Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Carter is TWO!

And just like that... our baby turns two. 

 It's moments like these that take my breath away. 
Makes me sit back as a parent and say "wow, where did the time go?". 

These milestones make me forget all of the sleepless nights, struggles of juggling baby gear, heavy carseats, chasing older siblings while feeding the youngest one.  All of those hard moments that happen within the first year or even two years.. they all seem so precious when they are over.  So missed.  Feels like a life time ago that we were anxiously awaiting his arrival. 

Carter, you complete us. You are amazing. Watching you learn from your brother and sister and teach them about love... well it's just incredible.

 There is a magical bond between brothers.  It's an unspoken language. 
 A connection that is beautiful to watch. 
We are blessed.  Grateful.  Thankful.  

  Happy Birthday Carter Oliver.  We love you more than words could ever express. 

Love, Daddy, Mommy, Mariah, and Ethan

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Our New Island

Cory continues to amaze me over and over.  He is excellent with detailed work, but doesn't like to let me in on his secret.  This weekend he proved that he can make my visions come to life and do them in a very professional way.  Thank you honey!

Our island started out like this.  There was a large overhang on the end and left side which made our kitchen feel very cramped.  We were constantly asking each other to move so we could pass by.  After seven years I seriously wanted to rip out the island and just be done with it. 

But we use our island all the time.  Its the center of our home.  We cook, clean, serve food, do homework, well you get it.  We needed to keep the island, but improve the function.  So I started looking on houzz and came up with a couple inspirations. 

I would love to paint our cabinets, but Cory really loves the stained wood look... so he wins for now.  The picture above with the stained island and white cabinets is one of my absolute favorite kitchens. 

Back to our kitchen project.  I pulled off the counter and got a feel for the space. 

Took some measurements. Then headed to Home Depot and Menards. It took me two trips, but I came home with more cabinets and a new butcher block counter.


We ended up returning one set of cabinets and adding the other to our island to make it longer.  We went with a three drawer cabinet because it was the easiest to work with and custom match to our current cabinets. 

Cory stained, measured, sanded, cut, sanded, finished with a protecting coat, and cut some more... It was a long weekend and he was happy when he was done. 

I believe our conversation before Father's Day went something like this...
Me: What would you like for Father's Day this year?
Cory: And then I'll ask for the same thing next year.
Me: hmmmmm with your talent and my ideas...

The finished project is beautiful.  We have 24" more of cabinet space, our counter is is narrow and long, we can all function in the kitchen without having to move around each other.  It turned out better than I imagined. 

Look at the detail.  Isn't it pretty?  How did we do for learning-as-we-go-DIYers?


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

More Updates, More Projects, More Fun

First I want need to say that I am VERY grateful for my handy husband.  He is amazing!  He may not always like my ideas or want to carry out my ideas, but often times he gives in, rolls up his sleeves, and jumps in to my projects, with a lot of begging and encouragement. 

I keep telling Cory I will give him a break, but my mind is full of creative thoughts.  Seriously, I will wake up in the middle of the night with some fabulous idea for updating our house.  Sickness?  Maybe, but it's my passion. 

We finished our wall project.  This was huge for me.  I wanted an open concept feel so we could stay connected as a family even if we were in different rooms.  Removing a large portion of the wall made this happen.  I am SO happy with how this project turned out.  This project made me fall in love with our home.  I no longer want to move (unless its South to warmer weather) and if you know me, then you know that is a big deal. 

When we finished up the wall project, my focus quickly went to the surrounding rooms.  I made a couple small updates to our front entry.  I still dream of board and batten in this room, but for now I am loving the new cushion, white mirror, and inviting feel.

My next project got a little out of control.  Sorry honey ;-) I sure am glad you love me...
I decided that I wanted to update our kitchen island, a little.  My idea started with a new counter.  Our island counter had a belly that hung over on two sides, but our kitchen is too narrow for bar stools.  This made things very cramped for a family of five.  Mornings were a mess. 

Don't mind the cluttered counters... I was on a mission.

So I removed the island counter and visualized. A. LOT. 

I went to Home Depot and picked up a 24" base cabinet of drawers, then stopped at Menards and picked up a beautiful 8' long butcher block counter.  The drawer base is just a builder grade cabinet, but I knew my handy hubby could make it match our custom cabinets.  ;-) Luckily we have flat oak front drawers so they should be fairly simple to recreate. 

Cory stained the cabinets before connecting them to the existing cabinets.  I've attempted staining before, but Cory doesn't even ask me to help anymore.  Hmmmm, must not be my strength. 

I also picked up a new pendant light from Menards to match the lights that we have hanging in the cutouts in the wall project.  I am loving this light.  We had a ceiling mounted light before that gave off little light.  This pendant really lights up the island counter.  It's amazing how something so little can make such a big difference. 

Cory attached the cabinets and the butcher block counter.  We had to cut the counter down almost a foot to make it work for our space.  Having a 7' island is amazing!  We love all of the extra work space.  Removing the belly from the side also added a lot of open space to our kitchen.  We can now pass by each other in front of the fridge and pantry without waiting for the other person to move. 
Mornings are happier because of this project. 

 We left a 6" over hang on the left end of the island.  We have plans to put newels there to give the island extra character.  It also creates an inviting place to stand (or put a narrow stool - don't tell my husband, he hates stools).

The butcher block is sealed and we are waiting anxiously to start using it again.  It takes 72 hours for the seal to cure... waiting... and waiting... and waiting.  Isn't it beautiful!

We started removing the old trim around the base of the cabinet.  It will have a similar, but much more detailed look when we are done with it. 

Here is a little peak at our pile of detailed trim.  It's going to be fabulous! 

I am very anxious to complete this project.  We have Carter's 2nd birthday party planned for the end of this month, but have very full weekends until then. 
 Think we can have the island project done?!  No pressure or anything Cory. 

Oh, and I promise after this... I'll try to back off on the new project ideas for a while. Maybe.

Next up: tile backsplash, new wood floors! (sssshhhhh) ;-)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Look Out Drivers

Remember my post about Mariah driving...

Well, our baby is legal behind the wheel!  She is a good driver.  A responsible driver.  But hasn't learned the art of defensive driving yet.  Unfortunately, that part takes time and is learned through experiences. 

On Good Friday Mariah passed her driving test!  It's official.  She's grown up.  I'm still in denial.  We haven't allowed her to take out the vehicle on her own, but it will happen soon.  We can't keep her boxed in for much longer. 

I think Paster Sue said it best in one of her recent newsletters. 
 "May you never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly." 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Wall Project: Sneak Peak



All we have to do is put up the trim.  Can you see why I have been so excited (and busy) lately! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Ethan: Getting Ready for Kindergarten

Recently, I got to spend TWO FULL DAYS with this handsome little man!  These two days were amazing.  I was off of work, the other kids were at daycare and school, Cory was working, and Ethan and I got some direct one on one time.  I wish I was able to do stuff like this more often.  It's days like these that make for some amazing moments to remember. 

On the first day, Ethan and I got ready and took him to school!  He had Kindergarten screening.  Ethan went in to one room to work with the teachers and I went to the other room to fill out paperwork with the other parents.  When the teachers brought Ethan back to me they said he did amazing and charmed them all.  Uh-oh... should we be proud or worried that our oldest son is a charmer?  Just like his father. 

After screening we did some shopping.  See all the new cars that Ethan picked out?!  Then we went to his favorite spot, Georgie Porgies, for lunch. 

After lunch we made a visit to the eye doctor.  Ethan was an amazing patient during his first eye exam. 

He loved wearing the goofy 3D glasses. 

20/20 vision! 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bringing Down the Wall!

The forever hated WALL is coming down!!  I have waited for this for many years and it's finally happening!  Cory and I have been talking about it the past couple of weeks.  I thought maybe we would start tearing in to the project, literally, in March, but on Saturday morning Cory looked over at me, told me he loves me very much, then told me that I drive him nuts, then he looked at the wall.  Suddenly I knew that the time had come.  The wall was coming down.  Neither of us said anything more.  We grabbed some tools and started demolition. 

All of these pictures were taken with my phone.  We seriously dove right in to this project.  There was no time for fancy camera pictures. 

Here is the view from my dining room before demo.

 This is the family room before demo.  See that big giant blank wall that is two colors?  The bottom of the wall doesn't line up with the top of the wall.  It's about 1/4 - 1/2 inch off depending where we measure.  This will get blended by the end of this project.

My dad came over on Saturday to give us a hand.  There were surprise support posts in places we didn't expect them.  There were also 7 lines of electric running through the wall.  Cory and my dad drilled holes in the floor.  Disconnected the electric.  Then hooked everything up under the floor in the basement ceiling.  I was never a fan of the drop ceiling in the basement, but Cory told me that we would be happy to have the access to everything between the floor and the basement ceiling.  I guess he was right... yup, you were right honey.  Good call.  ;-) 

Ethan was an awesome helper.  He used the heavy drill to get the screws out of the studs.  He took out about 20 screws all on his own!   

This picture is seriously blurry, but it's the only one that I have of all four guys working together. 
What a crew! 

Here is a peak at our new opening.  Isn't it lovely?! 

We can see in to the dining room and kitchen now from the family room and front entry.

 The boys love the opening and ran lots of circle around it on Sunday. 

Hey look, I helped too.  Actually I was the tool runner, kid watcher, and mess cleaner the entire weekend.  Demo makes a huge mess... Ethan is awesome by the way.  This little man did everything he could to help. 

Here is a peak from the kitchen.  My dining room is no longer a dead end space with no natural light.  It's actually a room that we will enjoy using.  There is still a large wall dividing the two spaces.  We have plans to open up more of this, but haven't figured out how we will do that yet.  We might make the opening to the right about 3 feet wider.  Or we might cut two look through openings in the remaining wall.  We would love to remove the entire wall, but there are two major load bearing supports running through the wall that we don't want to mess with.  We plan to work around them and open up as much as we can. 

Another look from the family room in to the dining room and kitchen area.  Fabulous!  I am so excited about this.  I have been waiting years for this to happen.  Thank you hubby! 

The best surprise of all is that I can see out the front window in our entry nook from the kitchen. 
Love. Love. Love.

I owe this project to the most amazing husband ever.  Cory, I know I have been making your crazy for years over this wall.  I am sorry about that, but you love me and you show me that every day.  Opening up our floor plan means so much to me.  It's not just about the layout and extra light.  It's also about keeping our family together while we are home.  It's about helping the kids with school work at the kitchen table while we clean, cook, and play with the kids in the family room.  It's about being connected under one open space.  Being together in our home.  Thank you for loving me so much.  You are my hero.