Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Snow Globe

I know I've already posted about the porch and how much I love it but as an update, it's still my favorite room of our house.  It's so warm and toasty with the fireplace. It's almost impossible to resist a nap when you're in there (just ask Rob and Loki...they fall victim the most!).  And this year we added a beautiful Christmas tree!  But mostly I want to thank my friend, Michelle, for making the tree happen.

Here is what I did.  Purchased the tree from Walmart.  Called Michelle and said "Please come make my tree pretty."  Escorted Michelle to purchase whatever ornaments and decorations she declared were necessary.

And then, on the day of the big party for the neighborhood I decorated our house with our Christmas stuff and I left Michelle alone on the porch to do what she does best.  I was and am still delighted with the result!

It's a skinny little thing but it fits there perfectly and I love sitting out there in my snow globe and looking at it. I decided that I am just going to throw a sheet or bag of some sort over it and it will go down in the basement all decorated and put together because I would never get it to look like that again.

Thanks Michelle!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Big Reveal

For at least a year Rob has dreamed of transforming all of the woodwork in our house.  Everything is honey oak.  Everything.  And although we loved it when we built our house (even though it wasn’t our first choice, just the standard option) after 10 years we were ready for a change.  We really love the look of white trim.

We spent hours looking on to find pictures of what we could do to our house (and what we couldn’t).  We finally settled on the idea that Rob would be able to replace all of the trim around the floor, windows and doors with new white woodwork and that we could stain all remaining woodwork (fireplace, family room posts, kitchen cabinets, and actual doors) with a dark stain that would hide all of the oak grain we were tired of looking at.  And then we thought the kitchen might get kind of dark with that color so we thought painting the island white would brighten things up.
Well, fast forward to October 20th.  An email was sent out to some of the neighbor ladies asking who would like to host this years Christmas party.  I was thinking it had been awhile since I had hosted everyone so I asked Rob if he cared.  He did not.  And then  he added “we should redo our house for that”.  I didn’t think there was a way to get everything done by the party day, December 11th.  It was only 7 weeks.  Rob assured me we could do it.  So, I agreed to host the part and the next day we got started.  And of course I didn’t remember to take pictures until we were under way.
Rob took off some trim to see how it would come off and thankfully the answer was “fairly easily”.  So, the next day I spent the whole day removing every piece of trim around the floors, doors and windows.  It remained one of my favorite parts of the whole project.  Apparently I’m more of a destructor than constructor.  I then made a schedule of every single thing we would have to do each day in order to have the project completed on time.

For the most part, I worked on all the staining of dark wood and Rob worked on all the painting and trimming of white.  Of course there was some tag teaming both ways but it was a good system.  Rob built some beautiful headers for all the doors and windows!  Once we had almost everything stained we painted the whole downstairs.  We removed the balusters from the staircase and replaced them with fancy iron balusters (this was my favorite project).  In order to stain the wood around the stairs, we had to cut the carpet about 3 inches on either side…which meant we needed new carpet.  And then just to add a little more chaos to the schedule we decided new counter tops were in order as well.

It was a hairy 7 weeks.  I think there were only 2 nights out of the 49 that we didn’t do something for this project.  Our countertops were installed on December 7th and the carpet on December 9th.  That left the 10th to paint remaining areas and touch up stain.  And that left the 11th to finally decorate for Christmas for the party that night.  Nothing like taking it to the last minute!  But we love the results!  And without further adieu here are the before and after pictures:

Front Hallway:

Piano Room:



And for good measure a shot of the whole kitchen and the whole family room (no before pictures)

I still don’t feel rested from all the work.  As soon as the party was over it felt like December just flew by with one activity/party after another. I’m looking forward to the kids going back to school and settling back into a routine that doesn’t involve any paint brushes.

Monday, December 21, 2015


Got the presents wrapped. Finally.

Time for the kiddos to inspect, shake, compare notes with lists, count, and otherwise make me nervous they will accidental be opened.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Let's Go to the Movies...

(You have to sing that title….like from the movie “Annie”.)
My children are harassing me because I promised I would blog about this a month ago and have not. Here goes…
About a month ago Rob went to Brazil for the week.  We were in the middle of our giant home renovation so there was chaos surrounding us.  Plus, it was a Thursday and on Thursday our evenings look like this:
4pm – kids get off the bus
4:25 – bring Ellie to piano lessons
5pm – pick up Ellie
6:25 – bring Riley to piano lessons
6:40 – drop off Austin at karate
7:00 – pick up Riley
7:45 – pick up Austin
8:00 – Eat

Some would argue I could throw “eat” in there after Ellie’s lesson and before Rileys but if Austin eats before karate he feels ill.  At any rate, its our only super busy day so it’s not a huge deal, but when Rob is traveling it gets a bit nutty.  So, on the way home from karate I was mentally done for the day. I said “Let’s rent a movie. When we get home everyone puts on their jammies and we’re having popcorn, M&Ms, and apples for dinner while we watch a movie.”  The kids scurried upstairs to get ready when we got home and I put some thing away  downstairs got the DVD ready (the new Cinderella) and then headed up to get my own sweatpants on and when I came down I had this:

They had made me a movie theater.
Get the theme?  Cinderlla’s glass slipper, the pumpkin that Ellie is changing into a carriage…
I had a menu:

If I remember correctly I had popcorn, cotton candy, and pop (with free refills!).
And they made me a red carpet to walk on to get to my seat:

And they had set up a snuggly spot for me to sit and enjoy the show:

We stayed up a bit too late for a school night but it was worth it.  These guys knew just what we needed that night!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

She's "Spec"tacular

About a month ago we noticed Ellie was having a little trouble reading things on the TV. But she seemed fine otherwise and life was busy so getting her to the eye Dr. didn't happen immediately. Then about 3 days later she came into our bedroom at about 10pm and said "Mom, I forgot to tell you....I had a hearing test today and I need glasses.".

Now, it was 10pm, and I tend to shut down after about 9pm, but something about that didn't make sense to me. I must've looked at her funny because then she giggled and said '"Oops, I mean, they checked my hearing and it's awesome! But they also checked my eyes and the lady told me I had horrible vision". (I thought that was a bit harsh.) So, the next day we took her to the eye doctor and he confirmed she is near-sighted; 3 days later she now looks like this:

Isn't she adorable! It was so cool to watch her try them on for the first time. I mean, she doesn't have a horrible prescription but he did say it was a fairly significant prescription for a first pair. She put them on and smiled really big, then she'd take them off, and put them back on. Tell me all the things she could read on the walls and all the signs she could see on the way home. Ellie has had experience with glasses once before in an effort to control her migraines but she hated wearing them and they didn't seem to do anything for the migraines so we eventually stopped trying. I was worried this was going to be a similar experience where I would constantly be telling her to put her glasses on, but she was so excited about what she could see that she hasn't once complained about them.

Ellie picked out two pair. These are her favorite. The other pair is a bright, almost neon, purple. To be honest I wasn't crazy about either pair in the store but I am the girl who picked out Smurfette glasses in kindergarten that were pink on the top and blue on the bottom so I wasn't in a position to say anything. I do love them now. They are very "Ellie".

The only sad part is that I think they make her look older....*sniff*....she's growing up.


I'm over a month behind in my introduction but this way I can give you an introduction as well as a progress report. I'm efficient.

My dad and I drove down to Iowa on October 14th to grab our new puppy. We met the breeders husband in a tractor supply store parking lot. It was a little weird but it saved me an extra 4.5 hours of driving so I was fine with it.

He slept almost the whole way home. I think we stopped twice to see if he needed to "go" but he was so distracted by all the cars and noise that he just wanted to sit next to me and hide. Country pup.

The kids had basketball in the afternoon so they did not come with us but were eagerly awaiting our arrival.

He has been a snuggly little thing right from the get-go. When Riley lay down that night on the floor to watch a show Loki was not satisfied until he was right next to her.

I think as far as puppies go, we got a winner. Of course, I'm biased. And it helps that I'm his favorite...can you blame him :)

If I sit still long enough you can pretty much guarantee that he will find my feet a comfortable place to take a quick rest.

This sometimes leads to a little bit of jealousy:

Potty training is going well. It took about 10 days for him to get the hang of it. But now he rings a bell by our door when he has to go out. He's also pretty good about peeing in the little spot we made for him under our porch. However, just tonight it seems he is allowing us only about 0.2 seconds to open that door post-ring before he can't hold it any longer. So, I won't say he is completely potty trained, but he is pretty darn close. He also sleeps great at night. Goes to sleep around 9 or 9:30 and wakes up around 6:30 or 7. I hope that someday he will understand the concept of a "weekend" but I'm not holding my breath on that one. That's what the kids are for.

His favorites include: playing with the kids (especially tug of war & fetch), hiding under small spaces,

And snuggling. If you are on the floor, he is in your lap.

All in all everyone is happy. (Riley is beyond happy.) He's been a nice little companion for me during the day. I guess we'll keep him around!