Sunday, October 27, 2019

Two years!

We moved into our blue house two years ago today! Honestly it is crazy to me that it has only been two years--it feels like we have lived here forever.

I feel like we are in a wonderful place in our lives right now--all of our kids are absolutely thriving and have wonderful friends. We just ended the first 9 weeks of the school year and everyone had stellar grades. The boys don't get letter grades, but it was so fun reading the comments from their teachers (my absolute favorite comment ever from Luke's teacher: "Luke, I can tell the time that your brother threw up on his bed was a big ordeal! You used many details and strong verbs in your essay.") Nathan has the most wonderful teacher for first grade and his class is absolutely packed with friends; Luke is in the same class as his best friend for the third time (and I actually got a note from his teacher about Luke being chatty/passing notes in class which almost made me cry with joy because Luke just totally sucked into his shell for the first 18 months that we lived here and I was so dang happy to hear that he was comfortable enough in his class this year to be a little naughty!) and Isaac is yet again not in the same class with his best pal, but they sit together at lunch and exchange notes in code. Isaac's big thing these days is that he was offered a spot on the school's robotics team and he is totally blowing his teachers away with his awesome robotics skills (he gets to go in early for solo work before the rest of the team gets there & takes parts home to work on here that other team members didn't quite finish up).

The girls are doing so so well and both got straight A's this 9 weeks. Last year had some pretty rocky spots and I am so proud of them for how hard they have worked to overcome the stressors and just really used those trials as character-building experiences that are now helping them thrive. They are both taking really intense schedules (and Abigail is in her first year of high school!) and are just totally rocking it. Juliet is in orchestra French club and ran cross-country again this year...she just ran her little heart out and saw huge improvements over the season! Abigail is taking a crazy schedule of honors classes, goes to seminary every morning at 6:10 AM, is totally blowing away her engineering teacher, joined the international club with her friends (they always have the best snacks!), and is gearing up to take some intensive swimming classes this winter to prep for lifeguard certification after she turns 15 in April...and gets her learner's permit! Holy cow.

And our little Matthew started preschool a few weeks ago just after he turned 3! I was feeling SO hesitant about this (none of our other kids have done preschool until the last year before they went to school; because Matthew has a late birthday he won't start kindergarten until he is six), but this summer I realized how lonely he gets during the day without the other kids home. So now he goes to preschool every day for two hours and he loves it SO MUCH. While he's at school I either go on a long run or do a project around the house or grade like crazy, so it's been really pretty amazing for me to have two very productive hours in the morning when I'm feeling the most energetic...then I go pick up Matty and we either come home and read stories for an hour or we go to a playground or Conner Prairie or something like that. Once a week we go pick up one of the older kids and take them to lunch and Matthew loooooves those days (he misses his older siblings like crazy! He and Nate are really becoming such good friends and it's so fun to see).

Anyway, I was thinking I should do some fun little celebration for our family to mark our two-year anniversary here (I think last year we ordered Chinese takeout from the same place that we bought it our first night here?) but we went to our ward fall party last night, then today was the Primary program and I was pretty darn invested in that (my calling involves writing the program so it's a big build-up for me!) and we had meetings before/after church, so by the time I finally got home the kids were playing outside in the gorgeous leaves and I took a long nap, then woke up to a delicious dinner made by Neil (homemade pizza and sweet kale salad) and then we just kind of puttered around tonight. The kids traded candy from the trunk or treat, I played the piano for an hour or so and then did some planning for the week, and Neil went through all their allowances with the older kids...just a nice lovely normal evening.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Home tour: Kitchen and family room “final” versions

Et voila! I love these rooms so much. Still a few things to finish up, but we have come such a long way and this is totally the vision of loveliness that I had when we initially toured this home.

The cabinets are Benjamin Moore's Chantilly Lace; the island is Benjamin Moore Hale Navy.

The sofa is from Interior Define and I love it SO much. I would buy it again in a heartbeat--loved that we could completely customize it for our space. We have the Oliver reversible sectional in mushroom cross weave with tapered natural oak legs (106 inches). I ordered on October 29th and it was delivered the first week of January. (why yes, I totally did order swatches before we moved and then taped out the dimensions the second night we were here!)

The quality isn't the best on some of these phone pics, but hey, you get what you get! And just feast your eyes on that cute lil' Matthew if the light balance is bothering you. ;-)

I love my little office space SO much. So so so much. I'm teaching four classes this semester (and four next semester) and it's so good to have a dedicated zone where I can really work and feel inspired by beauty around me. (Our kids' computer lives against the wall just opposite the couch.) 

Note the lovely green square of drywall which means there's renovation underway upstairs!

I love these oven so so so much and I hope I will always have double ovens because these are my babies.

Remember my last post where I talked about standing at the island and being able to visualize what the house could look like? This is what I saw. Makes me so so so so happy.

And one last shot of where that appliance garage used to be. Sawzall for the win!


Pendant lights from Amazon (I realized that I totally forgot these in my recap yesterday, but we love them!)

Bin cup pulls and trash drawer pull; round knobs purchased locally

Paint: cabinets are Benjamin Moore Advance in Chantilly Lace; island is also Benjamin Moore Advance in Hale Navy

Floors are white oak with a custom stain mix of Minwax Simply White (approx. 75%) and Classic Gray (approx 25%)

Artwork: I drew the line drawing of mother & baby & the illustration of Frances & Gloria playing ball; the children created everything else. Frames are a mixture of thrifted, Amazon, and IKEA

House plants: pothos, corn plant, majesty palm, monstera deliciousa, fiddle leaf fig

Appliances: JennAir professional gas cooktop with center griddle, Whirlpool fingerprint-resistant stainless steel double ovens, (fridge and dishwasher from the same line, but I bought those at Lowe's so I don't want to link to one that I'm not 100% positive is the one I have and can recommend!) and range hood.

Kitchen faucet, similar 

Bar stools in silver; 24" counter height

Family room rug: Vintage Kellum in slate blue, 9 x 12

Kitchen runner in navy/ivory 

Sofa: Interior Define; Oliver 106" in mushroom cross weave with natural oak tapered legs

Yellow throw from West Elm, buffalo check throw from Amazon; throw pillows from HomeGoods, Hobby Lobby, and World Market

Wallpaper behind desk (I needed 2 rolls)

White desk: 3 IKEA Billy bookcases (2 on each side and 1 on top custom-fit)

whew I think that's everything! If I missed something that you're curious about, please let me know! I realized after a flurry of emails earlier this week that I need to go back and put a bunch of this info on the living room & bathroom posts!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Home tour: Kitchen & family room (aka The Saga Begins

Oh boy. Here we go--this is the post that I have been putting off writing for so dang long because I knew it was going to be such a giant task! But Matthew is napping and I've got 78 minutes before the kids get home, so here we go--this is going to be long because there is so much I want to remember.

October 27, 2017: our first dinner in our new home. We closed on both houses that day so it was a long and crazy day but we were so so so dang happy to be in that house and I think you can definitely see it in my smile!

But let's backtrack a bit. And I'm going to include a lot of dates so that you can see that this was not a quick turnaround! As I was scrolling through all the photos on my phone I was kind of blown away by how many projects we had going simultaneously while we also had so much life stuff going on. It's interesting to see how I either totally pull back on projects when I'm overwhelmed or I just dive right in and sort of hide myself in them. And this has been a pretty heavy couple of years.

These two photos are from September 7, 2017. This is the first time we saw this house and I LOVED it immediately (I had loved it so much, in fact, that when I saw it online it had already been pulled from the market and I called the realtor begging to let us come look anyway. It took three? Four? visits--and looking at about two dozen other homes in person + several hundred online to convince Neil that my vision for this house would work. Poor Neil! He was so very much not a fan of this house AT ALL and we had some pretty heated debates about it but eventually I talked him around).

Anyway--I took the photo below when I was standing at the island and I KNEW right then that this was the house for us and I could literally hear my children's voices and envision our family here. So this is a very special photo for me.

November 7, 2017: all moved in and I'm starting to order furniture. The laundry room is our top priority so we begin demo on it almost immediately. Meanwhile I'm painting the dining room and working to get it ready to host Thanksgiving. My kitchen priority is replacing all the appliances (my mom walked in, looked at the double ovens, and was like "We had these exact ones when I was a kid!")

January 1, 2018: dishwasher and fridge are delivered. Neil & my dad slice a goodly chunk off the Corian countertops so that we can slide the fridge in. Me: "We better replace those counters sooner rather than later."

March 10, 2018: We've been loving our double ovens, dishwasher, and new fridge for the last few months, and I fiiiinnally took the Craigslist plunge after a crazy amount of research and back-and-forth  and bought a JennAir gas cooktop from a guy in a Kroger parking lot for $1500. (Brand new--he bought it to flip a house and didn't realize the house had no gas hookups. I was also about 85% convinced we were going to be Craigslist murders.) Neil, that magical wonder of a man, ran a gas line in and we are in business! I also paint the backsplash because I don't like the earth tones (basically just mixed white paint with gray acrylics and then cut it with water).

We take a pause on the kitchen over the summer--we are working on other projects and my sister is diagnosed with cancer.

September 27, 2018--the last pictures I take before the saws and paintbrushes come out. Neil saws the appliance garage off the bottom of the cabinets, then heads to Europe.

While Neil's in Germany, I decide to surprise him with some fun painting when he gets home (this was right after his Pittsburgh trip where he came home to find the fireplace had been painted). It's probably a little nerve-wracking for him to leave town.

October 8, 2018

October 10, 2018

October 13, 2018

October 13, 2018--somewhere in here I decide it would be a fun date night to go look at countertops. We go to five or six places and then suddenly we have paid thousands of dollars so we can tear our kitchen up some more!

October 16, 2018--the first set of doors are finally cured and ready to be re-hung! (I have mostly blurred out how many coats of paint I did but I think it was 2 primer front and back, then 4 paint front and 3 back. I did them all by hand with a brush and Neil helped me once for about an hour, but the rest of the time this was my solo project while he was doing other things--like repairing the mostly-destroyed doors for the island that we found down in the basement in a heap of things left by the previous owner.)

October 17, 2018: Neil removes the upper cabinets and starts building a frame for the vent hood

October 24, 2018--we make a GIANT MESS taking out the backsplash (but look at that vent hood!)

October 24, 2018

October 24 was a really long day, guys. I don't think we went to bed until 4 am--the countertop guy had called and said that they had an open slot to do our countertops and we could do it the next day instead of waiting until Christmas.

Mostly in our marriage I am the one who starts crying and gets overwhelmed by things, but this is one of the very few times that Neil has been the overwhelmed one and I have been the "it's okay we got this" one. We had been working like crazy this day and we were just about to take off the old countertops (I think we saved like $600 by doing it ourselves?) and then I was like...oh honey...the countertops run underneath the support pillar. And poor Neil just literally stood there and was like "I know what we have to do but I cannot do it...I cannot bring myself to start taking that pillar apart," so I ended up working on it for about fifteen minutes until it got to the point of no return, which is when Neil was able to say okay, we obviously cannot patch this back up, so it's time to attack it with both of us.

October 25, 2018--the morning of countertop installation. I think I took this pic about 4 am after we had carried the old countertops out to the garage and whacked them to bits with sledgehammers which was legitimately one of the most satisfying things I've ever done (so satisfying, in fact, that we saved the island for the kids to whack the next day).

Here is that amazing husband of mine just casually moving plumbing around as the countertops are being installed--he managed to make the column SO much smaller!

In this photo we took before pulling the old counters out, you can see how enormous the column's footprint was (they had actually put on multiple layers of drywall around it to square it out).

Countertops coming in!!! We went with a beautiful quartz that I love SO SO much.

October 27, 2018--we have now lived here for a year!

October 30, 2018--almost done tiling the backsplash!

November 9, 2018: we throw a giant party for all our friends and wrap the exposed sewer line in Christmas wrapping paper. It ends up being a great conversation piece!

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to enjoy our new kitchen.

December 13, 2018--Neil is making incredible progress with the most beautiful oak box built around the column.

December 27, 2018: as one does, I decide to celebrate taking down the holiday decorations with painting!

January 1, 2019: we throw another party (for New Year's Eve) with our half-painted built-ins and mostly-finished column. Lookin' pretty stylish.

January long as I'm already painting...

February is a hard month but there's this little ray of light. 

And on February 6 Neil makes more progress on the vent hood cover...

March 13, 2019--Neil finishes the column in its entirety and patches up the drywall!

And I finish the built-ins.

We come back from spring break and I start on the windows on April 8...

I finish them on April 12 (and somewhere in here Neil has finished the range hood)...

And on April 15 my parents tell me that I should send a picture of our cupped floor to our insurance company. 

We find out that a leaky dishwasher has basically destroyed not only the wood, but the subfloor, and since the oak flooring runs underneath our cabinets, everything in the kitchen has to come out.

So during the last week of school in May, our kids come home to this:

By the time we leave for a family reunion on May 30, it looks like this. 

And we send about a million pictures back and forth with the floor guys (and my saintly friend Kelsey goes over to our house and Facetimes me and negotiates with the floor guys to mix up all the batches of mixed proportion stains that Kelsey and I create). 

And on June 8, 2019, we come home to this beauty.

By June 14 the cabinets, appliances, and countertops are all back in place. 

When the kids head back to school in August, I start working on my little office area...

And on September 9th, Neil has finished building the trash drawer and I have painted it and the kitchen is DONE. **

**but there's still lots to do. Like finish the ceiling. And strip and restain the basement door. And swap out the crown molding and install/paint the toekick under the trash can...
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