Replacing Perfectly Good Lights with New Ones

This is a short post, but basically I’ve been relatively happy with our bathroom vanity lights we installed almost 5 years ago (I had to look that number up and the seems really crazy that that project was that long ago!). 

Bathroom Vanity Lights
The style wasn’t something I loved, but they were okay.  What I didn’t love was the dust.

It may be difficult to see in photos, but the frosted glass made it impossible to clean off the dust.

Regular Swiffer dusters were out of the question, and even using a damp paper towel left it dirty and little paper towel pieces behind.  Besides, I know my cleaning limitations and I barely want to get on the counter now to hand clean these bad boys, I know when a baby comes it’s definitely not happening!

So I went on the hunt for something with a smooth glass cover, but I also liked the diffused light from the frosted glass.  When I came across these Oslo 3-Light Brushed Nickel Vanity Lights from Home Depot I felt like it was a winner.
While I don’t absolutely love the style, it works for our somewhat traditional bathroom, and it has both a smooth glass exterior while still providing the diffused light as the old lights.

Like the original installation, we installed with the bulbs facing down because the room is small and facing it upwards would loose light as it bounced off the ceiling first.

Installation was relatively easy, except that the screws on the mounting plate were a little too long for the new fixture.  Mike was able to get one to work, but ended up needing to cut the other set down.  Strange and annoying, but like most things, he figured it out!

While it’s not a huge change, we did add LED bulbs and the lighting is now brighter and a little cooler in temperature, it’s a nice little upgrade.  Also, knowing that cleaning them will be much easier makes me smile a little every time I turn them on!


Adding New Outlets to an Older Home

While we work on moving furniture around in the bedrooms to make room for the nursery, there were a few projects that we had to complete first.

First up, was installing two new outlets upstairs, one in the (future) office and the other in our bedroom.  You see, one of the perks of our 90-year-old house is there are no outlets on any exterior walls upstairs.  When I first mentioned this to Mike he was living in Chicago and he 100% thought I was wrong.  I assured him that as someone who’s had to decorate around this quirk, it was true, (I’m pretty sure he went and checked the next time he was in town just in case I was wrong)!

Before moving the desk I wanted to add an outlet so I didn’t have extension cords running across the room, and while we’re adding one, we might as well add another on the other side of the house in our bedroom to get rid of the extension cords we were already using!

While the pictures aren’t anything to look at, some aren’t even in focus because I was also acting as “apprentice” during installation, I found the process interesting and actually it’s not that hard at all!  Although, if you’ve never done electrical work before I definitely wouldn’t recommend this, but by knowing the process it can help you stay informed when getting quotes by licensed electricians.

First, you cut a hole.  We determined the new outlet should fall somewhere in the middle of the wall where my desk would sit.  We used the cable outlet (which were installed in all the bedrooms prior to us moving in) to match the height.  Mike chose to use an old work box (the blue plastic kind) because we are installing into the original lathe and plaster walls, also you don’t need to find and attach to a stud.  We used the stud finder to determine we weren’t hitting a stud and then used a multi-tool (oscillating saw) to cut the hole.

Then came the fun part, and by fun, I mean worst part for Mike because he had to get up in the attic.

We attached a pull string to the original outlet wiring in the room and from the attic, Mike pulled the existing wire up (making sure the string didn't get pulled out and I had something to grab on to).  Then he attached the new wire to the string and existing wire.  From below, I pulled both back through the outlet.  The gray is the exisiting, and the yellow is the new wire.

By connecting the new wire to the existing receptacle, this is where the power to the new outlets will come from (they'll also all be on the same breaker which will make it easier for future work).  Mike then moved to the other side of the room (in the attic) and since we had measured where the new outlet was cut in relation to the corner of the house, he knew where to drill the holes to drop down the new wire.  Here's the relation of the existing outlet (on the bottom right) to the new outlet across the room.

I was in the room in charge of making sure I saw sawdust through the new hole as he drilled the hole up in the attic (check!) and then I had to grab the wire as he fed it down.  Once the first wire was pulled, then he sent down another one, which would then feed to our bedroom across the attic.

At this point, it's basically 90% done.  We did the same procedure to the new outlet in our bedroom, (Mike laid out the second wire across the attic and after cutting it with more than enough slack, he pushed that down the wall as I grabbed it through the new hole and pulled it through).

Mike then added receptacles, which was a little difficult due to the 12-gauge wire, but of course, he made it work.  We decided to add receptacles with USB ports (these ones specifically) knowing that I'll be charging my phone and electronics in my office sometimes, and we charge our kindles on our bedside tables in our bedroom.

With that project done, I'm basically ready to paint this room!  I have a lot more energy now that I've hit the second trimester, but I still can't get excited about this project.  I'm hoping to just push through it this weekend so we can start setting up the nursery, which is both overwhelming and exciting!

We tackled another smaller electrical project this weekend, which I'll share later this week.

Baby Danks is a…

Two weeks ago we had a small cookout for about 25 of our close friends and family (small in terms of our usual parties!) to announce the gender of our baby!  Mike wanted to make “baby” back ribs (ha!) and pork butt sliders and everyone brought a dish to share.  It was an awesome informal gathering and Mike and I felt so lucky to have some many loved ones who are just as happy to share in this exciting time for us.  The kick ass food may have helped too!

I thought of a million different ways to share the news, but in the end I went with my old favorite, a giant balloon!

At the beginning, I'm talking to my mom via Facetime from Florida.

Although I’m only 17 weeks along right now, we chose to get the optional non-invasive chromosomal screening test at 11 weeks and had the option to test for the baby’s gender as well. We received the results less than a week later, and didn’t waste any time ripping open the envelope to see the XY MALE!

Mike and I both had a feeling it was a boy.  Mike based on the fact that he really wanted a son, and mine based on my symptoms ( for example, I had a severe aversion to sweets for the first couple of months).  We're both really excited for our little boy to join our family!