Monday, January 26, 2015

kitchen diary: week 4, windows and electrical.

Jan. 19 -   contractor/uncle removes old dining room window, creates new kitchen window opening. Mark spends an evening pulling nails out of removed hardwood and gets about halfway through the stack. Amanda binge-watches Parks and Rec on Netflix and does the dishes.




Jan. 20 -  electrical work begins, outlets added and extraneous wires removed or relocated.


HVAC guy adds a couple more vents, closes old returns. new window is installed!!! it is beyond beautiful and the perfect size and will have a nice deep sill. phone chat in the evening with contractor/uncle about electrical layout and a couple other things.



pick up several test cans of stain for hardwood. tile samples from Lowes and Daltile arrive. soclose to decisions on floor tile and countertop.


current state of temporary basement kitchen is sad and pathetic.


Jan. 22 - chat with electrician and contractor/uncle to finalize the electrical layout. lights, outlets, and switch locations are all decided after much deliberation.  decision is made for the floor tile and countertops.  begin seriously looking at light fixtures and paint colors for the new space.





















Jan. 23 - electricians finish drilling holes and running wire for lights, and installing outlets and switches.  plumber installs water line for the fridge and finishes rough-in. drywall delivered!


Jan. 24 - all attempts at finding a place to donate dishwasher and dining room window fail.  apparently no one wants dishwashers that are more than 5 years old or windows that have been previously installed. also, no one will pick them up from our house.  whatever. old stove and refridgerator get moved out to the driveway to be picked up for recyling. the hunt continues for the perfect chandelier and paint color and any sort of idea as to what we should do with the old dining room window. Craigslist maybe?

Jan. 25 - last of the cabinets transported to Mark's parents house, where they are being reused in the new garage workspace. remaining nails pulled from removed hardwood. Stains and poly applied to sample floorboard. Still need to make a decision about that. so many decisions. so many good things. so easy to lose sight of how good all of this really is in the midst of basement dwelling and dusty everything.

Friday, January 23, 2015

kitchen diary: week 3, reconstruction.

Jan. 12 - Mark finishes removing hardwood floor in dining room after work.  Amanda works out, makes tacos for dinner in her temporary kitchen, and does the dishes. she feels like this is a pretty major accomplishment.


Jan. 13 -  meet electricians, drywall guy, and hardwood finisher to talk layout and have them see what they're getting into.
Amanda's evening is spent finishing C's christmas present - a reversible Frozen dress-up apron. so stinkin' proud of this thing. look at those pleats!


Jan. 14 -  new kitchen wall gets built - the lone interior wall in this entire space.  it is lovely. Mark does three pull-ups on the new door frame just to prove he can. Amanda attempts one but mostly just hangs there.



Jan. 15 -  Amanda browses light fixtures online and orders tile samples from Lowes. having trouble finding the same tile in two shades of gray for the checkerboard floor. fingers crossed for these ones because they look really promising online.


Mark caps water lines, removes old kitchen sink, last two kitchen cabinets, and remaining drywall and floor.



temporary basement kitchen is dismantled to provide contractors access to drop ceiling in the basement. order pizza for dinner. Amanda's evening is spent finishing Christmas presents while Mark packs and goes to bed early.


 Jan. 16 -  plumber roughs in pipes for new kitchen sink.  old kitchen window removed and walled over. Amanda browses kitchen faucets online at lunchtime and narrows it down to two.
after work, Amanda panic-packs for the weekend and we hit the road to Gram's house.

Jan. 17 -  HVAC guy begins work - moves thermostat, vents, and returns. 
we spend the day snuggling baby Levi and celebrating Christmas and Gram's 80th birthday with family. we laugh and laugh and never stop eating.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

kitchen diary: weeks 1 and 2, demolition.

Dec. 29 -  took down and packed up Christmas decorations after work. cleaned and organized the basement.

Dec. 30 -  cleaned and organized the guest room after work. assembled bed frame. began moving furniture into basement and guest room.

Dec. 31 -  came home from work today to a construction zone. Mark took the day off work to get started on the demolition and officially kick off this whole kitchen renovation extravaganza.  the wall between the front room and the fireplace room is completely gone. he has been dying to get rid of that wall since the day we moved in.
in bed and asleep by 11:45pm. Happy New Year!

 


Jan. 1 -  no work today. celebrated Christmas with Mark's family instead!

Jan. 2 -  Amanda went out for coffee and to run errands with Nadine.  Mark continued demo - kitchen cabinets, kitchen walls, and half of dining room drywall all removed. dumpster delivered, dead mouse discovered under kitchen cabinet. Mark got a drywall nail stuck in his shoe, but it did not go through to his foot. worked until after midnight. Mark's back is very stiff and sore.



Jan. 3 -  moved the rest of the furniture into the hallway, basement, and guest room. met with contractor/uncle about layout and to give him a house key.  removed other half of dining room drywall.  Amanda loaded the dumpster while Mark removed the old tile floor. a car jack was involved. Mark's back is still very sore.


Jan. 4-10 -  Mark's back feels better enough to go skiing with his family in Showshoe, WV. because it is totally logical to plan major renovations and week-long vacations at the same time.


Jan. 11 - Mark moves the fridge into the basement with the help of his brother's friend. there was no way my wimpy little self was helping to heft that thing around. bought a tiny microwave and hot plate. organized temporary kitchen in the basement. Mark removes hardwood floor in old dining room. old kitchen sink remains in place for now because shut-off valves don't work. demolition is done-enough for parts of the kitchen to start being put back together again.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

non-resolution redux.

so. apparently we're already half-way through January.
Happy New Year, y'all!

according to popular conventions, by this point in the year i should have already done a sweeping, overarching review of 2014, committed to several large goals for the year to come, and probably already failed half of them. but i have done none of that. instead, i am spending this week frantically finishing all of the Christmas presents that i put off crafting until the very last minute in preparation for a giant Christmas/Birthday extravaganza with my whole extended family this weekend.  so while i have managed to extend the holiday spirit long past most of the rest of the world, i have not transitioned into the new year mindset quite yet.

BUT since I have a ton of different and exciting things rattling around in my brain that i dont want to not share, here is my best attempt at thinking through some things i would like to do and accomplish and be in the upcoming year (which is already 4% over. way to be ahead of the game, Mando.)

first of all, my goals for this past year; 14 for '14 and one to grow on:
(my comments in italics)

1. curtains. well, we had curtains made for the front room and dining room. they turned out to be all different lengths and i kind of hated them. and now we're rearranging all the windows so they'll probably end up being useless, but at least they happened. half-win on this one.
2. read at least 3 non-fiction books. read one for sure. finished a couple fiction books too. most recently started The Story and am on Chapter 6 i think. half-win on this one.
3. have pretty flowerbeds. Mark did get rid of the ugly tree on the front corner of the house, but left that bed full of weeds. he also tore up the side bed by the driveway during the great downspout extravaganza of 2014 but we haven't re-mulched it yet. i planted zero things. fail.
4. budget. haven't quite found a plan that has stuck long-term yet. but we're not broke so, win!
5. ride my bike. twice, i think. win!
6. read through my Bible. i recently started reading The Story. kind of like the Bible, abridged. half-win.
7. close my other bank account. not this year. this is just pathetic. fail.
8. big book of everything. good in theory, but never quite got it started. fail
9. pass the PE. DONE. PASSED! HAVE THE LICENSE TO PROVE IT. WIN WIN WIN!!!
10. overcome my fear of the lawnmower.  helped mow the grass once. that's about it. fail.
11. run. bought new shoes. decided running probably just isn't for me. counting it as a half-win.
12. sew a cushion for the entryway bench. still currently sitting 3/4 of the way done in the basement. have spent the past 6 months trying to work up the energy to finish the stupid thing. half-win.
13. get the air ducts cleaned. UGH. stupid air duct guy never showed up for our appointment. so i gave up and decided it wasn't that important to me. fail.
14. yoga. bought a new yoga DVD. did it twice. win?
15. start the kitchen renovation. of all the things on this list that i figured wouldn't happen this year, this is the one we actually did! cabinets and appliances are ordered, demolition is pretty much done, and rebuilding has already started. if all goes well, we should have a brand new space by spring! win!

well, that's a whopping 7.5 out of 15. this is my least favorite thing about goals: looking back on them and realizing how hard i failed at some of the simplest things. i did some BIG things this year professionally and house-wise that i am proud of, so why does having un-done things on my list get me so down? why set goals at all if not accomplishing them just makes me sad? padding my yearly list with fluff isn't going to do me any favors, but seriously - where is the balance between stretching yourself and setting yourself up for disappointment?

and yet, i still see the value in setting goals, and starting a new year fresh. everything is so full of possibility at the beginning of a whole new year, (or 96% of a new year in this case)  and i really do want each year to be the best year yet. i'm pretty sure the point of goal-setting to stretch your own boundaries and inspire personal growth, so i'm not giving up on the whole thing just yet.

in 2015, i would like to...

...finish the kitchen renovation with sanity and grace. this is big and exciting and a huge blessing. i want to keep that in mind rather than just freaking out over all the details.
...feel good in my skin. whether i lose some weight, clear up my face, grow my hair out, or just shift my personal perception of myself, i just want to feel better.
...focus on intentionally healthy choices: walk. eat salads. less sugar-bomb snacks. more jazzercise.
...be more organized. this includes previous years goals of closing my extraneous bank account, starting the big book of everything, budgeting, finishing up some half-done projecs, and hopefully just generally feeling more like a responsible adult.
...host parties. i'm going to have such a nice new kitchen, it would be a shame not to share it with people i love.
...spend time outside. sunshine is the best. and not much beats that wonderful exhausted feeling after a long day spent working or playing outside. i'd like to do more of that this year.
...get pregnant. this is something i dont really talk about much, because it is extremely personal and because i dont want anyone asking me "how's it going? *winkwinknudgegiggle*" ugh. awkward. no thanks. so why put it on the list? because i've been pretty singularly focused on it for the past 10 months but haven't let myself talk about it much, and it just feels good to put it in writing.
...take pictures. because i want to be able to look back someday and remember my everyday life, along with the big events.
...go to the beach. i just love it.
...have fun. smile. laugh. relax. be silly. just fun.

so there. i feel good about this list. it's probably not all-inclusive of everything that this year will bring, and of course is completely subject to change because who knows what God has planned for us, and i will still likely feel like i have failed at a lot of it come this time next year because that's just how i do. but if i manage to cross off even just a couple things on this list, i think i will feel good about that.

here we go. headlong into the remaining 96% of the year. let's do this.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December, lately.

Lately, we have been ...

... ordering kitchen cabinets. and kitchen appliances. and trying to finalize what seems like a million other design decisions. i am beginning to realize that i am WAY out of my league on this one - this whole kitchen renovation is big, and involves things like contractors and custom cabinets, and i do not know the first real thing about a renovation process that isn't completely do-it-yourself, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants and make-a-million-trips-to-home-depot.  but i did update my idea board from August to try and get a better handle on what i might like the floors to look like. thoughts?





PS Mark is planning to start demo this week, so if you have an opinion, now is the time to voice it!

... squealing over every picture of Baby Levi. and over how very adorable and tiny the Christmas jammies are that we bought for him. its kind of hard to believe that he is really real and on the outside, even after spending all day Christmas just snuggling his perfect little self. so excited to see him again (along with the rest of the fam!) in just a couple weeks


... crafting Christmas presents. i have most of them done and wrapped, but believe it or not i still have three half-done at home, and i just thought up two more today to add to my list. that's the upside of celebrating Christmas late this year - a couple extra weeks to get everything done!

... wrapping Christmas presents. i spent an entire Sunday with wrapping paper and the Gilmore Girls. it was a good day, indeed.

... visiting Gram and Pap. we got our first tin of candy when we visited at Thanksgiving, and i left that one at Stasi's house. we got a second! tin of candy on this trip, but unfortunately forgot it on Gram's kitchen counter. major sadface. we are going back in a couple weeks, but i am not holding out hope that there will even be much candy left, let alone even the slimmest of chances that our tin will still be there waiting for us.

... wearing Christmas jammies.  i dont even care that they are mainstream and cliche and i am probably at least four years behind the trend, but i got myself and my husband (non-matching) holiday sleepwear this year and it was downright festive.


... celebrating Julie's wedding! everything was absolutely GORGEOUS - the bride, the venue, the weather (50 degrees and sunny in late December, what!) and i think the only real crises involved the bridesmaids earrings.  there were zero casualties and only minor bloodshed. Julie and Nate are currently on their honeymoon, and i honestly could not be more happy for them.  SO thankful that i got to be a part of their big day.



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

tomorrow is not far away.

yesterday, i packed a suitcase.

tomorrow, i will hug my grandparents. i will hug my sister and brother-in-law. i will snuggle Baby Levi and eat his adorable baby toes.


but today, i sit in my cubicle and watch the foggy, rain-soaked world outside my window.

i am SO looking forward to tomorrow.

Friday, December 5, 2014

thankful 2014: december wrapup.

45. vacation days. long weekends are the best. thankful for a few days off work in the middle of a busy season.

46. in-laws.  thankful for the generous family that my husband comes from.  thankful for laughter and games and time spent together.

50. grandparents. thankful that Gram is willing and able to alter my bridesmaid dress for me. thankful that Pap pretends to know who i am. thankful for good memories around the kitchen table. thankful that gram still makes candy.

55. aunts and uncles and cousins. thankful that no one bats an eye when we rolled in just in time for lunch - in fact, we had pizza in hand and a seat at the table (or on the steps) almost before we even said hello. i am thankful for every single one of them.

81. my fat sister. and Balthazar who is making her fat. and her husband Micah who let Mark hang out with them all last weekend while i was bridal showering and bachelorette partying.


84. laser tag. part of Julie's bachelorette festivities was playing laser tag in fancy dresses. thankful that i had a fancy dress that fit me. thankful for an amazingly fun group of girls to spend the evening with.

93. Christmas decorations. we are keeping Christmas really low-key this year, since we are planning to start demo for the kitchen project right after the holiday. thankful that we already had a tree in the basement, and plenty of ornaments and lights and tinsel to make decorating for the season quick and painless.

 
98. online shopping. and two-day delivery. i have a feeling that these two things will constitute a large portion of my Christmas shopping this month. thankful for technology that facilitates my laziness.

100. traditions. thankful for the challenge of this thankful list every year. thankful that it directs my thoughts towards thankfulness, and away from whining. of course i can still be plenty whiny, but i am at least more aware of it.