Thursday, July 17, 2014


Last week was Maddie's 15th birthday! We were up bright and early and headed to Chaska for a little test taking...

It wasn't a long wait and soon enough she was waiting in line her peculiar grin that says, "I'm not trying to smile...but I'm really wanting to have a huge grin." It's perhaps a look only a mother would know.

For her birthday she wanted to drive. So, we headed straight to the nearest parking lot and spent the next four hours driving forward, backward and all around.

My parents stopped by to see her in action and wish her a happy birthday. My mom lent me some safety gear...

Later she went back with Mike to take a turn in his truck. She prefers my car more though.

She's now been driving a full week and is getting much more comfortable. I think there's only been one day she hasn't gotten behind the wheel. This morning we drove to Target. Since we hadn't really practiced parking a lot yet I told her to just park little further out to stay away from cars.

I needed water after the hike back to our car.

So she is off and running driving.

In related news, Mike has grown a few more gray hairs.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


About a month or so ago Mike and I decided (really decided this time...) that we were absolutely going to move the kitchen to a new location. Neither of us wanted to call in the appliance order for a revamped kitchen when we knew that wouldn't fix any of our problems. In fact - the fridge we expected to get was going to give us less space by a couple inches - which we barely had where it was going to be located.

We've been spending the last month getting things ready and ordered. We changed a lot of the appliances we were getting and got those ordered. After SEVERAL trips to many different tile companies we finally picked a tile we think we will like. (And thank you to the many people that we pulled inside for a second and third...and fourth opinion!) We spent the last couple weeks looking at granite. We think we have one picked out. I'm not totally in love with it - but there doesn't seem to be a lot of options for exactly what we are looking for. We are still waiting to place that order in case we run into something else. We are hoping our cabinets can get ordered this week; we are just waiting on some color samples.

In the meantime though - we can and did finally get to work on other things. Mainly demo.

Last Thursday we spent quality time together as a family packing up our kitchen and relocating it to the bar in the basement. I had gone through and pulled out some of the things that I thought were absolutely necessary. The rest was boxed up and will be stored in our room until we are finished.

July 4th we were up early and started in on the demo! First we removed appliances. My dad came over to help. He unhooked the dishwasher and as I walked over to help him carry it out - he popped it open and walked out himself with it. We all just stared and started laughing. It's kind of a running joke in our family how much weight my dad can lift. I ran to offer to help open the door and Jake yelled after me, "Don't bother mom - Grandpa will just open it with his mind!" (Dad didn't...but he did open it with one hand while holding the dishwasher with the other...)

In removing the microwave we found out why we never had a vent that seemed to work. The microwave flap that was supposed to be open for venting was still taped shut. Someone had forgotten a minor detail upon installation.

Here is what we basically started with on the that day - the appliances were moved out shortly after this.

My mom had offered the night before to come over and break down walls with a sledgehammer. She said she likes demo-ing things. We didn't think it would be a wise move for her to wield a sledgehammer though when she has some ribs that are currently mending from over-strain. We did put Maddie and Jake to work though!

They were both looking forward to two things: busting up the counter and tearing down the walls.

They really didn't bust up the counter - they just knocked it loose. But they did love tearing into the walls!

So did Mike and I - GREAT stress reliever!!

This is about the point where Mike decided safety glasses would be useful. Then he put them on and he was sweating so much that they fogged right up and he couldn't see a thing.

We did have our first unexpected situation. We thought we'd be able to save more drywall than we actually did. The cabinets had done a number on the wall and we didn't think they'd be salvageable.

It wasn't all work though. Dad offered a ride for Jake:

He also offered one to Maddie. She hadn't been downstairs to see Jake's ride so was a little skeptical to stand on the Dolly when dad told her to. Please see her face...she was quite surprised when he took of running with her on it!

It was a messy, messy day - we all looked a little worse for the wear...

By the end of that first day we had accomplished a lot -

On Saturday the last bit of demo was done. We removed the island wall and tore out the portion of vinyl flooring in this area. Mike, Dad and I were crazy people getting that all up and out! It was to the dump by noon!

Day two did come to a screeching halt for a couple hours. Mike and Dad had to figure out the riddle that is our electrical wiring. They couldn't figure out what our builders had done to certain rooms and how they were (or weren't) wired together.

I was in charge of cutting a couple wires out of boxes and removing the old boxes we no longer needed. I must have checked about four times with my dad to make sure all the wires were dead and that I was definitely cutting the right ones. Mike and he assured me everything was good to go. I cut the first wire then as I cut the second wire I felt this vibration and jumped up a little expecting a sudden volt to go through me. Turns out it was at that exact moment of cutting the wire that someone texted me and my phone vibrated in my back pocket.

I don't have any updated pictures from the last couple days- but not much else looks different. There's more wiring and piping since these were taken. They've built a second wall to make wiring and piping that much easier. We've sold half the appliances, all the cupboards and our table and chairs - which I wasn't really expecting to sell, honestly - not until we found something we liked. Mike had different ideas. I'm set next week to go furniture shopping with my mom and Tracy.

So we are off and running. We expect this to take a couple months. Maddie and Jake were in charge of making a dinner list this week and one of the items to try is grilled pizza from Papa Murphy's. They heard good things from someone at church. I'm sure we'll be trying any number of grilled combos in the next couple months!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Project Life - May

What? It's July 1st and I'm just getting May posted? Yep. I was SOOOO close to being caught up! But then summer happened and kids were home all day and suddenly I'm still wondering where June went!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Needs Just a Little Practice

I saw the video below online and called the kids down to watch it. It's fun to listen to AND fun to watch! We were all smiling at the end.

Afterward we were in for a treat! Maddie decided that the pianist's part wouldn't be THAT difficult. So she sat laid down to play a little tune for us...

You can hardly tell a difference between the two performances, right??

Monday, June 9, 2014

They Just Needed a Little Push

We opened our pool about a month ago, but weren't able to swim until just a couple weeks ago. Maddie and Jake were excited to get the summer started and lined up together to jump in simultaneously.

This happens every year. It's like a tradition. They hold hands...count to three...

Then stand there.

Then they do it again.

This is SUCH a tradition that I knew I didn't even need to worry about taking pictures on the first "jump".

But, I did have my eye on Mike who was walking behind them. Knowing him so well (and knowing what my own dad did to us...and what I would have done...) I had my camera ready and my mouth shut and just waited...

It's moments like these that we walk away thinking, "Parenting is AWESOME!"

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Kitchen Remodel Inspirations

About five or six years ago our neighbor, whom I had never met until that day, invited me into her house (which is exactly like ours) because we were discussing kitchens and they had just remodeled theirs - to the point of moving it to another room. I've never really loved our kitchen - I just haven't liked the layout or the size. When I got home I talked and talked and talked about this awesome kitchen to Mike and suggested we move our kitchen too...I think he replied with an eye roll.

I've continually "dropped this hint" on a regular basis ever since. I've even drawn up plans online and shown them to him. Over this same amount of time our kids have gotten bigger and both like to spend time in the kitchen. Maddie loves to bake and make smoothies. Jake loves to cook. We are discovering that four people in our kitchen does not work out well. Oh yeah...and when there's food out, the dog is SURE to be involved by just sitting at your feet looking up at you. She's a tripping hazard.

We took on the idea of updating our kitchen and picked out all new appliances with the intention of getting a new counter and floor. Then we just stopped and took no action. Neither of us was excited to spend that amount of money on a kitchen we both disliked more and more each day. Mike had drawn up some plans to move the kitchen and we liked it - but that's a huge step and we weren't completely sure it was best. Last week we finally decided to stop talking about it and get it done. We ordered all different appliances than originally planned and set the plans in motion. We are currently waiting on some bids for cabinets and we've started looking online (God Bless Pinterest!) for tile/counter/backsplash ideas.

Last night I was looking through which also has a handy app for my tablet. I was trying to find examples of a cabinet we were looking to order. It was a little late, it had been a long day of already looking at cabinets galore and I was getting a little punch drunk on cabinets. So...I buckled down and got serious on kitchen design...

First we have to decide on our style:

Versailles called - it wants it's kitchen back.

A little too simple. (and that thing is a hood fan...)

We also have to decide on a color scheme:

Perhaps a lovely Blue...
Maybe just a little of everything to cover our bases:
Eclectic Kitchen by Hendersonville Artists & Artisans

We will also have to decide on back splashes/wall coverings:

I've always wanted a garden...
Contemporary Kitchen

You have to admire the time and dedication it took to make this all fit together - but that asymmetrical hood really bothers me.
Eclectic Kitchen by Austin Architects & Designers Cornerstone Architects

Makes me want to pull out a Margarita. It's 5 o'clock somewhere.
Tropical Kitchen by San Juan Capistrano Kitchen & Bath Designers THE KITCHEN LADY, Enriching Homes With Style

Next up is lighting - we'll be getting a couple pendants so this should be easy...

A microphone stand...calling everyone to dinner will be very easy!
Eclectic Kitchen by La Jolla Interior Designers & Decorators Andrea May Hunter/Gatherer

We have to make sure we put the details in:

Boar's head, anyone? ( that a boar's head???)
Beach Style Kitchen by Atlanta Architects & Designers Historical Concepts

Too many details...and too much dusting.

We will be installing a big center island..

This would go AWESOME with the ship chandelier above!!
Beach Style Kitchen by Jamestown Architects & Designers Ronald F. DiMauro Architects, Inc.

Can you even imagine the intense hot dog Cook-offs the boys could have?!?

So, you can see where the next few weeks will be quite stressful for two people that aren't all that great at decorating in the first place. If we make the wrong choices - that could be a lot of therapy bills for our kids later in life!

Monday, June 2, 2014

April Project Life

I'm not keeping up with this nearly as well as last year. I have two weeks off starting today; my goal is to get caught up on this project and get it back into a regular schedule!