Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Before & After: Kitchen Remodel



I've really been procrastinating posting photos of the new kitchen, because, even though it's finished, I don't feel like it's complete. There are still a ton of little things I would like to do (i.e. stain the grout in the subway tile back-splash light gray, get/make some flat roman shades with the perfect white & yellow geometric patterned fabric, find the perfect piece of LARGE art to hang on the blank wall behind the dining table, and the list goes on and on). Then I had an epiphany. There is not a single room in my house that I feel is "complete." At this rate, I would never share my beautiful new kitchen and all the hard work that went into it. So here it is...

*I threw my friend, Sharla, a baby shower (more on that later) and just left up the bunting. It goes in Harvey's nursery, but that big wall is so bare. I guess I'll leave it there until I find the perfect piece of art to take its place.

I adore this little kitchen. The first night it was done, I suggested to Ryan that we should bring our pillows and a blanket and sleep right there on the hard wood floor so I could star gaze at it all night. It's all the little things, things you can't really see, that make my day. Things like: 
  • the height of the counter tops being up to standard (I guess the last kitchen was built for a very short woman in the late 1960's, leaning over to chop or do dishes used to kill my lower back)
  • the refrigerator being hooked up to a water line so the water/ice machine works (I LOVE to have a glass of ice water with me at all times. And now, we'll save a small fortune by not needing to buy so many water bottles)
  • having drawers. yep, that's right, our last kitchen had NO drawers. 
  • cupboards that close, even if you don't shut them at the exact same time.
  • being pleasantly surprised all over again every time I walk out into the living room, I hope I never get used to it.
I could go on forever, but I won't. I was hoping that having a nicer kitchen would automatically make me a better cook. It totally has. It's just made me WANT to cook, which is a big step for me. I just want to be in there all the time. I love it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Uncle Nathan

*My brother, Nathan, looking very handsome in the Rexburg, ID Walmart... 
can you tell it's a little busy the weekend before classes start?

This month my baby brother moved out of my parents house and started college. I am SO proud of him... and a little jealous of him. He is attending Brigham Young University in Rexburg, Idaho. The best college in the world. I was there from 2001 to 2004 and I loved it. Part of my heart belongs to Rexburg. That precious hick town helped me become who I am today. He's going to have the time of his life, I can already tell. He's going to develop genuine friendships with people from around the world. He's going to learn so much and have his testimony strengthened at the feet of men who are (or will be future) prophets and apostles. He's going to get 18 years worth of White Christmas' that he missed out on in California... in one semester.

For family night this week, we had a lesson about the importance of an education. We shared how happy we all are that Uncle Nathan (and daddy and Wendy) are working hard to learn good things that will help them the rest of their lives. There are a ton of scriptures about education, but Wendy was most fascinated by what we read in D&C 130:19... that the knowledge we gain in this life will even benefit us in the life to come, even after we die. Then we made uncle Nathan's favorite Sunday night dessert to send to him: homemade chocolate chip cookies! Wendy wanted to know if Nathan could take the cookies with him when he dies too :). She also suggested we just send him just the cookie dough because he always sneaks a ton of it when we make it on Sunday nights at my parent's house (I thought that was cute, just shows how much she knows her uncle... it could also be because she's his partner in crime and can never stop herself from eating all the cookie dough until it's been balled up and put in a hot oven.) We sent him the cookies (most of them) with a the picture above, and some letters.

In my brain, Nathan will always be the raspy voiced, tanned skin, sandy blonde, cutest ever 7 year old boy he was when I left home for Rexburg in 2001. This picture (above) was actually up in my room while I was away at school. I know it probably wasn't always fun having 3 big sisters who think they're your mom, but I loved getting to help raise him. I was 11 years old when Nathan was born so I was old enough to remember him at every stage of his life and it trips me out when my own kids are at those stages. It kinda slaps me in the face and makes me realize that my kids will be grown up before I know it. I love this kid, his love for the gospel, his passion for politics, our mutual appreciation for movies (and books and disneyland and dessert), his friendship with my parents and his desire to do good. I can only hope my kids follow his example some day.


Love you Nate the Great.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

More rambling about the kitchen...

*ryan, looking very official... or very lost

During the kitchen remodel, I thought I was going to be that girl who knew exactly what she wanted. I would wow the contractors with how decisive a woman I was. But something that surprised me about building a new kitchen was how suddenly big decisions are needed to be made about things you haven't really given a second thought (because all you had was your first thought and didn't realize that wouldn't work out). ONE of (many of) those things that I knew what I wanted but couldn't have and had to pick something else quick was the countertops

I have a pinterest folder filled with pictures of shiny white kitchens and their pristine marble countertops. Apparently, marble is a horrible material for a kitchen countertop. Especially if you have little kids. It is very porous and absorbs marinara sauce and red fruit juice like a sponge. It's also a very hard substance that tends to shatter glass dishes easily. Thanks for nothin' pinterest. SO... Ryan and I went on a crazy hunt for some granite that was on the gray scale. We went to a couple different warehouses and got so many samples we could have been the 4th little pig who built his house out of granite. But I didn't love any of them. 

UNTIL... one night, with eyes burning from searching a warehouse and jotting down product numbers for samples to take home, I walked by "Kashmir White." It was love at first sight, with a slab of rock. Literally. In an instant, I saw our future together. I saw my children and I, wearing our aprons, rolling out cookie dough on this surface, my little ones with their homework papers sprawled out all over it, and myself with a bottle of windex in my hand every night, making it sparkle like new- the way my parents taught me :).  I can't tell you how much I love this granite. It's probably because of how much I DIDN'T love anything else. It's the perfect mix of white and gray. It has subtle warm and cool shades of blue, tan, burgundy, and black that will allow me to use whatever accent colors I want. It always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS looks clean (which can be a bad thing... it's probably filthy most of the time. During the remodel, all the other samples looked so dusty, but that little square of Kashmir White looked freshly windexed). It reminds me of those falling sand pictures I used to love (were those an 80's thing? I don't see them anymore), and just like those sand thingys, I could sit and stare at it all day. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

1st day of school

Wendy was SO excited for her 1st day of school today. She knew what to expect this time around and couldn't contain herself. Two or three times, as I was helping her get ready for bed last night, she clasped her hands together and told me, "Oh mom, I'm just SO excited for school tomorrow!" 

I always remember loving having something new to wear on the 1st day, so I went out into the garage, pulled out the 5T & up girl clothes tub of hand-me-downs, and pulled out a cute little skirt that would be new... to her. I wrapped it up and left it out for her to find in the morning. 

She was so excited she let me put her hair in pig tails without crying. (She usually cries when I barely touch her hair - that cute bob has spoiled her in the head hardening department. My mom used to brush my tangles out... to this day my scalp feels no pain). She even told me, "Mom, you'll be so proud of me. I'm gonna stand so still and I won't even cry when you put my hair in piggies."

She looked so cute in her little outfit, with her back-pack on. She was beaming. She ran right into class. It was her friend, Amelia's, first time ever in school. Amelia's mom was struggling just like I did last year. She asked Wendy to take care of Amelia. Wendy grabbed her hand and took her straight to the toy box. I was so proud. At the end of the day, I asked her, "How was Amelia? Was she sad today?" "No mom. She was fine. I took care of her and she had a lot of fun." I closed my eyes and gave myself a silent, parenting success "YES!"

I didn't know if I was going to let her stay for the extended day portion of class, AKA "mommie's time out" (Can I just tell you that I HATE that name!? The brochure for it has pictures of ladies napping, reading, getting massages. It makes me feel so guilty, to the point I want to pull her out early every day.) Extended day-ers eat lunch and stay there a little longer. I decided against it (even though I couldn't get a refund) but when I walked into her new class and saw the big gift bags with each extended day kid's name on them I felt guilty. She told me she wanted to stay for lunch, so I knew I was the only one that had a problem with it. So at 12pm I brought her a kid's meal from Chick Fil-A (I used to LOVE it when my mom would un-expectedly show up in my class with a happy meal for me) and asked her if she wanted to come home and eat it with me or stay. Of course she wanted to stay. Harper was going to stay. 

*Harvey wanted in on the 1st day of school picture... he even says "CHEEEEESE!" now :)

When I went back to bring her home she blurted out, "School was GREAT today, mom!" She said it again on the way home. She kept hugging me and kissing me and playing with my hair. I couldn't tell if it was because she was so happy from a wonderful day at school or if she actually missed me, but I loved it.

On the way home, she sounded so old. I couldn't remember if she always spoke this way, or if she had picked up some things from the other kids at school in just one day. She was saying things like, "Mom, three questions: one, can I have a granola bar when we get home? Two, can I watch a show when I'm eating my granola bar? Three, can you text my friends' moms and see if they can come to the park after Chubby's nap?" Wow.

Then we went and signed her up for ballet/tap class. How did this happen? (These are the type of days when I have moments of intense age awareness. I forget that I'm in this phase of my life. I feel like my mom). I'm gonna be all sorts of messed up when she starts kindergarten next year. I don't even want to think about it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Somewhere in the middle

You know you're in the middle of the kitchen remodel when: 

you've got a bathroom sink full of dirty dishes
you quickly realize the value of paper goods
your kids take up the hobby of cup stacking because of all the plastic cups around
you get to have cold cerial for 75% of your meals
the other 25% of your meals are cooked on an electric skillet
your AC bill is 3 times its normal price from running all day with all the windows open 
(you really wanna keep those guys happy)
it feels like Christmas every night when you come home, not knowing what you're house will look like
your fridge is in the living room
you yearn for the day when you can walk around your house in just your underwear again

*can you feel it!? I can feel it. I'm in love already.

One Day.

It only took them one day to strip the old kitchen down to it's mice nest infested bones. And I could not be happier. At this rate, our new kitchen will be done by 5 o'clock tomorrow evening.