Monday, October 21, 2013

House Renovation

I've been wanting to share and document our journey over the past 12 months of our house renovation. So here goes...

I was 37 weeks pregnant. Michael and Luke were lounging in the Bob stroller watching a DVD and I sat down with the sellers and signed the closing papers! Chris had to work so I got to sign his name a million times too! Fun!

 After closing, I took the boys to the house. This is what was waiting for us! Our sweet neighbors left us cookies and brownies (and milk for the boys) and the sellers left us a bottle of champagne (and ginger ale for this pregnant Momma!) You don't meet sellers like that anymore. Great people.

That day, we met up with our General Contractor, Joe, and gave him the keys. Demo started the next day. Joe and his crew had 8 weeks to get this done because we needed to be out of the rental we were living in. And in those 8 weeks I had a baby to birth and a household of furniture, clothes and appliances to get moved.

It's amazing the life changes that occur when you have a baby. It seems like there is always a move or new job mixed in there too.

So here is the fun part. The pictures. This is what sold us. Beautiful views of the Trout River. This home was built in 1959 and lived in by the same family until we purchased it. It is an extremely well built home, unlike so many of those built today. We have a nice long dock that the boys have already caught a bunch of fish from.

This is the back of the house. My back is to the river. I can't find a good front of house picture from the "before" shots.
Here are the BEFORE pictures:

Dining Room:
We kept the antique chandelier intact. It is beautiful! And a good frame of reference when looking at these photos. 

 This was a partition that separated the dining room from the living room. I did not mind it but Chris decided it must come down. I am glad they took it down. How about them drapes?

                                   Standing in the dining room looking into the living room.

        Beautiful picture sliding glass doors. Except the fact that these were sealed shut for 50 years!
                                                The view from this room is amazing.

 This is a room that was used as a Den. There was a pin ball machine, small TV, couch, etc in here.             Remember these are the BEFORE pictures. These wood paneled walls came down. Insulation went up and this became Michael's room.

 This is the hall bathroom that is the boys/guest bathroom. Tile all around the walls. Love that peach color, right?

 Here is the Master bedroom. These two windows look out to the river. The drapes were so heavy!

 Master Bathroom. Tile on the walls like the other bathroom and only one sink. Michael, obviously, loved the look. Check out that smile!

 This is the Master bath tub/shower. Nice design on the shower door, huh?

Here are some DURING renovation photos. Joe, our contractor, was great and would text me pictures with progress. We were renting a house that was about 40 minutes away and being VERY pregnant and then with a newborn made it a bit tough to pop in the house to check it out. Chris got to stop in to check on things every couple of days though.

Kitchen demo'd.

We took down that wall between the kitchen and dining room to open it up. They also put up a support beam since it was a load bearing wall. The door you seen open will eventually be closed up.

 Cabinets go in!

 This is the kitchen looking out to the dining room. The bag is covering the chandelier to keep dust off of it. Oh my the dust. It took weeks after we moved in to get it under control.

Mommy's belly and Luke hanging out. Putting my feet up when I could.

And then Mark arrived. October 30th. He will be a year old soon! It goes too fast. He still cries with this big open mouth. Be still my Mommy heart. My babies are my world. He is the most laid back baby, maybe it's actually because he is overwhelmed by all the activity going on around him. :)

We were able to move in right after Thanksgiving. Mark was about 1 month old. I can attest to postpartum amnesia. I packed up our entire house to move and then unpacked (with Chris's help) the entire house when Mark was 1 month old. And I don't remember unpacking a single box. Not one. But I did. Postpartum amnesia is real :)

Here are the AFTER photos. I just took them this week, hence all the pumpkins everywhere.

Kitchen: We did custom KitchenMaid cabinets, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. I also never knew that counter depth refrigerators existed until this renovation. This fridge sits flush with the cabinets instead of sticking out 4-6 inches like most regular sized fridges.

Dining room. We love the corner windows that bring in wonderful light and provide another beautiful view of the river.

 There is a center area to this great room. We use it for our lego table and open space for the kids to play.

Fireplace area and you can see in the background the family room with the TV.

This is the boys bathroom. This was the peach bathroom. Peach had to go. 

Master Bathroom. We broke down walls and put walls up for this to happen. We needed two sinks. Custom cabinets and granite countertops.  Chris actually picked out most of these fixtures. I was not able to get to the stores to do this so he did it. I was really happy with what he chose.

This is the Master shower. It used to be a closet. The area where you see the sink basin and the weight scale was where the old shower/tub used to be.

 Master Bedroom. Beautiful light and views of the river. All of the bedrooms (4) had original hardwood floors. The rest of the house was carpeted. We replaced the carpet with laminate hardwood.

The interior renovations also included all new windows and sliding glass doors. We also had to replace the original electrical panel, update the smoke detectors, add a water softener system (we are on a well), and re-pipe the entire house. Our insurance carrier insisted on the re-pipe. It desperately needed it. The original pipes were galvanized plumbing and the water pressure at the opposite end of the house was down to a drizzle.

After the dust settled on the interior projects, we decided to tackle the back yard. I can honestly say that this was a lot harder because we were working with a blank slate. It took a few different pool companies to get the right design down and we love it. Kudos to Crystal Pools of Orange Park. We are in the pool swimming with the boys every chance we can get. They have become really great swimmers too!

We put up the swing set back in April. The boys swing (almost) EVERY day. It was worth every penny.

This is a picture looking out the front door. I think we counted we have 33 trees. The two small trees you see in the foreground are lemon and lime trees. The lemon tree is amazing! We love picking those when they are ripe! This year I am going to learn how to make a lemon concentrate that I can freeze and use year round for lemonade.

And finally, here is a picture of the front of the house. We have done some landscaping but we still have a a little more to do. We love it here! A dream home for us, for sure!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Back to school for the boys, back to blogging for me?!?

I should really start blogging again. It's been 2 years!

Here goes. For today,  at least.

This was the boys first day of school. Two weeks ago! Michael is in Pre-K 4 and Luke is in the 2 year old class. Oh what an adventure. Michael loves his teachers Ms. Casey and Mrs. Jen. Luke adores his Ms. Joan and Miss. Kelly. They come home everyday with something new to share with us!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Father's Day iMovie

Hi again Friends. Here is a picture taken on Father's Day at Brunch. At our usual brunch spot: Irwin Street Inn. I love both of their smiles and Luke's "chunky legs." This was a fabulous Father's Day, if I say so myself! Chris requested the workout DVD's called P90X as his Father's Day gift. He is now on week 3 of doing them, every night! I am so proud of him! He has already lost 7 lbs! His goal is 20. I think.

The other thing I did for him for Father's Day is put together this iMovie of the past 2+ years of him being a Dad. There are not a whole lot of pictures of me in here because I wanted to put the best of the best of Chris and our two boys in there. If I put all my favorites of me too, then the iMovie would be like 60 minutes long! (Just kidding, sort of :)  Here is the link on YouTube: Father's Day 2011.

Both boys are waking up simultaneously from naps, gotta go! It's like they can sense that the other one is waking up and they each don't want to miss a minute of the action. Enjoy your Monday!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Gourmet Sandwiches

I could eat lunch at Panera every day. We have a Panera obsession in our house. Partly, it is because it is the only "healthy" fast-food restaurant restaurant in town and, frankly, their food is good! We go there for lunch (mainly) and dinner (occasionally) and we have our "spot" that we like to sit. The girls behind the counter know us! And almost have our order down without even asking! (Just kidding about this part).

Out of curiosity, I just added up how much money we have spent at Panera in the month of June. Are you sitting down? $205. Chris's reaction to this news: Oh, no :(

I don't really feel so bad about it because we rarely, if ever, go out to dinner. The 5-9 pm time frame in this house are the crazy hours and sitting in a restaurant waiting on a waiter to serve us is NO fun. Any time we do it, we instantly regret it. Like Friday night at sushi.

So I cleaned out my fridge and pantry yesterday and got inspired to find some yummy "gourmet" sandwiches. I consider "gourmet" anything that is not grilled cheese or PB&J. Chris could eat PB&J for every meal. Michael likewise with grilled cheese. Not me. Today's sandwich was roasted peppercorn sliced turkey with spicy mustard, cheddar cheese, romaine lettuce and sliced thin Granny Smith Apple on a toasted Ciabatta bread. (Easier said: Turkey, Cheddar, and Apple on Ciabatta). I have a whole new list of "gourmet" sandwiches that I will be testing out at home. I'll share any new ones that I just love.

Google Fun

Unless you are living under a rock, you are on the web every day and checking out what Google is up to on your search page. I just recently found out that you can access all of their old logos. Here is the link. It's fun to look back through the different logos they have put up. My most recent favorite was the one on June 9th, 2011 for Les Paul's birthday. Michael enjoyed it too.

Did you know that Google also now has a Google A Day Puzzle. From the past few days of checking it out, it appears to be a trivia-type of question that encourages you to "google" to try to get the answer. No surprise there! Today's question is: Wild salmon are normally born in freshwater and migrate to the sea. In America, there is a variety of salmon that never goes to sea. What was the name of this salmon subspecies, before they got stuck inland?

Here is another one from a few weeks ago: The first president to be born as an American citizen learned English as a second language. What was his first? (Answer: Martin Van Buren, Dutch).

This daily puzzle is something I know Chris will enjoy as he is a big Jeopardy fan!

All the interesting things we learn on the web.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Summer Suppers

I feel like it has been a long time since I have put up a blog post. Sorry about that, my friends. It has been busy around here and I am still trying to catch up on the past 6 months of sleep deprivation.  This picture of Chris and Luke was taken a few days ago. Luke is 6 months old now! I just discovered after reading through my records I kept for Michael, that Luke NOW weighs what Michael weighed at 1 year old. Whoa, Baby! I've got a big boy on my hands. Luke is 3 lbs bigger than Michael was at this age. Crazy. Fun. I love this life of mine.

Summer time is one of my favorite times of the year for food. Fresh fruits and yummy veggies are in season and everything we eat is just a lot lighter. In both taste and calories. So I am trying to find some new summer dinner ideas. Please share if you have any that you are loving right now!

One new recipe I found was from Julia's Healthy Italian blog. Seafood Medley in Tomato Broth. It looked so good and sounded good too! I was always taught to make a recipe exactly the way it is written the first time I make it. After that, modifications can be made to suit my tastes. We made the trek up to Fresno to hit up Trader Joe's for the seafood part of this dish and I made it exactly as the recipe called for it to be made. Chris was excited about something new for dinner and so was I! We decided it was OK, but that we like our seafood dishes with a little more spice. The second time I made this dish, I substituted the 1 C. of wine with 1/2 c. tomato sauce (homemade or Classico), whichever you have on hand. That did the trick for us. I will be making this more often going forward! It is a light dish (we leave the pasta out) but fills us up to get through until breakfast.

The other new summer supper I have been putting together is a fresh garden salad with the Trader Joe's Cioppino. I had never heard of Cioppino until Chris and I were watching Throwdown with Bobby Flay right around the time Michael was born. It is a seafood medley type of dish but with A LOT more spice. We have tried to make it from scratch, but not having fresh seafood makes preparing this dish a pain (to us, at least). So to our delight, Trader Joes' comes to the rescue again. We cook up their Cioppino in a sauce pan, pair it with a garden salad, add Trader Joe's Champagne Pear Vinaigrette salad dressing and a baguette and voila! Super easy dinner. Who has time to cook with a toddler running around and an infant who doesn't like to be anywhere but in Mom's arms?

A recent re-discovery of a good summer dinner is Chicken Cesar salad. It's so easy to put some baked chicken over romaine lettuce with fresh croutons and fresh grated Parmesan cheese. The thing that makes this salad so good is the homemade salad dressing. I use the recipe on the side of the Pampered Chef salad dressing mixing bottle. I still want to make their French and Asian dressing too. The more homemade salad dressings I make, the more I can't stand the store bought ones. Except for the Champagne Pear Vinaigrette. I love that stuff. Can't get enough.

For dessert I am hooked on the Ciao Bella gelato. They have Key Lime gelato squares with graham crackers that are to die for. SO good. We got to taste test them on a Saturday, a few weeks ago, at Costco. I was hooked. But because of the drive, I couldn't buy them at Costco without risking them melting before I could get them home and into the freezer. So I kept my eye open for them in my local grocery stores. Lucky me! I found them!

So friends, if you have any other light summer supper ideas, please share!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

I'm feeling crafty - kind of!

I am not a very crafty person. Deep down, I would love to be into scrap booking, knitting and crocheting. I've tried. I just don't have the patience. I do love quilting though. I love it but when I start doing it, Chris proclaims that "Sweat Shop Molly is open for business!" When I start a quilt project, I focus all of my extra energy to complete it. I cannot relax until it is done. Which doesn't make it very enjoyable.

This morning, one of the website/bloggers I follow put up a post about how to use Instagram photos in a new way. Turn them into Magnets. Cool Mom Tech is the website that posted this idea, scroll down to Sunday, June 12th and you can find it. I was jazzed about this crafty project! It seemed easy and so cute! I love the download of the Polaroid frame. Unfortunately, I don't have Photoshop to be able to use it and I am not skilled enough to be able to figure out how to use that download with my iPhoto software. So, I headed to Michael's for photo paper and magnets. I got the magnets but I had to trek over to Staples for the photo paper...and guess what I discovered? Magnet sheets. I had no idea such a thing existed! They were pricy ($13.99 for only 4 sheets). But this would eliminate the gluing and taping!

We got the boys to bed about the same time tonight and I was determined to get this project done. See a pattern here? I chose the Instagram pictures I wanted and I sized them down to 1.5" x 1.5". The vertical pictures ended up being 2"x 1.5". I was able to get 20 of these pictures onto one Pages document (Mac's version of Word).  I loaded the magnet paper carefully into the printer and said a silent prayer. This printer is at least 5 years old. I was prepared for a complete meltdown with the expensive magnet paper stuck inside. I set the pinter to print at the "Best" quality. I pressed print and literally held my breath. Guess what? It worked! Yippee! I love my new Instagram magnet photos! This could be a cool thing to send on the ship with Chris next time he goes out to sea (which will, unfortunately, be too soon). Thanks to Cool Mom Tech for sharing the awesome idea for this wanna be crafter!