Monday, September 30, 2013

We're in.

There's a reason this post is 2 weeks overdue. As I've mentioned, our move was less than fun with a sick toddler coupled with another toddler who was out of sorts from all the chaos and let's face it, exhausted parents. So when it came to moving day the goal was: Get It In. The rest we'd deal with later.

We didn't realize how long it took us to move out of our last house, mostly because we took small truck loads over little by little over the course of 3 weeks and then did one big move with the furniture. This time we had 48 hours to get it all done.

That wasn't enough.

I kept calling my friend, C, and saying "yep, still not in. I promise, tomorrow we'll get the rest of it." She needed to go back through the temporary house and get it back in order before her dad came back in town. It literally took us 5 days to finally get the last and final loads of crap junk stuff. Thanks C for being patient with us!

So this is what our move in day looked like...

Oh wait...that's Todd. He was helping me model how tiny our guest closet is. He can't even turn sideways people! Made even smaller by the fact that all of my clothes are now shoved in the closet.

Back to the point of this post...move-in day pictures.

Our new couches arrived:

Along with all our other stuff...

At one point we questioned if we actually had that additional 500 sq feet we were so excited to gain...

This was our bedroom. We couldn't even walk in it for a few days and had to move boxes to make it to the bed each time. That was fun.

The boy's room. Note the presence of two toddler beds. Now there's only one. And no, we didn't get rid of a kid.

Then there was the "guest room". When we didn't know what it was, where to put it or let's face it - want to deal with it, this is where it went. At one point the guys stopped asking and they just shoved things in the room.

We've come a long way over the past two weeks. I've just started hanging pictures since I decided we wouldn't be able to paint for at least a month with our schedule. I couldn't handle them sitting in piles around the house so I started putting them up. May regret that later but for right now it's making me a little less crazy calmer.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Don't miss the little blessings

I'm not going to lie. It's been a rough few months. If packing up your house, renting your home, renovating a newly purchased house all while working full time and having toddlers isn't enough...then they get sick during the last move.

Now I'm not trying to boast but I'm one tough cookie. I can handle a lot of things physically and mentally. Having lost a child after 2 months in the NICU and then suffering a miscarriage which all subsequently led to a divorce. in my 20' learn to hold your own and have a different perspective on life.

So on the day before we are scheduled to move in to our new house and when I learn we still can't walk on the floors, don't have counters or appliances...Cole starts throwing up...and I'm starting to crumble. So much so that several friends and even my mom were calling me regularly to make sure I was OK. Tall building (or drink) here I come. Whichever I can find first.

On the first night we are supposed to stay in the new house (Sunday...Saturday was too hectic) the boys are just completely out of sorts. They were super excited to sleep in their new toddler theory. When it came down to it, the new house and new beds had them spooked. So we marched back over to the temporary house at 9:30p (me in my nightgown and Daniel's shoes because I couldn't find mine) where their cribs were still set up and the three of us slept there (Daniel stayed back). It was not a pretty sight.

The next night it took me 2 hours to get them to go to sleep. During that time, and after finding out that Cole had a severe ear infection now from the virus which is why he wouldn't sleep, I found myself trying every trick in the book. Calmly I kept trying to get them to calm down and go to sleep (Cole's back in his crib by the way). Then I realized...there was a blessing here.

Picture me exhausted, needing a shower, so stressed I want to cry and attempting to get two out-of-sorts toddlers to sleep in their new environment. We were sitting in our big red reading chair (seen here when they were much younger)...

...and we started singing. I sang all the nursery rhymes the boys like to hear - Old McDonald, London Bridges, Working on the Railroad, etc. - and Charlie starts to sing with me. My favorite was when we sang Jesus Loves Me together. It was a little blessing from God to say "you can do this...I will see you through this craziness that is your life right now." Just hearing your 3yr old sing those sweet words "Jesus loves me, this I know" reminded me that He is with me.

Then a few days later I touch base with my boss on my salary and yet again, God blesses me through work with a substantial raise. Just in time to pay off our renovation costs and the new mortgage. Another little blessing that gave me encouragement to keep trying.

It was enough to make me go for a run the next day since I'm still training for the USMC Mudrun coming up in a few weeks. Those endorphins combined with these blessings kept me moving forward.

Perhaps the icing on the cake was at the grocery store. Don't you hate when you go through the line with a huge cart of groceries only to remember you forgot something important? Well that was me. So I ran back and grabbed it and stood in line again. When it was my turn the lady behind me PAID for my items. She said that someone did that for her the other day and she was paying it forward.

I literally teared up. I knew it was yet another blessing that God gave me to encourage me.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. - Jeremiah 29:11

So when you feel like you just can't make it another day. You're looking for that tall building. Or you just want to stop and have your nervous breakdown. Stop and think about how God may be blessing you. Sometimes it's all in how you look at it. How have you missed some of God's little blessings of encouragement in your life?


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

End of renovation is here!

This post is long over due and many have asked about our move and if we're in the house. The simple answer to that is yes. It's been a bit of a blur because the kids got a stomach/pink eye combination virus all around the same time so I was just trying to survive and let's face it, not kill anyone. I asked several people where I could find a really tall building.

So let's take a step back in time and check out the house the Friday before we moved (for the record we've been in the house for 9 days).

We were very nervous that the floors weren't going to be ready because there was some drying issues that resulted in crackling and rough spots that they had to re-do. So literally we couldn't walk on the floors until early Friday morning. This meant that a lot of the work that the team had to complete got delayed even further. But with a big team effort (literally there was a huge team of us there) on Friday, it got done. Of course there are some minor punch list items left but that's to be expected.

So this is what the house looked like before and after the initial renovation...

Living Room (before)

Living Room (after)

As you can see there is still a ton to do in all of these pictures but it's at least helpful to see what it looked like before we did 7 weeks of renovation.

Dining Room (before)

Dining Room (after):

Kitchen (before):

Kitchen (after):

Den/Office AKA man room (before):

Den (after): sorry for the bad pictures...iphone pics are all I have...apparently I needed to clean my lens.

Master Bath (before):

And who can forget this filth with the plunger in the sink...

Master Bath (after):

I thought we'd really struggle with such a tiny bathroom but it hasn't been that bad. Once we add some shelves over the toilet then we'll actually be quite fine with this size bathroom for now.

Hall Bath (before):

Hall Bath (after):

Hallway (before):

And now on that blank wall above there is this...

The rest of the rooms aren't dramatic enough to really capture until we get the boxes unpacked and rooms more organized. It will be fun for us to watch the before and after's transform as we go through the process of further making this home "ours" - but for now you can see what we started with once a 7 week renovation was complete!

We still have a few minor renovations to do - namely putting in glass to the cabinet doors and replacing the cloudy windows (see below) but we're still in the approval process with our bank for those minor adjustments.

Stay tuned for a few pics from moving day and why we felt like we moved in to a smaller house!

For a list of all our renovations, check out this post.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


I wish I had something more clever to say about our new floors but alas I'm speechless. OK not really. Let's be real...that never happens in real life. No really, just ask Daniel. But when I walked in to our newly re-finished floors I literally yelled "WOW!"

To remind you, just a few short days ago this is what they looked like:

And today...(I'm trembling with excitement)

For those of you wanting a more dramatic before and after glance this next part is for you. These are before and after shots of the kitchen, which was the worst of the floors. The hardwoods you see were buried under 6 (s-i-x!) layers of other flooring including a layer of newspapers from 1972. We thought it would just be sub floor when it was all pulled up and planned on putting new hardwoods in anyway. I was super excited to know that the hardwoods were already there, albeit in horrible shape. They had 1000's of staples in them which a worker had to pull one by one with plyers.


And from another angle...before:

And now (minus the island since we can't put furniture on the floors yet):

They also patched all the holes from where walls used to be. Take a can barely even tell where the old wall used to be now. (bottom right next to the molding - this is a shot from the foyer to the living room)

They still have another coat of poly (that's polyurethane for all you who don't speak reno language) and they were putting down all the stained quarter round yesterday (that's the molding piece that goes down around the edges). Today they should put down the cork floors in the den as well.

I may have actually hugged the new floors despite the "let's hurry up and get this job done 'cause she's crazy" looks from the flooring guys.

Anyone else have any dramatic renovation stories or pictures they'd like to share? I'd L-O-V-E to see some!

(Pssst! You may be wondering "when are they moving in again?" Ummm that would be Friday. I've been assured that we will have appliances, floors finished, oh say a kitchen counter and know those minor things that you like to have before you move in that make life easier.)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Today's forecast: Flurries

Forecast in Schrallville: chance of flurries.

Not the white, cold, wet kind. A flurry of activity! We move in t-minus 8 days people so Schrallville was in a full flurry of activity today.

A lot has been finished since our last update including finishing off the kitchen cabinet structure:

While it may not look complete to you (ok and not to me either), there's been much improvement in this room. In fact, we brought over our new kitchen island we found on our recent shopping trip so we could place the light fixture. Can I just say that there was something about putting in the island in the midst of this chaos that made me smile and feel happy. While I can envision the finished product including finished floors, new cabinet doors, lights, granite, and paint - putting in an already finished piece made me happy. I might have clapped my hands and squealed in glee despite weird looks from the contractors...don't judge people.

Today more paint is going up. We opted to bring in a painter to help paint as much trim as possible and also get all the trim primed. I think in the end the living room and dining room will have all the trim painted so all we have to do is paint the walls. Just that little bit of extra work being done makes it that much easier to swallow. We'll still be painting for years months.

Speaking of painting, next week I plan on painting the kitchen cabinets so they are dry and cured before we move in. The doors won't be ready until the end of next week but those I can paint later. I just want the option of being able to place all our stuff in the cabinets when we move in.

They also began hanging all our light fixtures. I snagged a picture of the new dining room chandelier as I was dodging all the worker bees.

I'm in love. You had me at hello buy me.

Perhaps the biggest impact has been the front door change. We opted for a 15 light steel door to get the most light possible in the foyer but not break the bank. That in addition to the widened and heightened entrance to the living room really has made a tremendous difference in the updated look of the house. Here's a reminder of what we started with...

And now...

The foyer literally looked like a dark closet off the living room. Now it's a light, welcome entry way. Can't wait to add some paint and accessories to this space!

Here's another look from the hallway (this is what you see when you look from the kitchen thru the hallway too).


And after...

Ahh light, there you are!

We've done some other minor updates ourselves like placing some of our plants around the front vs. having them piled under the carport.

I needed a little pretty in the midst of the ugly to help me not have a nervous breakdown feel less overwhelmed. You may also notice we took down the shutters. We painted those recently but are waiting for the house to be pressure washed before we put them back up again. We'll show you those before and after's soon.

Wondering what the boys do when we are at the house working? Take a look...

Tomorrow begins the big floor work. Daniel is still trying to wrap his head around how the current floors will look polished and pretty in just a few days.