Wednesday, January 21, 2015

On Blogging and renovations and growing

I sit here late at night typing on a keyboard COVERED in dust, but I've been wanting to write blog posts lately.  I've been thinking a lot  about blogging and how it's kind of a thing from the past.  I think the "family blog" has gone the way of transistor radios. But this blog and my 1500 (yes, you read that right) posts is one of my most treasured possessions. Sometimes I stay up way too late at night reading old posts.  It reminds me of things I would not have remembered.  Plus I think I'm really funny.


 In fact, lately as I drop Maddie off at school I've been reminded of her little self.  Current-day Maddie wears skinny khakis (standardized dress) and black converse high tops and her feet kind of flare out when she walks.  Just like she used to when I dropped her off at preschool.  When I turn in the car to watch her go in, probably holding the carpool line up a bit too long, I almost choke up.  It doesn't seem that long ago.  She really is a beautiful young woman.  But I can revisit my blog when she was little and read something she said or did and it kind of eases the mothers' heartache a bit.  I hope when we get to heaven we get to remember our kids as little children better.  You think you'll remember, but you really can't.  Their new and growing selves push out the old.

I miss the time when I strived to blog everyday.  When you are just a regular person trying to come up with  daily content it's sometimes pointless or dumb, like a quiz, or a picture that caught my eye. But when I look back, I like that it represents me at that time.  And I'm glad I did it.

Maybe I should try to post everyday again.

If I were to post about today, it would be how a tiny part of the wood floors got installed which means we are on the upswing.

 Thank goodness.
 Thank goodness.

These last few days, weeks, months, even the year of 2014 have been SO HARD.  Now, I try to remind my kids that hard doesn't equal bad, but hard for a long time is just, hard.  I feel like I'm constantly treading water, trying to keep 2 babies heads above water and 3 other kids from floating off.  I'm barely functioning.  Of course it doesn't help that we've all been sick (RSV for the littles and now cough for me) and no one is sleeping.  Why is sleep so hard? Hard as in bad.

Renovating is hard too. The dust is bad, the disorganization is terrible.  The mess is atrocious.  Nothing has a home; I can't find anything to save my life.  The fridge is in the living room. The table and chairs are outside. I looked for oregano for 15 minutes thinking it was in the laundry room, or my closet when it was really in the spice cupboard (which is full of canned goods).

But we are on the upswing.

New pantry shelves will be installed. The floors will get finished.  Tables and chairs will go in their respective rooms.  I'll be able to cook real meals without first wiping dust off everything.  I'll be able to find things like bandaids and onions.

I do still write in my journal.  I used to mostly write what I did that day. Now I just write things I want to remember.  Like Will's voice reading a book--he's such a good reader even if he'd rather build legos, and Elle's excitement about taking cooking lessons and being a Road Guard at school.  Amelia's high-pitched squealing when she climbs ladders.  Wyatt, so naughty, so adorable, so exhausting.  The way he calls for me when he can't see me.

And before I know it I'll feel like I'm floating in the water.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Last Few Weeks in Pictures

I just haven't had the time to blog lately. So much is going on, but mostly the 2 littles keep me busy.
Here's the latest in pictures, they are all in some crazy order, and lousy cell phone pics at that, but I just don't have time to make pretty pictures right now.  I figure it's better than nothing.

Tyler picked up our new flooring Saturday.  Well, half of it.  This is what it will look like--he just laid it down to see the effect.  I cannot wait to get this part of the house done--I'm ready to start living in it.  The wood is going everywhere downstairs except the laundry room and our room, and upstairs in the girls' rooms and family room.  The boys want carpet and the spare room already has wood that we're leaving for now.  The stairs are going to be totally revamped so right now they are staying as is.  

The tile demo is going to be atrocious lemme tell you.  I am not super excited about that part.

This is the library.  I am bummed that I don't have good before pictures of this room.  The neighbors tell us that it was built as a Prayer Room, complete with alter.  It had brown walls with gold glitter and heavy texture in a swirling pattern. Lovely.  It also had water damage on the ceiling right over the windows.  Spencer installed a new, smooth ceiling and skim-coated all the walls so they are normal.  He also insulated the room for some sound-proofing since the piano will be in here too.  It's a very narrow room, but I am so excited to get the shelves in and have a cozy library.  It's the perfect place to get away.


Tyler works Saturdays now so there's no more weekend warrior-ing.  Now Tuesday nights and Wednesdays are the big house-work days.  It's not ideal, but we are making the best of it.  

My long-term plan for the pantry was to close up the closet in the dining room (which had been turned into a bedroom, hence the closet) add that space to the pantry and then make a pass-thru into the dining room from the kitchen, through the pantry.  Someday I'll draw up before and after houseplans.  Tyler was hesitant about the new doorway/opening since you'd see it from the front door and he didn't want a view of the pantry.  So my idea was to close off the actual pantry room with a sliding barn door (yay! I finally get to use my barn doors I've been hoarding for so long!) and build a butler's pantry opposite.  

It sounded like a lot of work, and I was fine with doing it sometime down the road (we really must pace ourselves) but Tyler said if we are making a mess now, we might as well do it all.
 So here's Tyler just busting into the dining room from the pantry.  That sawzall has seen a lot of use around here.
 In this picture you can see the new arched opening into the butler's pantry (we have a few other arches around the house so we thought we'd carry that through) and you can see the old closet opening.

 Shelves came down in the pantry to bust out the wall to the closet.
 view from the closet into the pantry. That big shelf unit is where the future butler's pantry will be.
 Wall is Gone!
 And here's Wyatt just to mix it up a bit.


 Before pic of closet.
 Taking a short break.  Amelia is NOT afraid of saws and loud noises and loves being in the mix of things.
 Getting out to the park for a bit.  She loves her hat that Will bought her for Christmas.

 Will's new coat.


 Cute girl after nap.


 Elle trying out uncle Spencer's dry-walling stilts.  Pretty nifty things.

 He doesn't always do construction.

This is the store we bought the hardwood from.  They had helium balloons and Amelia was nuts over them.  


 Maddie may be nuts too :)


 Selfies

Boys and dragons



When the columns first went in.


 Wall coming out.

 Before.  
 I must say, this before pic makes me long for a non-dusty, construction-free living area.


 Baby girl growing so fast.

 The mountain goat.

And now Christmas:

 We had a great visit with Nana and Pop Pop and Kyle and Lennie and Scott, Sophie and Paige too.

 It was all pretty relaxed with lots of food.  Sounds like typical Harris gathering.


And we'll end with my favorite Silent Night shots.  I love the house all still and beautiful on Christmas eve.  The presents are out, the anticipation has taken it's toll on kids, in bed and quiet.  I'm always the last one awake, but I love this time to  focus my thoughts on our Savior and his priceless gift to us.  It was a lovely Christmas.  

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Simple Project

Like most foreclosures, our house was stripped pretty bare of hardware and fixtures.  So when I needed a towel rack for the boys' bathroom I thought I'd do something fun and super simple like this:

(picture from google)

Seemed easy enough for me:
1. buy supplies
2. paint
3. screw in cleats
4. mount to wall

Four easy steps.  Well let me tell you how this goes in real life:

1. Drive to store to buy supplies. Find a straight board that will work, pick out 4 cleats.
2. Go home.  Realize the cashier only charged for 3 cleats.
3. Drive back.  Pay for 4th cleat.
4. Go to Hobby Lobby for paint.  Forget the towel for color match.  Pick a paint anyway and decide it's good enough.
5. Let items sit around kitchen for 2 weeks because the babies have decided napping is for the birds.
6. Finally have a moment to make it happen.
7. Locate supplies.  Board is missing.  Realize the board has been cut up for Amelia's baby gate.
8. Find another board (I got lucky)
9.  Look for 4 cleats. Can only find 3.  Drive back to Home Depot to buy yet another one.
10. Paint blue.
11. Paint again.  New board is mdf and looks kind of weird.
12.  clean up yogurt mess from 2 year old.
13. Put kids down for nap (a long process in and of itself)
14. Try to find sandpaper
15. Sand
16. Screw in cleats, drill runs out of batteries on last one. Find another drill.
17. Have Tyler teach me how to use stud finder and mount to wall.  
18.  Stand back and admire simple project.


There you have it.  18 steps for my simple project.  But hey, at least the boys have a cute towel rack on the wall so their towels can be thrown on the floor under it.  
:)

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Christmas Jams





This is still one of my top ten Christmas songs.  Plus, it helps the kids clean up.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Entryway Project

Finally, the post about the entryway!
Here is all the before pictures I could find of the space.  It was a 2 story, open foyer like all other homes in Texas.  
 Upstairs family room.  The only logical place for the sofa to go is up against that half wall.  Super not safe.
 Open on this side with basically a "catwalk" over to the other side of the upstairs. There are 4 bedrooms upstairs, one in each corner.
 View looking up.

 View looking doooooooown.



 Walkway.
 *      *      *
 So at 10pm one night Tyler just started removing drywall. I mean, what else do you do at 10 pm?

 He had all the necessary stuff removed that night.

 Then he installed the new floor boards.  This were big long boards (2x16s?) that were not cheap. But I'm thinking it's ok to not scrimp on this part.



 Once those were all the way across the plywood went down upstairs.  I don't really have a good picture of that.
 But here is Tyler standing on the newly created floor, tearing out the half wall.


 It made a mess, yes.
 Then, back downstairs, the beadboard panels went up.  I actually helped with this part.  Except I'm not sure how much help I am: I am a total weakling and not good on ladders and I kept getting sawdust in my eyes.  The nail gun was also jamming every time Tyler was supporting the board and I was supposed to be nailing.  But by the 6th sheet I got it down :)

 Electrical wires were in place and the faux beams were built.
Crown molding installed. Painted.
Lights hung, and its done!  It's gorgeous. 
 I love the fact that no other house in our neighborhood looks like this.  


 We are going to a board and batten/wainscotting type thing on the expansive walls and paint of course--maybe something like this:


 but first we need to take out the wall to the dining room and do something similiar to this:

I think this will really transform the space and turn this weirdo house into a showcase.  I can't wait!