Friday, March 27, 2015

Getting into the details

The renovation continues to move along. If I allow myself to complain I can get really tired of all the mud, the dirt, the chaos, and smoke tracked into the house with workers, never knowing if a worker will walk through the door at any time, always having to remember to wear clothes around the house, parking at the top of the long driveway so workers and deliveries can get close, the constant hum of air compressors, nail guns and hammers, having our three older children share 1 bedroom that also doubles as linen closet, Freddy's closet and storage room. But when I look past that and think about how spacious our house will be when its all finished I feel bad for being annoyed and realize how lucky we are to be able to renovate and own such a wonderful home. 

Here are two pictures of the kids bedroom right now.  They've actually done really good about sharing a room. The only hard time is bedtime or clean up time when they just get so distracted teasing, hitting, or playing with each other. Also it's rough in the morning. When one gets up, they all get up whether it be 5:15 or 7:00. 

The workers have all been really nice and I've mostly enjoyed interacting with all of them (the cement crew was sort of intimidating and one of the electricians doesn't have the most pleasing manners). I try to get to know all their names but mostly I can just remember the current ones: Jonathan, Chris, Morgan, Ross, Shane, Austin. This week they have mudded (is that a word?) the drywall, textured the ceiling, and started putting up the exterior. We're having to make more decisions like type of cabinets and tile in the bathroom, type of style for the exterior, type of texture on the ceilings, where exactly to have the doors open, what kind of style for the built-in storage spaces, flooring for the laundry/mud room etc. I'm super glad for our contractor Joe for organizing everything, helping me stay in budget and narrowing down the options for me. He's very easy to talk to and always seem so calm and unruffled no matter how many crazy ideas I give him. I'm also super glad to have someone else being the boss of the workers, and just one guy to go to with all of the problems that come up: some electrical circuits not working, flooding by the septic tank outback, crooked doors, wrongly-followed plans, cracked floors, leaky roofs etc. 

What we are currently trying to figure out is the exterior style and paint. We're limited with the simplicity and total brick-ness of the current building and trying to pick styles and colors that will work with it...(keeping in mind that we can't find a perfect match for the brick...the original brick yard is no longer in service). Its hard for the new structure to not feel completely out of place. The Tudor style seems to work well with lots of brick and I like how that style looks, it makes me think of Europe and I feel it seems really classic, never-out-of-date to me. But Chris, thinks the white stucco look with the dark brown batons looks cheap, run-down and 70's. We're trying to explore some reverse-tudor options where the batons are lighter than the background. This is really hard to figure out! anyone able to help?? ideas??

Eventually we'll be able to add some more interest and bring the Tudor style to the left side of the house when we change the front door and add a porch. I think that will balance out the new structure we've added on the right side. 

The view from the Front of the house, which is actually the side, but again when we move the front door to be on this side of the house it will become the official front side. 

The side of the house that is currently the official front with the front door on the right. No one ever sees this side except our neighbors as they drive past this to get to their driveway. I never even see it from this angle unless I'm walking around our yard. 

The back of the house: 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday night Pizza and....Tennis night!

Instead of watching a movie with our pizza, we decided to take our two boxes of Little Caesars to the Mississippi State tennis match.  The kids enjoyed watching and cheering and seeing how hard/fast the players can hit the ball. Alec could've stayed there all night (so fun to see him appreciate sports!) But the rest of the kids... especially Freddy were stir crazy as soon as they finished their pizza. So we left after the doubles matches. It feels good to get out of the house together. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Spring break: Texas and Sispy

We decided to go to Texas for the first weekend of Spring Break. I don't know that I would've felt up the to trip if we hadn't had snow days the week before. Working in the Stake Young Women's presidency requires a lot of long traveling and so some weekends seem like they hardly exist for me. 

We drove down Friday morning and got in town for pizza at Brittany's parents. Then we stayed up until way too late talking with Thom and Brittany. Its not our fault, they are the ones that are so fun to talk to. :) 

The next day was Saturday and Brittany and I went for a run then let the Dads go golfing.  They went to a nearby Jack Nicklaus course but were disappointed at not seeing Jack there. At night, we got babysitters so the adults could all go to an FC Dallas soccer game with Brittany's siblings. It was fun to get out and Chris and I are both continually blown away by how BIG the Dallas, McKinney area is. There are so many stores and businesses. I guess we're getting used to small town living in Mississippi. 

Brittany didn't feel well and was kinda quiet during the game and Chris was so interested in the game he didn't talk much either. This was his first time to be so close to professional soccer (8 rows back right behind the goal) he was fascinated.  I really enjoyed watching the game and it was scoreless for most of it, then Dallas got an awesome goal a few minutes from the end. Super exciting. 

Sunday was church (3-6pm!) and chilling at home. Such a relaxing morning! The timing of church and dinner and bedtime made for some grumpy kids but we managed and enjoyed more talk time after bedtime. Monday, Brittany and I went window shopping downtown and got hot chocolate and manicures then we all went to a fun indoor rec center pool and swam with the kiddos until bedtime. 

Tuesday morning we left for home. It was a short trip but fun to get away as a family. We stopped in Shreavport, LA on the way home to visit with my cousin Anthony and his cute family for a couple of hours. Hurray for family kinda close!

Wednesday we did more unpacking and packing again. Chris was packing for a backpacking trip he was taking with the young men/scouts from church. Meanwhile, I got in the car and drove another 6 hours for a Young Women event up on the other side of our Stake. When I got back it was late, we were tired but still tried to finish getting Chris packed. I was tired and laid in bed and he came into our room so we could still talk and accidentally spilled propane (from the camp stove) all over our bed!  Ugh. He cleaned it up pretty good and got to sleep way after me. What a guy. I'm sure he wasn't anticipating starting his 3 day backpacking trip with little sleep. 

The whole 3 days they were gone, it POURED here in Starkville.  I worried for him and texted him every couple of hours during the day even though he had no reception. But when he came home Saturday afternoon, he said they only had a little rain up in Sispy, Alabama. 

I'll let him recap more from his camping trip, himself. Don't forget pictures, Chris!

The kids and I survived and tried to do fun things together. We watched movies and ate simple meals. For a fun treat, I made slightly sweetened pizza dough and cream cheese and let the kids design their own fruit pizzas.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Back to winter

Another winter weather warning came and I didn't hold my breath that we'd actually get anything but after the last snow fall, couldn't help but hope that we would get some more. I LOVE WINTER WEATHER! The canceled day of school wasn't wasted! We got some ice/snow. I took the kids outside to play in it. The found the bushes and leaves encased in ice and when they pulled off the leaves, noticed it looked remarkably like a popsicle. Yum.

Frederick had just woken up from a nap and wasn't too pleased with his inability to run or even walk in Gwen's old snowboots and snowpants.

Thursday, March 5, 2015


Spring is in the air!! It was kinda late for Mississippi, but compared to an Edmonton timeline, it felt just right to me. 

Gwen's preschool class had baby chicks for a little bit. Miss. Martha is fantastic. Gwen goes for 3 hours every Tuesday and Thursday. She likes going and I think it's good for her to meet friends and interact with a teacher. Plus with Frederick's morning nap happening about half the time, I can sometimes have a few hours at home to myself! (Hence the massive blog updates every once in a while)

With the spring thaw comes the spring MUD. And in a construction zone, there is MUD EVERYWHERE! Most of the time I can keep Freddy out of it, if I don't let him touch the ground. But sometimes I let him down and suffer the cute but messy consequences. 

Monday, March 2, 2015


The next day the snow was pretty much gone and workers were back hauling in the drywall! 

The drywall didn't take too long to get put on the walls and it makes such a difference!! I was afraid the rooms would feel smaller but they don't. They feel real!