Ask Casey No. 15
I get lots of design questions from you guys, but I actually get questions about a lot of other things happening in my life, like marriage, blogging, motherhood, fashion…really every single category! So, I tackle your inquiries in my “Ask Casey” blog post series answering your questions every month or so.
Ask Casey No. 15
Here are a few past posts if you want to catch up…
- Ask Casey No. 1
- Ask Casey No. 2
- Ask Casey No. 3
- Ask Casey No. 4
- Ask Finn
- Ask Casey No. 5
- Ask Casey No. 6 – Mom Edition
- Ask Casey No. 7
- Ask Casey No. 8
- Ask Casey No. 9
- Ask Casey No. 10
- Ask Casey No. 11
- Ask Casey No. 12
- Ask Casey No. 13
- Ask Casey No. 14
The google form at the bottom of the post has helped me keep everything organized so I can slowly make my way through your inquiries. So, if you have another question today, be sure to submit it down below.
Do you have any baby names you liked but didn’t use?
Baby names are so hard for me! With Rory, we knew we wanted her name to be Aurora from the start, so we didn’t even consider any other girls’ names. Ellis was a lot trickier and we didn’t feel like we nailed down his name until the final month of my pregnancy. To answer your question, I had to consult the notes app on my phone, where I kept a running list of potential names. On it, I have Dylan, James, Apollo, and Murphy. For girls, I like Ella (I guess, kinda similar to Ellis!), Eleanor, and Maeve.
DIY’ing In a Small Space
You guys did so many DIY projects while living in your condo. Where did you store all of your tools?
It is crazy how we managed to fit all of our stuff in our little city condo. We barely had any closet space in that home, but somehow we made it work! We kept our tools in a lower kitchen cabinet (here are my go-to homeowner tools), so they were easy to access. While our power tool arsenal has grown (here’s my power tool list of must-haves), we had a few big tools while living there (our drill, nail gun, shop vac, and miter saw). We kept the ones we used most often in our guest room closet. Others, that we only used occasionally, like our wet saw, were stored in our off-site storage unit. If you remember this saga back in early 2019, the storage space flooded and we lost so much of our stuff. Luckily, most of our tools were at home when the flood happened, so we didn’t have to buy all new ones.
Long story short, I think you can DIY even without a large home to store all of the things. Get creative with your cabinet and closet space; borrow tools when needed, or even rent them!
Our Kids’ Schedules
Rory dropped down to one nap around 15 months, so she has been on the same schedule for quite some time now. Here’s her typical day.
Rory’s 22-Month-Old Daily Schedule
- 7:00 am – Wake
- 7:30 am – Breakfast
- 10:00 am – Snack
- 12:00 pm – Lunch
- 12:30 pm – Nap
- 3:00 pm – Wake from nap & eat snack
- 5:30 pm – Dinner
- 6:00 pm – Bath
- 6:30 pm – Books
- 7:00 pm – Bedtime
Ellis’ schedule is constantly changing as he gets older, but this is where things stand right now. Next month, we’ll start to introduce solid foods so it will change things up.
Ellis’ 5-Month-Old Daily Schedule
- 7:00 am – Wake & Feed (8 oz)
- 9:00 am – Nap
- 11:00 am – Feed (8 oz)
- 1:00 pm – Nap
- 3:00 pm – Feed (8 oz)
- 5:00 pm – Nap
- 6:30 pm – Bath
- 6:45 pm – Feed (8 oz)
- 7:00 pm – Bedtime
Now that they nap at the same time, it’s glorious! I usually get at least an hour to myself in the middle of the day and I love it.
DIY vs Hire Out
When do you hire a project out and when do you do it yourself?
I have an entire blog post dedicated to this topic that can help you determine when it’s a good idea to hire a pro or if you should do it yourself. (You can read it here.) In the past, before children, we DIY’ed most everything. It was a great way to spend time together, learn, improve our skills, and save money. Now, it’s really tough to fit in huge DIY projects that will take time away from our kids. Before, it didn’t matter if a project took three times as long as a professional, because we could live with the dust, mess, and construction. Now, I don’t want my kids to live without a bathroom for three months because we’re slowly doing the work ourselves. We have a go-to contractor, so we budget for his labor, and do the design and finishing work ourselves.
For the next couple of years, I’m taking on DIY projects that are creative, or quicker weekend projects, or ones that involve finishing skills, like painting, carpentry, etc. I just don’t have the time to re-tile an entire bathroom by myself these days. Someday, when my kids are a bit older, I’ll be excited to get back to doing full-room renovations, myself, but it’s just not realistic right now.
Marriage with Kids
Curious how your marriage has changed, if at all, since becoming a family of four?
It has changed so so much. Finn and I have been together for 18 years (married for almost eight) and the past few months have been the most challenging…ever. Two kids under two is no joke. By the end of the day, we are both just beaten down and exhausted. We both work full-time, from home, and spend any moment we’re not working with our kids. It’s really hard to find time for us. Plus, add a pandemic to the mix, and it adds another layer of difficulty.
It’s been hard to prioritize our marriage, but we both know that having a strong marriage makes us stronger parents and a better family unit overall. So we talk about it…a lot. We talk about how hard it is, how we’re struggling, and do our best to over-communicate our needs. And as I mentioned in my “Year of Casey” post, we talk to a marriage counselor, which gives us at least an hour a week of time to focus on our relationship.
One of the tactics our counselor gave us was to sit down on Sundays and talk through the week. We discuss our calendar, upcoming appointments, and figure out which nights we can spend together, just us two. Having it on the calendar makes it a priority and it helps for us to be on the same page from the start.
It’s a hard season of life as parents of two young children and I know it won’t always be like this. We always joke that our 40s are going to be epic with lots of dates and vacays. Ha!
Submit Your Questions
Have a question you want to be answered? Use the google form below and I’ll answer it in the next Ask Casey post.
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.