-need-it, poop bag.
Au revoir muck boot container.

Farewell makeshift gym bag.

Will we survive?  Undoubtedly.  But beginning Jan. 1, 2011, we'll have to learn to cope.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What's in Sarah's Birth Bag?

We've read up a little on what put in your Birth Bag (the bag you bring to the hospital with you for during and after labor).  The Labor & Delivery Nurse that taught our Childbirth Preparation Class at Kaiser gave a few tips too.  We took some things, and left some things.  I thought I'd share what's in my bag, and follow up later with what I wish I had put in my bag.

For starters, we have two bags.  One is for me, the other is for baby.  This was suggested by the L&D Nurse so that the Father-to-Be (or whomever is with you at your time of delivery) isn't rummaging through baby clothes to get to the sour lollipop that you NEED.RIGHT.NOW!

In My Bag:

- Bath Robe - courtesy of OMG I'm a Mom! who says that the provided gowns don't quite cut it.
- Slippers - I'm stashed a pair that was given to me by a co-worker. They're I'll let you know if I have any regrets.
- Sour Push Pop - To help with dry mouth.  The Nurse suggested something on a stick, but sour lollies are more difficult to find than expected.
- Gatorade - Suggested by our (twice) experienced neighbor, Luisa, for quenching thirst and restoring electrolytes.
- Make-Up - I don't know if I'll get around to putting it on, but it might come in handy for all the photo ops.
- Going Home Clothes - A pair of sweats, nursing bra, cami, long sleeved shirt, and jacket.
- Toothbrush - I actually still have to buy one. Not sure what they provide at the hospital.
- Kotex Super Overnights - Our friend said I should get myself some Depends, but this is what I ended up with.  Again, I'll follow up with any regrets.
- IPod Touch - Mainly for the clock and the nursing app., but who knows,  I may get also get the urge to play Angry Birds!

(Other suggestions I came across included: mementos for focusing on during labor, stress relieving squishy, massagers)

In Baby B's Bag:

- Cute Outfit #1 - For the pictures. Inlcuding a onsie, pants, jacket, socks and mittens.
- Cute Outfit #2 - For when Cute Outfit #1 gets spit up on and peed through.
- Memory Album - So the Nurse can stamp his little hand/foot at the same time that they do it anyway.
- Flip - Seeing as the baby is the whole reason we got a Flip in the first place, wouldn't seem right to home without it.
- Giraffe -  The stuffed giraffe that Rogér picked out for Baby B a few months before we even started trying!

More suggestions are welcomed!! It makes me feel like I can do something to prepare.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Favorite Corner of the House

Right now, my favorite place in the house is a little corner that hosts a pretty photo of us at our wedding.  Keeps me warm & fuzzy :)

Do you have a favorite spot in your house?


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rogér's first bloggy blog

Hi I am Rogér, Sarah's husband. Have we met yet? Nice to meet you.

So, we have lots of things going on lately in the Balyon household.  Lots o' pets to take care of, new house that needed a major remodel, and a baby on the way.  Plenty to keep us busy and some.

Yesterday, we had a doctor's visit. Just a check up to see how things were coming along.  The doctor measured Sarah's belly and felt that we should get another ultrasound because he measured on the small side.  Apparently this could mean a lot of thing that aren't so great.  So this was a little unnerving, but on the other hand we get more pictures!!!

I got off early from work and met Sarah at the hospital for our appointment.  The lady doing the ultrasound made quite an impression early on.  "This is my screen.  Your screen is over there. You need to lean back in your chair."  As she turns her screen away from mine.  After a few seconds pause she did mention that she had to turn the screen because of the glare, but that is how the whole appointment went.  Just like sour patch kids.

"Now I can't say how much he weighs.  People want to know and I tell them, well you can have my job.  Besides it is not accurate.  Could you tell me the weight of a man by his hat size, belt size, and pant length?  Plus or minus 15%.  So I could be a pound less or more and I would still be right.  Hmmm.  He is 7.5 pounds.  He is a little bit on the big size.  Congratulations.  See those Doctors don't know what they are talking about when it comes to weight.  You are doing a great job."

Yeah... good times, but it was worth knowing that everything is going well.

And here is the result.  A beautiful shot of his face!!!
Ok bud, you are looking good and your mom is doing a great job.  We will be waiting for you on the outside.  Love ya, good luck, and catch you on the flip side.

- Rogér

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

House Update - Furnace is Officially Working!

The GOOD NEWS:  The furnace is fixed and Dom, Buds, and I are sitting pretty (and warm) in the house these days.

The BAD NEWS:  The repair cost us 300 George Washingtons!!

The LESSON: A while back, a nice PG&E guy told us (for free) that the furnace probably needed a new ignitor. We chose not to DIY this one, because we had no clue about furnaces and just wanted it fixed already!  We had someone come and test the furnace, and after a $65 half hour diagnostic, he found that the ignitor needed to be replaced....genius.  after watching the guy repair it, we quickly realized this would have been a super simple fix.   The part just plugs into an air switch type thingy.  All you have to do is order a new ignitor and plug the hose into it! Well, the ignitor is not that cheap anyway, but you can certainly get it for less than $240 + $65.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

The Balyon House is now ready for Christmas!  We just put up our lights and our tree!

 We have a feeling this is going to be a good Christmas ;)

Friday, December 3, 2010

House Update - Drawer Pulls

Yay!  I put draw pulls on (almost) all the kitchen cabinets.  This is great news because now Rogér has no excuse not to put the counter tops on ;)

Well, okay, he has some good riding lessons, or putting up Christmas lights, or organizing the garage.

I guess he's needed a little break after the plumbing got done.  Well deserved, of course!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanksgiving a la Balyons & Schraders

Thanksgiving was a huge success!

The turkey was thawed completely (this happens to make a big difference in how well it cooks), brined superbly with 1 cup salt/ 1 gal water and some various herbs and spices.

Karla's stuffing was the shizz.  She did it in the crock pot this year, which was a fabulous idea!

Her home-made cranberry sauce was also delicious...way better than the canned stuff, AND she claims it's super easy to make.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Winter Has Arrived!

So, like two weeks ago, it was 80 Deg. F, and now it's literally freezing!  Seriously, where was the gradual shift in temperature?

Too bad we put off getting our heater fixed for so long!

Now, we're desperately trying to get someone over to replace the broken igniter, while we all huddle near the space heater.

Domino hogging all the heat....can't say I blame him.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Making Our Own Thanksgiving Traditions

1.Autumn woodland Mix - Place Card - Gift Card - Table Number Card - Menu Card - Holidays -weddings events –
2. Thanksgiving Recipes –
4. Vintage Silverware Large GIVE THANKS Serving Fork –

Thanksgiving, for many people, is a time of family gathering and traditions.  Neither Rogér, nor myself grew up with any outstanding Thanksgiving traditions or big family get togethers for this holiday, so maybe we're not as attached to it as others.  Are we the only ones that thinks maybe Thanksgiving with family is overrated?

Well, I know we're not the ONLY ones because last year we started our own tradition of volunteering for various orgainization's Thanksgiving events, and having actual Thanksgiving dinner with other Bay Area "orphans" (AKA other friends that don't want to travel a long way to sit at an awkward dinner table).  No offense Mom and Dad, I love visiting my family!  Which is why I'd rather visit when Mom is not busy cooking a ridiculously huge, mid-day dinner, and Dad is not glued to the football game.

Getting together with friends has been a really fun, low key, and rewarding alternative.  We each contribute a couple staple dishes, nothing too crazy or time consuming, and then enjoy the evening over still-too-much food and wine. This will be only the second year in a row that we've done this, so we haven't nailed down all our favorite recipes yet.  Our friend Karla had a phenomenal stuffing recipe last year (I'll see if I can snag it from her to share), and we're going to be brining the turkey, and that's all we know so far!!

We would love to hear other peoples' favorite Thanksgiving traditions or recipes!  Please share! :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Quick Weekend Recap


Ronin is all healed up, Yay!  

Our Dyson Animal is in the repair shop (and it's not even a year old!)

My sore throat turned into a full fledged cold.  

I dropped a pipe on Rogér's face, and he had to go to the Emergency Room for a stitch. 

 We're cooking our first meal in our fully functional kitchen!  

And we found out that Domino is actually not a dog, but a Jedi Ewok. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How Lazy Can I be?

I've stooped to a new low!  Wow, I thought it was bad that I pretty much wear the same frumpy clothes every single day, never bother with my hair (or anything else related to my personal appearance), drag myself out of bed later and later each morning, don't call people because it requires looking up their number in Rogér's phone and transfering it into my new get the picture. I chalk it all up to my Not-So-Glowing pregancy, but there's no good excuse for my latest move, which I just noticed when I went to the bathroom..WARNING: get ready for TMI.. and refused to completely unbutton and unzip my pants (already, the top button is never buttoned due to the bump) before I pulled them down!  That's right.  I wiggled my way out of them so I would not have to do extra Work!  Really?! Yes, I did that.

As I sit here, the thing that's really bugging me my attempt to be super duper lazy, I'm pretty sure I ended up doing MORE WORK.  wtf.  Poor Rogér.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Horse Whoa's - Swollen Belly and Sheath

Ronin doesn't give us much of a break between his issues and ailments!  Last night, Rogér was scheduled for a riding lesson, but ended up with a lesson in horse hygiene instead.  Of course, he didn't have to do any of the dirty work!

Right before saddling up, I noticed that Ronin's sheath was swollen.....great.  Then I realized his belly had some swelling too.  Towards the back on the right side and a little towards the front on the same side too.  All I could really think to do was to clean his sheath and check for any abnormalities, so that's what I did. Ronin was actually pretty good, considering I've never done this with him before (I had the vet do it once, cuz it's not a fun job).  I didn't find anything either.  When our instructor came, I told her about his symptoms and she suggested we take his temp.  Apparently, there's an illness called Pigeon Fever that can cause this kind of swelling.  Four minutes of an antique thermometer up Ronin's butt revealed that he did not have a high temperature.  Phew!

Rogér on Ronin Summer '09
We put him back and went home and, of course, checked the internet for these symptoms.  This should never be done!  But I always do it.  Well, according to the internet, Ronin had either nothing at all, or limes disease, or liver or heart failure and would surely need to be put to rest within a month or two.  In my internet search, I did come across one sort of amusing instructional.  You can read all about it here...if you're interested. We called the vet this morning and she didn't seem too concerned just yet, so now it's a waiting game. Let's all hope that it goes away! 

Fun times!  We can always count on our animals to throw us for a loop.  Can you believe we're adding a kid to the mix? Oh boy.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

$35 Gift Code WINNER!

Congratulations to Annie, the winner* of our $35 gift code giveaway to!  Just in time for Christmas!

Annie,  please contact me at to recieve instructions for cashing in on your gift code! 

Happy Shopping!

Thanks to everyone who participated!  You still have another shot to win!  Go to bloem to enter for a chance to win a $20 gift code!

*winner determined by random number generator,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Another Chance to Win!!

Okay everyone, TODAY is the last day to enter our $35 gift code giveaway!  Enter the contest HERE.

I'm also giving away a $20 gift code to on my craft blog, bloem.  Become a follower and post a comment to get another chance to win!  Enter for both, and you could score yourself a total of $55 at any of the 200+ stores on!  That's some serious loot!

Enjoy & Good luck!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Horse Whoa's - Our Poor Farrier!!

Our 6 yr old TB horse, Ronin, was scheduled to get his shoes done today.  Up until a couple months ago, this was no big deal because our farrier (horse shoe-er), Nick, would just take care of all of it and all we did was leave him a check.  Like I said, that was up until a couple months ago when Ronin suddenly realized that he's an ex-race horse, and decided to pull some typical TB off-the-track BS.  He flipped out while cross-tied and practically took out Nick, and almost killed himself.  Keep in mind, for the last two years, we've been cross-tying him without any trouble. 

Since then, he's also discovered flipping out at the regular tie post.  We've started using a cinch buckle as blocker tie ring (it's a great, cheap solution!), for everyday tying, but getting his shoes done adds a whole 'nother level of difficulty.  Nick asked that either Rogér or myself be there to hold Ronin during shoeing, which is perfectly legit.  In fact, after witnessing Ronin getting his shoes done today, I'm surprised Nick is willing to do Ronin's feet at all!  I wouldn't.

I even gave Ronin B-Kalm (tryptophan) 1.5 hours before the ordeal, hoping that this would help take the edge off.  Didn't work.  The only thing that did work was to distract Ronin with the one thing he values more than life itself....FOOD.  Nick had a bag of little treats, which distracted the beast so well that his shoes were done in record time!

This might take a little work, but I hope that one day, Ronin will be able to stand still and quiet for the farrier and for us!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Three days left to win a $35 Gift Code Giveaway to

Who couldn't use 35 bucks to use toward anything from one of the 200+ websites?!  They have all kinds of things for the home, kitchen, pets, kids, office, etc.!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway here.  Only three days left!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Giveaway! - CSN Stores $35 Gift Code!!

Yay! Our first giveaway!

Thanks to the people at, who are offering up a $35 gift code to use on an order from ANY one of their 200+ online stores!  Wow!

They have TONS of great stuff for your home, office, babies and kids, and even pets!  I could find so many things that I want for our house.  For instance, we could really use some barstools for our kitchen island.

I like these classic counter stools because they fit the style of our house and remind me of a red stool I grew up with, (I would upholster my own cushion for the top). 

Although...we could also put it towards a new AMAZING Blendtec blender like this one!  These blenders are so great.  They come with recipe books for soups (yes, they warm it up too), and ice cream!!

There are thousands of things to choose from!


1.  (Mandatory) - Browse the CSN stores and leave a comment on our blog saying what you would use the $35 gift code towards.
2. Become, or be a current Follower of One Ring Short of a Circus and leave a comment letting us know that you are a follower (+1 entry)

3.  Post about this giveaway on your blog and leave a link. Be sure to leave a comment to let me know that you've done this. (+1 entry)

4.  Head over to bloem and become, or be a current follower.  Leave a comment here that you are a follower of bloem. (+1 entry)

*Please leave a separate comment for EACH entry you do*
**This offer is only available in the USA and Canada**

Good Luck!

Contest will end November 10th at Midnight
Winner will be announced November 11th, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pumpkin Portraits

Halloween is always here before we know it!  Our favorite, besides handing out candy to all the little ghosts and goblins, is carving pumpkins!  Rogér has a little tradition of carving Clint Eastwood portraits into his pumpkins.  This year, he decided to put a new spin on it.

In college,

The Good
This year,

The Bad 
(I made the swamp monster)

Next year, The Ugly

Hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Upcycled! - Baby Diaper Changing Station

We weren't sad to see our old cabinets go, but I felt bad scrapping all that wood, so I was trying to think of ways use them. In reality, the cabinets were so hard to get out that most of them got broken apart (and used as firewood), but we did manage to salvage this one section.

After staring at it sitting on our back patio for a few days, I came up with and idea!  A baby changing station!  I liked the idea that there were drawers, and it has a handy pull out cutting...ur...diaper-holding board!  Of course, it needed a little make over.

Materials:  Home Depot paint mistakes 1 pint lt blue - $1,  Martha Stewart sample paints - $1 each, Paint brushes $1 each, Painter's tape - $3, Not shown: Wood putty - $2, Ceramic drawer knobs - $2 each, leftover white paint from our walls - $0

  I sanded down all the surfaces, removed the pull handles and filled them in with wood putty. I painted the base light blue and the drawers white.  Then I taped off two drawer faces to paint light brown squares, and taped vertically on the three other drawers to get the lines. The hardest part was waiting for different coats to dry.

For the top surface, I took two cabinet doors, sanded them down, nailed them on, and painted them white. I drilled holes for the new knobs in the center of each door and put on the knobs.

I couldn't be happier with the results! The whole project cost less than $30 and took me, alone, about a week to complete (keep in mind, I have a growing belly and I need a nap about every two seconds).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Groutable Vinyl Tile Flooring - Our Experience So Far

I said I'd share more about our groutable vinyl tile floor, so here it is.

There are sooooo many floor options to choose from.  We were really excited when we this tile at Home Depot because we liked the look without the tile hassle. I looked it up online to see what advice I could find and there were a couple good suggestions. For the rest, we just took our chances.

The whole install was relatively painless.  My mom and I marked the centerlines of the kitchen and then laid out tile (with the backing on) in a square around the kitchen island, we did this to make sure everything was square. That looked good so we got to it, starting with our initial square and then building out.  We tried to avoid doing one long straight line of tiles all at once, in case things got a little crooked, which only happened once.  Once you lay the tiles down you can't really make adjustments like with real tile.  We did have to pull up one or two and re-lay them.  I'm not sure if this will affect the life of the tile.

We used 3/16" tile spacers because we liked the way it looked.

Grouting and floating was a little tricky.  We got pre-mixed, quick dry grout.  Never used it before.  This was much more convenient than mixing yourself. Warning:  It dries quick!!  At first, Rogér and I both grouted and when I went to go float over the tile, the grout was already drying, leaving patches of grout on the tiles and a rough finish in between the tiles.  After that, Rogér grouted and I floated over the grouted tile almost immediately.  This worked really well.  We didn't have problems with the grout not sticking in between the tiles. 
Pros and Cons so far:

-Easy install and no need to account for extra thickness of floor like with ceramic and stone tiles
-Quick adhesion and drying
-Easier to cut than stone or ceramic (although, they are thicker than other vinyl tile, so cutting is still a bit of a challenge.  We used garden shears and a box cutter)
-Low cost - Ours was about $1.16/sft
-Looks great, almost like real stone (our baby shower guests had to touch it to tell the difference)
-Seems like it would be easy to replace
-Cleans up easy
-Less sealing (You should still seal the grout, but the tiles don't need it)

-Can't adjust tiles once they're laid down
-May have trouble sticking (one of our tiles is lifting at a corner. maybe it got too wet underneath during float?)
-Must prime the floor if you don't have a super smooth subfloor.  Wood will need primer.
-Grout film - everywhere.  Cleans up after a mop or two though (after the grout has set of course).

Helpful tips:
1.  Use two buckets of water (dirty and clean) for the float, and clean the water often.
2.  Float quickly after grouting if using quick-dry grout.
3.  Use a large piece of wood as a cutting surface for the tile, score with the box cutter and fold to snap a clean line.  Use garden shears or heavy duty scissors for cutting more intricate shapes.

That's all I can think of.  We're pretty happy with our new floor :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

10 years since high school

Really?  I guess so because we just went to Rogér's 10 year high school reunion, which made me think about my own high school reunion....oh wait, what reunion?  Yeah, because I graduated from Mattole Triple Junction High School with a whopping 15 other classmates.  And, most of them are still hanging around Humboldt County and see each other all the time anyway.  I did have a dream that I was at my HS reunion.  Two of my classmates came and re-introduced themselves to me and asked if I remembered them.  What kind of dumb dream question is that?!  I only spent every day of my life for 9 or so years in the same classroom as you!

Actually, I spent 3 years of HS at Ferndale High School.  But I didn't graduate from there so I didn't get an official invitation to their reunion.  And I wasn't in town to crash it either.

So, after attending Rogér's 10 year, I'm still left wondering if I kind of missed out.

How many of you are going, or went to your 10 year high school reunion?   Any thoughts or regrets?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ro's Ink


We've had Ronin for about 2 years now (dang!), and a few days after we got him, we realized he had a tattoo on his upper lip.  He's a thoroughbred and supposedly off the track, so the tattoo is his identification.  We never got his paperwork though because how he got to where he was was somewhat of a mystery and the guy who gave him to us didn't have the papers.  Anyway, when I first looked into finding out Ronin's past through the Jockey Club, I thought you had to pay $35.  Now that we had to pay close to $400/mo for horse boarding, we weren't in any position to throw down $35 to find out his name.  Recently though, I checked the Jockey Club website again and it turns out that tattoo research is free! yes, FREE!  I found out on Thurs. and not only could I not remember Ronin's tattoo, but also, we were going out of town so I couldn't go look at it!  How aggravating!  Now, today, I went and looked at his lip, but here's the's kinda hard to read.  I think it says "H21056".  I tried to take a's how that turned out:
yeah, not so great.
So I tried to enter H21056 into the Jockey Club website and it came up with a horse named Surf N Saddle who was born April 23, 2004 in California.  Promising.  But when I did a little more research, Surf N Saddle has more white spots than Ronin has.  None of the other letter/number combos come up with anything that really resembles our horse.  Like I said, crappy.

Now what?

Ronin it is. (Better than Surf N Saddle anyway, right?)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Catch up

I know, it's been a while since we've posted anything.  As I mentioned last time, we're super busy.  Not to mention that I'm exhausted and totally uninspired to write or go through pics to post.  But here's my attempt to get up to date, so that we can start on a fresh note when I get that blogging spark again.

First of all, we've been preparing for our baby shower, which, like I've mentioned before, we decided to have at our own house (yeah, a little ambitious, ya think?).  Anyway, my big requirements for that were the completion of the kitchen floor and base cabinets/countertops, and cleanup of the trophy room and patio.  My mom came down on the Wednesday before the shower so she could help us get the place up to snuff.

We worked our butts off from 7am until 1am each day, but I have to say, the results were pretty incredible!!  We almost got all of our cabinets in (no countertops though).  We also laid our kitchen floor.  We chose to use groutable vinyl tile.  This was really....interesting.  Not too difficult.  Actually, laying the tiles down was easier than I thought.  Grouting was a little tricky.  I'll try to provide some more info in a separate post.

Our appliances came in as well!  They look great!  I don't know how the work cuz we haven't installed them yet.

The shower went really well, but what else did I expect?  When you're surrounded by wonderful, loving friends and family, who cares what your house looks like anyway?  Baby Balyon is set for life! He's probably got enough stylish clothes to wear 10-15 different outfits per day for the first 3 mos!  More on the baby shower later...

Here's some pics to tell the rest of the story:

Hard to believe this all got done in a matter of a a couple weeks. 

Stay tuned for the results!!
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