Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Project That Almost Wasn't

When you're remodeling an older home, you never really know what you're going to find when you start digging in.

As my dreams were blossoming in my mind about our "new" kitchen (which, let's face it, our remodel is more of an "upper level" remodel than a kitchen remodel!) with a sleek, modern open floor concept, everything suddenly came to a screeching halt when our carpenter mentioned that we should probably hold off on tearing out the walls until he could get someone to look at it.

The walls we are removing are, essentially, part of one big wall (with some walkway openings) that runs down the center of our home. 



We had always been a smidge leery about removing this wall,  with its nearly continuous central location, because we weren't certain if it was important or not. (Forgive the mess, we're, you know, remodeling.)

"Important" as in "load bearing". "Load bearing" as in "roof collapsing".

We had someone from a lumber supply company come out, look at it and say "yup, you need a beam"...then proceed to tell us things like "microlam", "joists", "attic", blah blah blah. Okay, fine...I can deal with a beam in my attic, continue on. (Although, secretly, I wondered if having a lumber yard dude come out to look at a project with a potential "sell" was something akin to driving into a car lot and asking "do I need a new car"?)

Next up, the lumber dude ran it past an engineer...verbally. No blueprints or anything, just a description and the engineer dude said, "Oh no. They need a *insert technical word for beam IN HOUSE that is 8-10" tall*...and just like that, my dreams were crushed. I lost sleep. I saw my open floor plan inclusive of an ugly beam on the ceiling that screamed "HEY! WE REMODELED OUR HOUSE...CAN YA TELL?!" Right then and there I decided, if I can't have my open floor plan, let's just leave the dang stairs where they are. SMACK in the middle of the house.

Oh...did I mention we were moving stairs?

Anyway, the lumber dude wanted an engineer to actually LOOK at our house/project and it just so happened this engineer (an engineer for a truss company...you know, rafters) was going to be in the area and could pop in and look at it.

I left a long list of incredibly important and mind blowingly complex questions (think, "do we HAFTA have a beam?!") for my dear sweet husband to ask while I was worrying my head off at work.

I would never do something like incessantly text my husband questions about what was happening while he was visiting with the engineer, no way. So I didn't. *Ahem.* Soon after these texts that I "didn't" send, I received a return text along the lines of "Need more walls, beams, columns, Fort Knox"...and as it is with the written word, I couldn't tell if he was frustrated with the news he received or just being silly and teasing me.

GRACIOUS did it seem like FOREVER until I could talk with him in person and get the skinny...wellllllll, I'm happy to announce, that the engineer deemed it perfectly okay for us to start ripping out walls!!!!

NO beams or posts or headers or columns needed!

Best. News. EVER!

And so, tomorrow, we get started with scraping this nasty popcorn texture off the ceiling in preparation for some major demo to start happening SOON!!! 

We picked up our flooring last weekend and you guys. OH MY GOSH.



I'm in love! I will actually go down into the basement to just check in on it. To caress it and snuggle it and gaze at it with loving eyes.

SO gorgeous!

OH...and I took before pictures! And a few "during" when we tore apart our mudroom...should I show you now or when we're all finished?!

EEEEEEK!!! This is really happening!




Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Phillips? How about Stanley?

Have I mentioned we're remodeling? ;)

Oh, I have? Silly me...I wasn't sure. Anyway, you know how they say "If a marriage can survive a home remodel, it can survive ANYTHING."? I'm starting to see glimpses of where that saying came from.

The other night, we were DEEP in the throes of ripping stuff out. I was all "full speed ahead" and let's just get everything ripped out...while my hubby, bless his heart, would put in a 12-14 hour day at work then come home to me, bouncing off the walls, wanting to "TEAR OUT ALL THE THINGS!!!!"...and he'd oblige and rip something out.

So, one night, we (and by "we" I mean "he") was working out getting a cabinet out of our laundry area. This cabinet was deep, with only one door, and he had to climb into it to unscrew the counter from the cabinet. 

While in said cabinet, he asked Dubya to "Grab me a Phillips screw driver." Dubya quickly ran over to this pile of screw drivers on the ground and stared.



Mr. W.: "The Phillips! Get me the Phillips!"

Dubya: ...stares at mess of tools on ground...

Mr. W.: (already a bit cranky from cramming himself into a cupboard and getting crankier by the second) "THE PHILLIPS!"

Dubya: ...stares...

Mr. W.: "THE PHILLIPS!!! NOT THE FLAT HEAD, THE PHILLIPS! DO YOU KNOW WHAT A PHILLIPS IS?!"

Dubya: "But...but they all say 'Stanley'!!"

And OH. EM. GEE. Did we laugh. And laugh and laugh and laugh. Dubya, realizing then that his dad meant the TYPE of screw driver, not the brand, laughed and laughed!! What a classic story.

"BUT THEY ALL SAY STANLEY!!"

Gracious, do I love that kid.

Monday, June 23, 2014

They Did It!

So, right after this post, we headed down to the "big city" to participate in a tournament with Dubya's travel baseball team...and guess what?


They took first place!! Yay!!!! And guess what else? Now we get to commit to ANOTHER full weekend of baseball. Half of me is "yaying" about this while the other half of me is "boo hissing" about this.


What I'm trying to keep in mind, is that this IS family time. It is what we make of it, right? I mean, sure, we're not at home all together, but we ARE together...and we usually try to do something fun as a family while we're at these tournaments.

For example, this weekend we hit Minnehaha Falls...a cool little "urban" park with a waterfall that is absolutely ROARING currently. 


It recently made the news because the water is actually "backing up" and causing flooding above the falls.


The park has these cool little bikes that you can just hop on and tool around the park. I may or may not have totally thought I was helping with the steering until about 1/2 way through our ride when I realized "Hey...my steering wheel isn't connected to anything!". #blondemoment


It floored me to see how many people let their kids splash and wade in the rapids below the falls...I was all "CHILDREN!!! YOU STAY 80 FEET AWAY FROM THE EDGE OF THAT RAGING STREAM OR IT WILL SUCK YOU IN!!!!" with my kids, while other families nonchalantly played right in the midst of the beast.

Crazy. Either I'm way too careful or those parents were off their freakin' rockers!! I'll have to update you on the recent happenings with our remodel. I'm a little sad about the most recent developments...I'll just say this, we have an engineer coming to the house tomorrow to look at it. Something about load bearing walls and stuff. Ugh.





Thursday, June 19, 2014

What Are We Doing to Our Kids?

I love watching sports (well, MOST sports...LIVE sports...but not golf, live OR on TV. Ugh. No, not golf.), particularly ones that my kids are participating in.

We encourage our children's involvement in activities, and we also try to maintain a healthy balance of faith and family as well. But...BUT, what is happening to our youth leagues? When did they become so...COMPETITIVE and EXCLUSIVE???



More and more I'm seeing these young kids "specializing" in a sport (as in, it's the ONLY one they'll play...ALL YEAR LONG) that is becoming more and more competitive. Our community offers a summer baseball program, has for years. When our oldest was in it, it was simply a fun activity. Along the lines of a "pick up" game of baseball. Show up, play ball, giggle at the silly mistakes the kids made, chat with parents, go home.

Now? Sure, it's still fun...but now there are twice a week practices, on the opposite days of the games, WAY more cheering/rooting/"go get 'em" parent behavior and you know what? I miss "the old days". The "pick up" days of sporting activities.

Then, our second oldest son is on a traveling baseball team. (Replete with tryouts to make the team.) So, add in those practices/games and OH MY GOSH. What have we done to ourselves? It's like baseball, 24/7 (x 3 with our three boys!!) The travel team games are all weekend tournaments...and not a single one of them leaves time on Sunday mornings for church...heck, we're lucky if we can try to squeeze in a Saturday evening mass, with the games on Saturdays, as well.



Here's what I'm seeing, and what concerns me (and I'm just a guilty as the next for allowing it)...sports teams that are becoming more exclusive at a younger and younger age and "team time" cutting into family/faith time and becoming the priority. (Even the "just for fun" teams.) And why?

Why are we treating these kids like they're all mini professional athletes? I mean, let's be honest...how many of these kids will even play a sport at a collegiate level much less become professionals? VERY FEW. So why do we put up with it? With these demands to have kids so involved? So "super scheduled"? So "sports over family" oriented?



What are we doing to our families by running our ever loving butts off day in and day out, missing meals, high fiving our spouses in crossing as we each race a different kid to a different sport? Why?

I fully know and accept that I (me, myself and I...well, and my husband) am responsible for saying "yes" to our boys being involved...but I am also fully aware of the importance of involvement in activities/sports for youth. Especially living in a small town where a teenager's options are: 1. Sports involvement or 2. Partying. I'll gladly take what's behind door number 1, but goodness. Can there be a better balance?



It seems as though, if your child isn't involved/moving up with his peers on these competitive teams, that he/she will not evolve into a varsity level player, which means that when they enter high school, if they aren't involved from a young age, they will (most likely) sit on the bench...and how long does THAT stay fun? 

How do you keep a kid involved when all they do is sit on the bench? And I'm NOT saying that all kids deserve a chance to play on varsity teams...heck no, varsity is varsity and your best players play. I get that. But it seems as though, if you don't make the commitment to a sport at a young age, that your child will be warmin' the bench when they get to high school.

And then we wonder why there is an obesity epidemic...when we are making these teams so exclusive at such a young age. Used to be that we had time when we were younger. Time to meet up with neighborhood kids and play kickball or baseball or tag and run around and burn energy (energy = calories). Now? Now we're discouraging mediocre kids from playing sports because we're only selecting the very best. So what's a mediocre kid to do but go home, play video games and eat Doritos when he's not good enough to make a team?

Maybe that's a little dramatic...or is it? When you've got a class of 200 and you select 12 of the very best to play on a team. What about the rest? What else are their options?

I don't have any answers...I wish I did. All I know is that I'd love nothing more than for there to be a healthy balance between activities and faith/family. A greater respect for honoring and respecting family values over sporting events.

If anyone has the answers, please, speak up! :)



Monday, June 16, 2014

He's Awesome

Mr. W., that is.

He rocks my dang socks off. Yeesh. Is that TMI? ;)


This man is the most amazing dad (and husband). I know, I know, that's so cliche to say, but you guys? It's true. 

He's patient. Loving. Kind. Active. Faith-filled. Conservative. (And not just in the political sense.) Smart. Hard working. Involved. Fun. Plain ol' stinkin' amazing.

We celebrated our niece's marriage this weekend and while in church, our baby girl climbed up into his arms. He plopped her little butt on the pew ledge in front of him, wrapped his great big arms around her, and pressed his nose to hers while she whispered something (important, I'm sure) to him.

My heart. It simply exploded right then and there. To have witnessed that moment between them. The love and tenderness and gentleness...I just died.

He is our rock. The steady foundation of our family and when I say I am "so grateful" that God blessed me with him, I actually wish there were stronger words. 

We are truly so blessed, so very, very blessed to have him in our lives. 



Friday, June 13, 2014

Baby Girl-isms

As my sweet, stubborn, spunky, strong-willed baby girl comes into her own, her personality is really starting to shine through.

Still stubborn, still "her way or the high-way"...but now, well she's adding silly into the mix. And sensitive. (What?! SENSITIVE?!) She, who once drove a 30 minute stand-off (at the ripe old age of 2) because she wouldn't say "I'm sorry", is now my child to offer up the speediest, most sincere apologies.


And that silliness. Her sense of humor is similar to Hambone's in that I'm not sure she INTENTIONALLY tried to be funny, but she is (and she doesn't always appreciate our laughter!)!

In fact, just the other day, I was lamenting on how I hadn't had bacon in FOREVER. It was like I was dying. I WANT BACON!!! And my girl?

Here's what she had to say, deadpan, about the whole situation:

"Bacon is my worst nightmare."

Oh sweet mercy did we laugh!!!

And then I demanded a "maternity" ;) test because NO WAY could I have given birth to child that didn't love bacon, must less declared it to be her worst nightmare!!!


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Checking In

Wow. What a weekend!!

Pal's party went off without a hitch...we had enough food (yay!!) but not too much...well, unless you count the lettuce and pasta salad. THAT we had WAY too much of.



Hey...anyone want some lettuce? Pasta salad? ;)

We woke up bright and early the next morning (like, 6 am early) and headed out to Dubya's baseball tournament and I think when we got home at 7 pm, we were ALL ready for bed!!

Then we greeted Monday with a start of bang to summer activities! Tennis for the girls, baseball for the boys and Little League for the boys on alternating nights...WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF?????



Because they love it.

To top it off, Pal has his baseball games (he's in two different summer leagues...can you say "love baseball much?!") on the same nights as Hambone AND he started an umping job.

Speaking of umping...did you know that they only sell umpire pants by the waist size? They leave the length unhemmed and at a length that is appropriate for, oh I dunno, Andre the Giant?! For real. I held those pants up with the end of the pant legs on the floor and the waist was at EYE LEVEL for me!!!

I mean. C'MON. I get that everyone has different inseams but do they have to be THAT long?

Thankfully I have a good friend that will rescue me from these sewing requirements!! (Thank you, Dawn!)

In other news: The Remodel Project...I finally took before pictures!!! I'm so glad I remembered...I kept wanting to wait until the house was perfectly clean to take them and then I realized if I didn't just take them when I remembered, we'd probably be 1/2 through the project before I got them!

So, when I reveal them, you'll have to excuse the mess...deal?

Also...I had a dream about the flooring...it was dark. It made me noivous. Oh well...no turning back now! (Well, technically we can. We haven't purchased it yet...we'll be picking it up in a couple of weeks, though!) 

We had the opportunity to go look at granite and for once in my life, I wasn't drawn to the crazy expensive stuff!!! I knew I wanted a light color and something that didn't look like head cheese (have you ever noticed how some granite looks like head cheese?) and everything I liked ended up being the less expensive granite!!

Yay for simplicity!

Okay, the contractor is coming over soon to double check on our wall removal...wants to make sure we're not going to remove any important walls before we start! Yikes. 

Adios!



Thursday, June 5, 2014

It's Crunch Time...

We are DOWN to the wire, folks. Like "running into home and your pants begin to foam" down to the wire.

Party. In two day. DOS days. 1. 2. Days.

DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH STUFF I NEED TO GET DONE????????


Also of note: Do not plan a remodel to begin promptly after your last party guest leaves because: WHICH EVENT DO I FOCUS ON?!

Holy moly. I've got taco meat to make, photo boards to finish, condiments to buy, bars to bake, nooks and crannies to clean, playoff games to make, Little League practices to forget (which I have done...too many times than I want to admit) and there are only so many hours in the day.

Several of those hours which require me to be fast asleep lest I turn into an angry monster that bites people's heads off because I didn't get enough sleep. Forget "beauty" sleep...I need "nice" sleep. Although...beauty sleep could be seen as a "need" as well.

And if we're speaking of "needs"...I also need another of me. So I can be in two places at once. Which, in the interest of full disclosure, I don't think would really be all that helpful because I'm sure the "other" me would feel the need to attend all of the playoff games right along side me.


People. Listen to me when I say this: Senior Year "Events" are not for the faint of heart. Good golly, you will be evented out by the time your sweet little cherub walks across the stage in his cap and gown. You will have cried and fretted at everyone of them, all the while worrying about all the events comin' down the pipeline atcha.

So why am I on the ding dang computer you ask?

'Cuz I'm waiting for photos to finish uploading at 11:20 at night (yes, I wrote this last night) so I can order them so that they will be ready to pick up bright and early tomorrow morning and be ready to put on photo boards of my big boy for his party IN TWO DAYS! (Now that's a run on sentence if I ever saw one...)

That's why.

Peace out.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My Cousin (and her entire wedding party) Is a Rockstar!

Last Saturday, my amazing cousin, Jackie, "took the plunge" and tied the knot with her equally amazing fiance, Dan.

Why so "amazing", you ask?

Well, aside from being pretty fabulous people with awesome personalities and great senses of humor, I'll tell you just why they're so "amazing". Scratch that, I'll just show you:


After a brief look of surprise at her almost hubby, she (they) were nothing but smiles and laughter!! What a cool wedding party.

I absolutely love how Dan (the groom) holds onto Jackie as they're sinking into the lake! He may have been holding on for dear life...but I'm thinking "chivalry is not dead"! 

My aunt told me when she arrived, the groomsmen were all standing around in their "skivvies" and she was all confused...then she found out what happened! This has made local news around here (and, possibly even captured the attention of CNN!!), check out this Fox9 link for more photos of the "after"!

Funny side story, the morning of the wedding started off rainy and overcast, with more showers forecasted throughout the day. Jackie and Dan had until 11:30am to make the call about whether they were going to move their ceremony inside or keep it outdoors. Apparently Dan made the call to keep it outside and Jackie's response was, "Okay...I just don't want to get wet!"...hahahahah!! Little did she know...


Monday, June 2, 2014

Enough Tears...Back to Home Remodeling!

You didn't think I forgot about the Kitchen Remodel, did you? Psh, OF COURSE not!! I was simply sidetracked by being on the emotional roller coaster of watching my biggest baby graduate from high school.

That's all.

Back to the remodel.

T minus 7 days and we will be tearing into this project! We've got the appliances ordered, a bazillion ideas swimming in our heads, and a crazy plan of flying by the seat of our pants with "relocating" during the project. I mean, do we REALLY need a plan? Can't we just be all "Oh, okay, we don't have stairs and there's a big gaping hole between our living area and our bedrooms...let's just sleep downstairs."? That's my kind of plan.

I've discovered that the best laid plans are only subject to changing...so why have a plan?

SPONTANEITY AT ITS FINEST.

I am the queen of "flying by the seat of your pants". I should've majored in "crunch time decisions" in college. 

Anyway...things are moving along!

We've had a new flooring contender enter into the project...tell me what you think: 

(Photo courtesy of Unique Wood Floors)

Asian Blonde Walnut, aka "Blonde Acacia". I am IN LOVE with the swirls and the light and the dark and the rustic look of it. I totally think we're gonna go for it...but I'm a little worried it's going to be too dark. Thoughts? Our cabinets are going to be a medium-dark stain, so I don't want the floor to be too dark.

The counters will be light.

Oh dear heavens. I can NOT WAIT until I get to see my kitchen all finished!! I mean, I CAN wait...cuz when it's done, we'll be over 1/2 way through summer vacation and I am NOT ready for that!! But I am super excited for my new kitchen!!

Speaking of summer vacay...today is my first "official" day of summer break! Yay!!!! Guess what I get to do?

Get ready for Pal's grad party on Saturday.

Plan. All. The things!!! Yeesh. Wish me luck!


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