Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Yesterday...and Tomorrow

Yesterday, I was honored and blessed to be at the birth of my sweet, beautiful, amazing niece. When my nephew was born, it just so happened that I was working and I captured some pretty precious first moments of him...this time, my brother and sister-in-law asked me if I would come to take photos of baby girl's birth.

Um, lemme think about that...YES!!

So, I showed up bright and early, tried not to be too intrusive, and was able to capture some pretty sweet moments! And you guys? That baby girl?

I die. She absolutely melts my heart!

And then tomorrow. Whoa nelly. TOMORROW.

Tomorrow I will drop my baby boy off at college. Did you hear that? COLLEGE. As in...grown up. Moving on. Going out into the big world.

I keep finding myself saying super cheesy things like, "Do you REALIZE that you are about to embark on the greatest adventure of your whole life????? Like, you're about to meet friends that you'll be friends with FOREVER. You're about to decide the fate of the rest of your life! You are probably going to meet your future wife, the future mother of your children!!" and he looks at me and says, "Yeah. Um. Guys don't think about things like that."


Whoa. Seriously...mamas, hug those babies tight because before you know it they, too, will be embarking on the greatest adventure of their lives.

I'm excited for him and nervous for him. I'm happy for him and sad (for me). 

Thankfully, he's not moving too far away...and, I'm totally not afraid to pull a "Love You Forever" move and haul a ladder over to his dorm room window so that I can climb in and rock him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.


Have I mentioned: college?

Oh my.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


It's been 12 days since my last post...TWELVE!! (There once was a time in the history of this blog that that would've been a sin! Blasphemy! TWELVE DAYS WITHOUT A POST?! Gah.) And guys...this project is really coming together!!

Our flooring is (mostly) in...thanks to the help of some amazing friends who persisted in asking us if we needed help (we did) and more amazing friends who showed up day after day to see this through. We are blessed and thankful for these people in our lives (and NOT just because they help us...they are all incredible friends that we cherish!).

Part of my purpose in blogging this is so that we can look back and remember the pain and agony we went through if we ever decide to do any major renovation again. Which, I'll be honest, there's not a whole lot left in our house to renovate! (We sorta did it all with this one!)

The last time we "talked" I had left you with some before and "during" photos...and while we aren't quite to the FINISHED photos, I do have some that give a good glimpse into what this will be like when it's done!

First up, the flooring. Oh sweet mother of Jesus, the flooring. 

I am head over heels in love with it. It is "Asian Blonde Walnut" (or Acacia) and the rustic look of the variable colors is EXACTLY what I was looking for! And BONUS: It's harder than oak! Just what we needed with these hooligans running through our house!

Next, the paint. I had picked two colors for our as an "accent" and the other for the rest of the house. My Gram saw the main color and suggested that perhaps it was a bit dark. Now, I love me some pigment in my paint...but when we got it up on all the walls, I realized my kitchen was going to be pretty darn dark with the cabinets, counters, floors and paint. Gram was right. So, approximately three days after we painted the whole house (another shout out of thanks to my sister-in-law and parents for going gang busters with us to paint ALL THE WALLS!), I insisted on changing the color in the kitchen.

My husband loves me. I have totally embraced the "high maintenance" title with this project. I want it done and I want it done right! (See above flooring photo for "accent" color...and original dark color!)

Anyway, going light was the right decision. I want our (GORGEOUS!!!) cabinets to be showcased, not to blend in, and the color on the walls lets them shine!

Speaking of cabinets...holy moly. I am in love with them. I'm pretty sure we drove our cabinet guy bonkers, with our "we want them knotty" request (I'm discovering that cabinet makers must be perfectionists and want the wood clear and free from any knots. Cracks. Variations. Which is EXACTLY what we WANTED!)

Maple. Knotty. In fact, we probably would've even gone with MORE knots, but I'm still (very) happy with what we've got! 

Next up: Installing doors and windows, IF they ever come in (I'm looking at YOU, Home Depot), finishing flooring, and deciding what to do for shelving in our pantry. It'll have to be "custom" something, no prefabbed metal racks from Costco, because we have a window in our pantry that we have to work around. Any suggestions? What do YOU have for shelving in your pantry? Ideas? Thoughts?

Also, speaking of those prefabbed shelving units...can they be cut down and re-soldered (welded?)? That IS what I wanted in our entry closet, but I need a 45" unit and guess what? It doesn't come in that size. And 36" is too small. Help.

As we speak, the "granite guy" is doing the "field measure" for our counters...which will be installed next Friday. Good gracious, I don't know if I can wait that long!! I'm so ready to have my house back...and back BETTER than it ever was!

Looking forward to sharing the "AFTER" photos with you soon!! Eeeeek! Yay!!! Hooray! Yippee!!!!!

Friday, August 1, 2014

My Life...It's in Shambles

I have officially and ferociously reached the "GET THIS DAMN PROJECT DONE!!!!" part of our remodel. 

I'm tired of having plywood floors and drywall walls. 

I'm tired of having a rouge oven in the middle of my kitchen.

I'm tired of my washer and dryer being in the middle of my dining room.

I'm tired of the dust.

This isn't moving fast enough. I just want it, yesterday.

In the spirit of seeing forward progress, let me share with you a few before and after pics...more for my own mental health than anything else.

Here we go:

Before: View from Living Room:

During: Same View

Still During: Same View:

Before: View from end of stairs:

During: View from end of stairs. Whoa:

Okay...that helped. I now see the forward progress...but HOT DAMN let's hurry up!!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wherein I Overuse the 'H' Word.

There's a little four letter word that I hate. Oops. I just used it. Yes, the word "hate" is not on my favorite list...and I use it way more than I like to, but you know what? Sometimes, a situation calls for the use of four letter words.

Like HATE.

As in, "I HATE (loathe, despise, dread) HATE HATE HATE removing wallpaper.". See? Totally justifiable, no?

I know I totally need to do a remodel update for y'all, but for now...just lemme vent.

The entire time we've lived here, I've always assumed that the previous owners (not the original owners) updated the wall paper in this house. Well, when we removed the cabinets, we discovered the wallpaper went BEHIND the cabinets, which leads one to believe it was original wallpaper, no? And 40 year old wallpaper shouldn't be THAT hard to remove...right?

Wrong. (If you look closely, you can see some of the wallpaper ...thankfully, most of this was removed with demolition...crazy to me already, to see that this is what our mudroom USED to look like!)

In every house I've lived in, I've had to remove oodles of wallpaper and let me tell version of hell is removing wallpaper. If said wallpaper removes easily in nice large sheets? Well then, I can tolerate it...however, if said wallpaper peels off in teeny, tiny itty bitty scraps? (As it did in our current house.) Forget it. I'd rather have you stick hot pokers in my eyes and pull my fingernails off one-by-one while making me try to figure out math word problems.


Thankfully, there wasn't a TON of wallpaper left to remove in our house (I had painstakingly done it several years ago...) but that which was left? Freakin' cemented on to the wall with some sort of bionic glue. (Likely the same dang glue they used to put the flooring on with...that stuff is STUCK.)

Seriously. I tried just saturated the drywall underneath, which resulted in me peeling layers of drywall off. I tried hot water and vinegar. I tried fabric softener. I tried ironing. (Yes, you read that right...IRONING.) I even tried to get my dad to help remove it.

NOTHING worked. Teeny, tiny scraps or peeling layers of drywall. I was losing time off my life. My hair was turning gray. I wanted to run away, screaming. I whined. I pouted. I almost cried.

Then we realized drywall was, like, 6 bucks a sheet and for the space I had left to remove we figured, "Aw, the heck with it, tear the whole dang drywall off!!"...we figured the time I was losing off my life, and much blood, sweat and tears, painstakingly removing the wallpaper, then, needing someone to come in and patch up all the torn off layers of drywall...we'd be better off starting from scratch.

So that's what we did.

Ripped out the wallpapered drywall.

HALLELUJAH!!!! Adios wallpaper!!

And, to the person that invented wallpaper? I hate you.

*GASP* I just used that word again.

Totes warranted, though, right? ;)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Story of the "High-Maintenance Mother"'s Ring

Before we begin, let me is not the ring that is "high-maintenance" in this story, oh no, my friends, not the is the mother.

If you've read around here for any length of time, you'll have gathered that my wonderful husband is NOT the World's Best Gift Giver. As in, if gift giving were an Olympic sport...well, he wouldn't even qualify to attend. ;)

I mean, y'all remember the chocolate covered strawberry story, right? And, I'm not sure that I ever told you about the beef jerky and Pepsi birthday present, did I? (Disclaimer: I'm a Coke girl.) Even still, I love him so.

But then...THEN the one time he puts forth a lot of thought and effort (well, I guess the berries DID require some planning...), I go and blow it. And here is where you learn that I am high-maintenance. (Ugh. I try not to be...but sometimes? Well, sometimes I just can't help it.)

So, a week or so before Mother's Day this year, the Mr. was looking at photos on his phone and I happened to glance over just as he was (trying to) quickly swipe past what was, undeniably, a photo of a ring setting. A MOTHER'S RING setting.

Nice, right?

Well...yeah. Only, I've never been a traditional "Mother's Ring" kind of girl. My childrens' birth months meshed together create a color scheme reminiscent of that one time I drank too much Captain Morgan in high school and barfed until the cows came home. Add in the long skinny fingers connected to my blocky hands and any thin band looks wonky on me. Plus, I've just never been a fan of Mother's Rings.

Anyway, I see this ring setting photo, feel a bit of panic rise in my throat and toss out a "Yeah, should probably run anything like that past me, first." Turns out, it was already a done deal...I just didn't know it.

*insert foot in mouth*

Shortly before that, however, my sister-in-law had three unique, thin diamond bands (one for each of her children) soldered together and called it her Mother's Ring...and I was sold. Only...slight problem.

FIVE KIDS. Oy. Can you imagine the width of THAT ring?! I mean, I know I'm no skinny band girl, but yeesh. I'm not sure that even MY fingers could handle a ring of that magnitude.

So, Mother's Day rolls around, my handsome hubby snuck out of the house early to buy a card and comes back with a bag of Sour Patch Kids and the aforementioned card. I kiss him, thank him, and turn around to finish getting ready for church when he says, "WAIT! You should really try one of those Sour Patch Kids...they're super fresh!" and having been married to him for 13 years I realized there was something more in that bag of delicious candy.

I open the bag and there lies a small box...and I start to have heart palpitations and thoughts like "Oh no. How do I handle this?!" run through my mind and sure enough...there it is. That Mother's Ring. The unfortunate melding of birthstones that activates my gag reflex...that ring that makes me feel as though I should be 20-30 years older to wear it. 

My heart sinks...and not because of the ring. My heart sank because here my wonderful, amazing, hard working, fabulous husband gave me an incredibly thoughtful gift and all I could think was "BUT I DON'T WANT IT!!!". What kind of spoiled, selfish brat does that?!

Me. Apparently.

He gave me a crooked grin and said, "If you really don't like it, they said they'd work with you on something. You can't return it, but they'll apply it toward a different ring."

Why...WHY can't I just be happy and satisfied with it? WHY??? And so I ruined my own Mother's Day. By feeling so guilty.

By being so high-maintenance and spoiled that I couldn't just be pleased as punch. I knew I'd never wear it.

And so, after much consideration and discussion with my hubby...THIS is my new, non-traditional, ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT, Mother's Ring (yeesh, are my hands ever ugly...):

A band for each one of my children. My 2 beautiful, dainty daughters represented by the beautiful, dainty diamond bands and my 3 strong, sturdy, handsome sons represented by the strong, sturdy, solid bands. 

And each band? Held together by a strong, wide base...which I like to think represents my husband. The strong base of our family.

That, my friends, is the story of my "High-Maintenance Mother"'s Ring.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Things I've Learned While Remodeling

Before I start...let's be honest; I am CERTAIN I will learn a lot more before this project has reached completion!

We've sort of reached the "putting it back together" part of our, the "stair project" will start and by tomorrow, I should have a new area in which I can walk downstairs! Hoping to start painting next week so that we can be ready to start installing the flooring!

Okay, so let's get started with things I've learned:

1. (Speaking of stairs...) Have you ever tried to calculate the rise and run of a staircase? I did. I consumed approximately 300% of my time and absolutely fried my brain. And I'm still not sure. Calculating rise and run of a stair case is infinitely more difficult than anything in the whole world.

2. Recessed lights: 2nd most infinitely difficult task is figuring out where to put the dang cans.

3. When demolishing things, make sure to check to see if they contain asbestos.

4. Remodeling during the summer isn't nearly as bad as people led me to fact, I think it's better than any other season!'s SUMMER. We aren't trapped inside this war zone of a house...we can frolic outside all day long and cook outside and eat outside (unless the mosquitos are awful, then that's another story). Summer is where it's at for remodeling.

5. You discover a lot about yourself. For example: I might not know WHAT I want, but I sure as heck know what I DON'T want!! (Boob lights, for example. Don't want.) 

6. There is a smart end and a dumb end to a tape measure. Please, always, give me the dumb end.

7. Inside every remodel project are hidden costs. But I'm sure you already knew that. (Mold. Rotten sub floor from a leaky patio door. Wallpaper that won't come off and totally destroys the sheetrock.)

8. It sucks to have to cut things out because of that stupid word "budget".

9. I never knew I'd be excited to be awoken to hammering...because it means PROGRESS is happening!

Stay tuned, I'll fill you in on more of the knowledge I've gleaned from being a "home remodeler"!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

It Was Bound To Happen...

Well...all throughout this remodel plan (even whilst in the planning stages) we kept hearing about the bumps along the way, the "issues" that crop up when you start tearing apart on older home.

Behind every ripped off piece of drywall, I expected to see termites, rotting boards, leaking ceilings, alien creatures destroying our home from the inside know, all THAT stuff. All we found, however, was just a whole bunch (like, a whole, WHOLE bunch) of cobwebs.

Until last night.

We had a piece of paint that had been peeling on one of our walls and I kind of ignored it for a long time. Like, years. Then, as we're tearing apart everything else, a little one tugged a bit on the paint and GAH. Mold. And a rusty screw.

Well, we decided to rip off that piece of drywall, figuring we'd replace it AND make it easier for the plumber as well, and wouldn't you know...mold on the other side too. (Please ignore the's hard to dust inside your walls...)

This is right where our washer/dryer hook-ups are, a roughed in, hole in the drywall, redneck style hook-up. A couple of times we've had a leaky washing machine or the drain would suds up and back up and goodness. I guess it caused a bit of a problem.

Thankfully, I don't think it's too bad. Nothing a little drywall patching and "hook-up fixing" (which we were planning to do anyway) can't handle.

I hope.

Yeesh. Wish us luck!


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