the tale of a kitchen.

Here is what we started with…

That doorway leads to the hallway and the front of the house and yes, the bead board was purple and the upper wall a dark gold with green cabinets.

The stove was to the right of the green cabinets but in a strange position and the floating dishwasher didn’t work but she used it for extra counter space. Oh and that lovely brick up there? Plastic! But actually mortared to the plaster wall.

That’s the door to the basement and the only window. More plastic bricks and a pot rack.

Dark (CHEAP and badly installed) cabinets and the “window” that looks out onto the sinking room (that’s an entire post by itself) is plexiglass. We took that down immediately and just recently wondered if it’s because it gets cold or something from the falling-off-the-house room. We’ll see once it drops below 100 degrees here! Oh and the AWFUL tile back splash? Yeah, it goes all the way to the ceiling.

This is the door to the sinking room and she had her fridge on the side wall between that door and the one to the hallway. There was no water on that wall though (or anywhere besides the sink).

And now we’re back to the beginning!

Now we are NOT finished but have made some progress so I thought I’d share!

First, almost ALL of my “during” pics were taken in the evening when I had finished work for the night so their quality are bad and the color is off. Bear with me!

We started by painting the purple, white. Then we did the upper wall in a bright green.

C’s brother took all the brick off and re-plastered the wall for us! HUGE difference!

My friends came over to help MANY times!

Oh and see how GRAY the tile looks once we painted the bead board bright white? Ugh. It was gross. So we ended up painting the tile too (since we can’t afford to replace it).

This is Chris after he finished TWO coats of the green! I did 90% of the painting so he was really proud! HA!

This is C imitating ME after I walked in. My plan was to put antique globes on top of the dark wood cabinets and I thought the green would make them pop, instead it looked bland. Or something. I just didn’t love it. So we thought about it most of that day, asked some other people for opinions and finally my mom had the winning idea!

THIS is my sweet husband when I finally decided I really wanted to repaint! HA!

This color is TERRIBLE but what we did was paint it a really soft yellow, the same color that’s in the girl’s room. It wasn’t as bright and we LOVE it now… neither of us loved repainting though!

If you look closely at the first “before” photo you can see the floor. It was some kind of fake wood floor that was peeling up in places and really poorly installed (the story of this house is poorly done remodels). When we ripped out the cabinet for the dishwasher I was able to pull up some of the floor and look underneath it to see the OLD original wood sub-floor. SCORE! I love a good solid wood floor no matter how old! So Chris ripped it up which was a total surprise because when I told him I wanted to rip it out he told me I’d lost my mind! Then I left for the day and he did it alone!

First we primed the floor with oil primer and then I caulked a lot of the big separations.

This took me FOREVER.

Then I taped…

Actually, first we painted the cabinets white (they still need one last coat but we’ve been using them b/c we got lazy!) and then we painted the floor with two coats of white oil paint. Actually, I painted it. Not we. This was sort of my baby. As was the upstairs (did I ever show an “after” photo of the upstairs?). And this is how I got through the HOURS of floor painting (which nearly killed my back and knees!)…

I had DVDs of Dexter and literally watched every single season! (Who’s DYING for the new season to start??)

Then I painted a pale gray… three boards wide.

We let it sit for three days before walking on it.

Of course I don’t have a true “after” pic because our open shelving isn’t in yet, I haven’t bought this one cabinet I’m dying for, the cabinets need one last coat of paint, we haven’t bought or installed new hardware on the cabinets, I want a rug for the middle of the room and none of our artwork is on the walls. BUT I did snap a very grainy photo the other night while I cooked dinner so you can have a sneak peek!

Ok. So pretend like the walls aren’t gross looking because the yellow is really pretty. And pretend that the fridge is void of kid artwork which would mean I had finished my idea for their artwork in the basement. Pretend like we have an actual cabinet next to the stove with a small countertop instead of my antique herb drying cabinet (that I used to use for scrapbook paper storage but now we have anything skinny for the kitchen in there!) that we stuck there because it freakishly fit perfectly and I was dying for a counter space. Also imagine white open shelving on that wall and maybe another cabinet. Oh and pretend like the massive scratches in my floor are repainted. Oh and that there is no crock pot on top of the fridge because that would mean I had cleaned out the basement storage area for extra kitchen storage. Um, what else? I guess that this wasn’t our kitchen at all because EVENTUALLY we will rip off that room behind the sink that’s falling off the house, rip out the sink-wall and add on to the house (making it an eat-in kitchen while also adding a small family room back there, more space+a bathroom to our bedroom which is next to the kitchen and a bedroom+bathroom upstairs). BUT since that’s a few years away I am working hard to make this incredibly tiny space organized and cute! :) Oh and user friendly because I’m trying desperately to cook more but having so little counter space is hard!

I’ll share more photos as they come!

to do

Ignore the color, this was taken late at night on my cell. But do you see these lists? They are our TO DO lists for every room in the house blue-taped up in our kitchen. And they have gone virtually untouched for three weeks. Hoping we can get back at it this weekend but who knows. It’s kind of depressing but I’m afraid if I take them down it will NEVER get done!

just one more embarrassing moment to add to my lifetime list.

I took the kids to church yesterday morning without Chris and after working a 12 hour wedding the night before. So I always think I deserve some kind of award for awesome parenting when I do something like that. But what that also meant was that we got there a bit late and ended up sitting at the very back of the church. It’s what happens when I don’t have Grandma to save us seats or Chris to make me stop chatting in the dining room before the service!

We sat in front of a sweet friend of mine, someone I don’t know all that well but know well enough to chit chat with about casual things. So the entire service we whispered about how cute each others kids are, how our summers were, etc. Nothing mind blowing but nice… like it’s awesome to see someone in the same stage of life you’re in and can instantly talk about anything.

After communion we sat back down and I leaned back to make idle conversation by saying, “can you believe how dry the bread was today?”

And that’s when I took my foot and shoved it so far down my throat I was audibly choking!

“Oh, I’m sorry, I knew it wasn’t a good batch” she sad.

SAY WHAT?

“You MADE the bread???”

OMG.

Of ALL the people in the entire church and of ALL the random conversation starters I could have used! I just stared at her speechless until I finally managed to get out an even bigger gem…”It would have tasted great with butter!”

WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?

You guys! Can you even imagine? I tried so hard to back track and not make her feel SO bad but SHIT! Not much I could really say! She was SO sweet and laughed it off but UGH! It is still haunting me today.

I think I’m going to go buy her a card and maybe a bakery gift card or something? I don’t know how to make it right but I feel terrible! I couldn’t bake a loaf of bread that tasted like anything if you paid me! And here I am, complaining to the BAKER herself! Seriously, would you have died?

Me and my big mouth.

Trying to make casual conversation with an acquaintance who will certainly never want to become better friends with me now!

Thought I’d try to make all of you feel better today by sharing my HANDS DOWN most embarrassing moment ever!

Happy Monday!

Oh how I love and adore field hockey.

Chris and I got married over Labor Day weekend almost seven years ago and we chose that date because it was a long weekend so it didn’t interrupt soccer too much. That first year he coached boys soccer, boys basketball and girls soccer. Second year he coached the same sports but he moved to a second school to be head coach of a girls team so it was more travel. Then we moved home and he did boys and girls soccer (I had Parker in the middle of boys season that year). Fourth year he added basketball back in going back to three sports when I had two under two and was pregnant with Gray. Fifth year, three kids three and under, he was three sports still and NEVER home. If you look back in the blog archives it was a rough time! Last year I cried uncle and he gave up boys (fall) soccer but it was basketball that nearly did me in. Super late nights and me by myself with the kids all the time. So THIS year he quit basketball and picked up field hockey. He’s the head coach of field hockey and girls soccer this year and so far I am LOVING field hockey season!

He’s home by 6:30pm and the second he walks in I walk out the door. I’ve made dinner, fed the kids, done the dishes, started a load of laundry and gotten the kids in the tub by the time he gets home which means I’ve survived the hardest part of the day and deserve to leave! The last week I’ve been going out for an hour to walk/jog and do the stairs at Webster football field. It is GLORIOUS! I started listening to a Ken Follet book on iTunes so all day I look forward to reading listening and the workout is getting easier. I used to love to read, I STILL love to read but just can’t make time for it. I’m an addictive reader. When I get into a book I literally don’t sleep or do anything until I finish. It’s like I inhale books. Or at least I used to. Now, by the time I get to lay in bed I’m asleep by the time I hit the pillow!

Anyway, so far this fall has been amazing. We’re living in our new house and ignoring everything we still need to do, I’m exercising and actually enjoying it, I’m working two good jobs and C is happy at his jobs (teaching+coaching) and the kids are THRIVING in their new home+schools. And I give all the credit to field hockey! This season is just easier on us. Or maybe the kids are just getting bigger which means they’re getting easier! I’m not sure but we are happy right now. I’m happy right now and it feels so awesome.

The last seven years have been tough. Living super far away from family, the first years of marriage, three surprise babies in under three years, no money, working non-stop and then living with family. It’s been a ride. Kind of an up and down roller coaster I’m happy to be off! For the first time ever I just feel like maybe it’ll be smooth sailing for a little while.

I guess it’s really not field hockey and just where we are in life right now, but I think I’ll give field hockey the credit this time!

the lion.

I had to get on here and write this story before I forget!

Chris and I had just gotten the kids tucked in and were laying on the couch. Do you do that? For about 15 minutes every night I just sit and do nothing. It’s like I have to just BREATHE after the kids are down and before I start working.

Anyway, we were vegging when Gray comes running down and tells us he saw a lion climb under my car (his bed is by a huge window looking out at our front yard). We smiled at each other and let him tell us the whole story. Three year old stories are the best!

“Dere was a lion timbing unter your tar and den anuder one was on dah tree.”

“Gray, was it a big lion?” Chris asked.

“No, but it was short but it was big but it was NOT a baby and it timbed under your tar Mommy! It had a stwiped tail so it was a lion and it was big!”

Then Parker came down and Gray repeated the whole story (it was a lot longer and more drawn out then I’m writing) to her and Chris let them open the front door because he desperately wanted to show her. I went to get my water cup and when I came back they were outside in the driveway. I yelled at them to come inside because they were clean but Parker said they were “watching them”.

Huh?

“Parker, is there actually an animal outside?”

“YES! Two of dem Mommy! On da trash tans!”

I rushed them inside, ran to the back door with Chris at our heels and sure enough there were THREE racoons on our deck and trash cans!

This morning I had to leave at 6:15am for a session and when I turned my car lights on I saw the racoons on our trash cans (first time we’ve seen them) so I ran inside to tell Chris. When I got home two hours later Chris and Kevin (our friend) were outside with shovels… I asked them what they were doing (assuming Kev hadn’t come over for yard work!) and Kevin starts cracking up that it’s wild kingdom over here. I guess Chris went to throw something away outside and found all three racoons in one of our big trash cans! Kevin came over to help him get them out! HA! Chris was totally freaked out!

So now they are back. And C is coming up with a plan to get rid of the coons! And the moles, we are overrun with moles!

It was just hysterical to us that of course we didn’t believe Gray’s lion story but the entire time he was telling the truth! Just proves the poor third kid doesn’t only not know his ABC’s yet but he obviously needs to work on his animal recognition too! HA!

Thanks for being the neighborhood watch Gray!

three things i just want to remember.

1. Parker invented a new animal called a swig-pig. I think it started out as a swim pig but Daddy didn’t understand her and now the whole family calls it a swig-pig! I’m going to take photos of her as her swig-pig because it is equal parts adorable and hilarious! Swig-pig has motions and a  noise that sounds awfully like a donkey and her faces scrunches up… you guys… this kid kills me she’s so funny! I’ll have to share this asap!

2. Bailey had her first bit of first grade girl drama yesterday and I’m already feeling thankful that we missed a lot of that last year. At least I missed it I guess. I’m not sure if she was immune to the drama or just didn’t come home talking about it but I don’t think of last year as being drama-filled. Yesterday though was another story. One of her best friends got mad on the play ground that she didn’t want to play kick ball and in retaliation told the aid that Bailey had kicked some girl in the head! Can you even believe it? I hate liars and so I think that’s what bothers me the most, but luckily Bailey seemed fairly unfazed by the whole thing. She told me that the fib-teller must have been having a sad day to tell a lie to a teacher. That kid has a heart of compassion!

3. Gray is PACI FREE! Last night he left his last paci in the car and when he couldn’t find it he thought the tooth fairy had stolen it. How he got to thinking the tooth fairy is an evil-paci-stealing being I’m not sure but it MIGHT be because I kept saying that one day the paci-fairy would come and take his paci’s to give them to a baby (not sure where I heard that but I’m sure I read it on a blog!) and then on Monday the dentist told him he had to get rid of it because it was making his teeth separate. I’m guessing he put the two stories together. Either way, at 10:30pm last night he finally passed out after crying himself to sleep. It was SO pitiful but I didn’t cave! I feel like I deserve a big treat instead of him but MAN is he a sad little guy today! Last night I asked him to cry softer so he didn’t wake up the girls and he said, “I need to cry loud because I miss my paci so much!” HA! Praying tonight goes better!

Off to the races! Dinner/baths/Bible/bed/work for me… Chris is home late so it’s a Mommy night! Yippee! Happy back-to-school! HA!

what I see.

See this photo? This first day of school photo? The one every mom has to take?

When I look at this image here is what I see…

-siding that needs to be power washed – a front door that needs to be painted – a light/mailbox and house numbers that need to be replaced – pots that need to be filled – three very fake smiles – a paci that needs to be taken out permanently – animals that need to be washed – a green railing that needs to be painted black – a lock box that needs to be removed – Bailey’s new school shoes – kids that need haircuts – a bunny I want to burn – bug bitten legs from our mosquito infested yard – a shirt that describes Gray’s love of Cars perfectly – straight hair on my curly/wavy haired girls because they wanted to look “special” – new school clothes and the list goes on.

I see a completely imperfect image.

SO imperfect the imperfections are glaring at me.

Especially all the work that needs to still be done in just a tiny area of our house (so you can imagine the other lists!)!

BUT.

I still love it.

It’s my three awesome kids on the steps of our new awesome house.

What can be better?

the first day of school for my little BIG first grader!

I am still in shock that I have a first grader. That’s like some kind of real life grade school KID. There are so many times I still think of her as a toddler, like having three under three was just burned in my brain and my mind can’t move forward. But then the rest of the time I look at this kid, this KID, that is helpful and caring and thoughtful and prayerful and kind and loving, and I realize she’s six going on sixteen.

Gotta love that six year old FAKE smile! It’s nearly impossible for me these days to get a real smile from her! Drives me mad b/c she has the BEST real smile!

Anyway.

In an effort to document our life and keep this online scrapbook hopping, especially since it’s been limping along for at least a year now, I have a TON of photos to share tonight. And stories. If you don’t have time go ahead and move on. This ones for me and is one LONG post!

First, last night we had our best friends, the MacBrydes, over for a back-to-school dinner. They had just gotten back in town from Florida and we figured Angie would be running around crazy getting ready for school and we hoped feeding them would take at least one little thing off her plate. Not to mention we LOVE spending time with them! I set the table with a back-to-school theme (disregard the paper plates!) and with the chaos of six kids and a dinner to get on the table all I got photographed was the damn table! I WANTED to get a shot of all six of my favorite kids before the year started but whatever! You can’t win them all right?

Not sure if I have shown this side of the front room yet or not… Terri (my MIL) painted our old yard sale table turquoise and it’s so awesome! Some people might think we’re insane but I love it! The chairs she also painted and recovered for us as they were C’s grandma’s and not so cute anymore! The dark cabinet on the right holds my craft supplies right now and the white work bench on the left is my home office (personal bills, files, inbox, school stuff, medical records, etc.). Fresh Art stuff is in the basement (wrapping table, files, etc.) but I needed a space that was easily accessible for me so I would keep up with things (I’m not the best at dealing with finances but am getting better!). It’s not ideal to have craft supplies and other crap (bills=crap) in our only dining room/eating space but our house is small and I’d rather use the space best for me than what’s best for appearances. Luckily those huge drawers in the work bench hide all of my piles!

Super simple but I love the globe+pencils so much I’m leaving it up for a little while!

Then there were the first-day-of-school-early-morning-mom-leave-me-alone-photos!

I’m doing an entirely separate post on this one photo later tonight. Oh these three kids.

We dropped Bails off and she did awesome! No nerves or anything just smiles and excitement!

Parker missed Bailey ALL day. It was so cute and really sad too. Two years apart in school is making them seem further apart than ever and it makes me sad. I pray every day they remain the best of friends.

When we went to pick her up Parker ran WAY ahead she was so excited! Gray ran for a second, right when I was about to take the photo of two excited kids running to see their sister, but then he remembered he didn’t feel good and turned for me to pick him up. It makes me love this photo even more because my little man IS still my LITTLE man. He still needs me more than the girls do and I love that.

Bailey RAN out to me when she saw me and I love that she’s still little enough to hug me BIG TIME in the middle of the playground in front of her friends! My big girl still needs me too!

Of course that was short lived before she was up and playing with her friends! HA!

Gray was SO proud because last year he couldn’t climb this thing but this year he conquered it!

She told me you can do this easier if you’re sweaty! HA!

I adore Bailey’s friend Vivian because she loves Parker and Grayson too!

True story… when I was in first grade I was spider swinging with my friend Katie and we were laughing so hard I peed in my pants on her lap! OMG it was hysterical! Luckily she was awesome and laughed it off! Thank you Katie Leeker! Love you!

Some of Bailey’s best friends! It’s going to be a great year for her!

Right after school Bailey went over to Vivian’s house to celebrate the first day of school. It was a last minute thing which threw Parker for a major loop. She was SO sad her sister who she’d waited all day for wasn’t coming home! I bribed them with root beer floats but soon after Parker was just DYING for Bails to get home. She ended up sitting on our front stoop just waiting for her!

It was seriously the sweetest thing ever!

She caught me photographing her!

She was coming in, heard a car (see the white van?) and turned to double check!

She’s so stinking cute! Love her!

And while PJ was hanging out outside, my not-feeling-so-hot little man was in our bed watching his shows.

He just can’t kick this cold/cough/exhaustion and constantly wants to be held and cuddled. Not so bad that I get that job!

Once Bailey got home we had a big spaghetti/garlic bread/salad dinner, showers, wrestling with Daddy once he got home, play time, Bible reading and bedtime.

First day. Done. And it was good.

enough.

Kim and I had a newborn photo session today and no matter how sweet our clients are (today’s are some of our favorites ever so it wasn’t them) I always find myself apologizing and making excuses for why we have our studio set up in my in-laws basement. I tell them we don’t want to have to work as much as we’d have to to be able to afford a big space because we want to be moms first. And that’s totally true, but yet I still apologize. Which is so crazy because having our studio at their house is PERFECT for us right now. It’s close to our homes, it’s central for most of our clients, it has plenty of space and the best part? IT’S FREE. Because my in-laws are the most giving people you’ll meet. It’s free so we’re able to use our income to, you know, help take care of our families. We bring more home each month because we have our studio there and that is just awesome right now. But for some reason I’m afraid to just OWN that unfinished basement studio most days.

As I was thinking about that today I realized that I do the same thing with our new home. If you come over the first thing I will mention is that it’s under 1000 square feet and TINY. I will point out all the things we haven’t finished yet or the mistakes we made. I will describe, in great detail, how we plan to add on someday. I do all of this which must make me sound like I’m ashamed and that just infuriates me!

I AM SO FREAKING PROUD OF THIS HOUSE! I’m proud of what it took to get here, I’m proud of the work+time+money we’ve invested in it already, I’m proud of how happy we all are here and I’m proud that our marriage survived (and THRIVED) during one of the most stressful years ever.

Is our home tiny? Totally. But does it fit us perfectly? Yep. At the end of the day we are awesome at organizing, purging and using every square inch of space available to us. Not one inch goes unused and I think that’s awesome because SO many people live in homes they barely use. What is the point of owning something you can’t utilize to its greatest potential? Why pay for all of that extra space? Why clean areas you rarely use? Why pay for furniture to fill rooms you don’t live in? I just don’t get that and so it makes owning a small home almost like a badge of honor. I truly believe that.

BUT. I guess I still apologize and point out the bad because I’m worried not everyone agrees with me you know? I’m always concerned people feel sorry for us living in a small space or something. I don’t know.

What I realized today is that we have enough. We are not rich (by any stretch of the imagination!) but we have enough to live on. We have a small home but it’s enough for us to all fit comfortably. We don’t have great cars but they drive us where we need to go. We don’t have glamorous jobs but they fulfill our passions and make us enough money to survive. We have enough because God is blessing us in just the exact right amounts. He’s teaching us along the way that we’d rather be close together in a small home because we do better together. He’s teaching us to budget and stretch the small incomes we make. He’s teaching us that enough, for us,  is perfection.

As I was pulling out some images from Bailey’s birthday party Saturday it hit me hard that we truly do have enough room! We hosted 30 people for dinner in our small house and we fit just fine. Everyone had plenty to eat, places to sit and toys to play with. There was good conversation, laughter and joy.

14 little kids, 3 big kids and 13 adults! I bought 30 chicken breasts and threw them in the crock pot that morning with BBQ sauce for pulled chicken sandwiches (thanks to the brilliant idea my sister gave me!), Adriane brought potato salad and my mom brought some appetizers plus other snacks, fruit salad and cupcakes+root beer floats for dessert! Super easy and I was able to relax and just enjoy the party!

Some of our best friends (we missed you MacBrydes and Enlunds and GoGo!) celebrating Bailey’s six years of life (a month late!)! Thanks to everyone that came and helped fill our home with so much love and joy!

The next time someone comes over I’m going to try really hard to not say one negative thing about our new house! It’s going to be hard because it’s so easy to feel inferior for me but I’m convicted to not put down God’s blessings for our family.

The most amazing part of the transformation

We have worked REALLY hard on our house. In fact, LOTS of people have worked really hard on our house! And eventually I will show you all of it! But tonight I wanted to share the most incredible part of our new house… the part that makes us feel like we don’t deserve any of this at all!

Here is the before of our living room:

I took all of our “before” photos while the last home owner’s furniture was still there so we would have a really good representation of how drastically we’ve changed things! Notice the pale beige color on the walls and of course the brick fireplace.

Here is our AFTER!

Can you believe it? I am sitting here RIGHT NOW and I keep pausing my writing to just stare at it! My DAD built the whole dang thing with little bits of help from Chris and MAN did he rock this out! Chris did all the demo of the bricks, my friend, Adriane, primed it and C’s brother, Jack, painted it for us. He finished painting just TWO days ago and I immediately went around cleaning up the construction junk and unpacking all my little treasures I knew I wanted up there!

The whole thing is painted white except for the back of the cabinets where it’s really just still wall and that’s painted the same soft gray as the rest of the room. We need a new chair, a COMFY new chair to replace our hard wood one over in that corner. The art work leaning against the fireplace is just waiting to be hung in the hallway (where all the frames will be white). The bunting hung at the mantle is for Bailey’s birthday party we had tonight.

I can’t wait to show you the rest!

DISCLAIMER… my eyes keep closing as I write this so if parts don’t make sense it’s because I was sleeping! HA!