Wednesday, August 12, 2015

We're Moving!

We are a little busy around here because we're moving to a new state!  We will be leaving Maryland by the end of the month for the Rochester, NY area.  I don't have much time to sit around but I'll be sure to post a lot of pictures of all our progress (and FINAL before/after photos) when I get a chance.  We'd appreciate your prayers during this stressful time! 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Vacation and Hard Labor

We went on vacation this past week with Chris' family.  We went to Kiawah Island - 28 people in 3 houses.  It took us 14 hours to get down there on Saturday...with some mishaps including vomit and Chris helping to rescue a baby from a car accident in front of us.  We were happy to be done driving after all that!

It was Josh's first time at the beach and he enjoyed it.  He was tentative about the waves at first but grew to enjoy them. 

Samantha's favorite thing (besides her cousin Jenna) was collecting shells along the beach with Nana.  She tolerated the waves but did have some fun in the water with her aunts one night. 

We didn't get to spend any time in Charleston (hard to tour with the kids) but we did spend a morning at one of the plantations.  The kids enjoyed it - there was a zoo area with animals ranging from peacocks and deer to armadillo and tortoises.

They had an enormous garden that we walked around for hours.  The kids enjoyed it a lot.

I was also able to successfully teach Josh how to "smell" flowers instead of pulling them off!

The kids were so exhausted from all the fun they were having that they both took naps each day.

Fortunately, the trip home was much better for us.  We left a half day early by driving after lunch on Friday.  We missed a lot of the traffic and were home in 11 hours.

Before we left for vacation, I painted the porch and sunroom floors.  I wanted to give them a few days to cure before there would be any foot traffic on them.  It's not much but it is a big improvement!

We have a lot of junk around our house - parts and materials left over from previous projects, tools that never found their way back to the workshop, and just random garbage.   Two areas we cleaned up this weekend were there area behind the garage...

...and the inside of the garage. 

Both are still ugly but they are major improvements over the "before" pictures (here's the behind the garage as an example).

Chris did a lot of yard work this weekend too.  He did a lot of trimming, chopping, and burning to make everything look more intentional. 

One last project was putting in some new landscaping in front of the privacy fence (even though the fence isn't fully primed or painted yet.  Once that's complete, we'll need to add a lot of mulch to really make it look nice. 

We have a lot of projects on the horizon - hopefully we'll have more pictures to share soon!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sunroom, Porch, and Basement Progress

We've been working really hard each night after the kids go to sleep.  One wonderful and fully finished project is the sunroom.  The ugly wall is covered and painted, there is a new light fixture, and the floor has been painted.  I'll post pictures next week of the finished room but here's a little trip down memory lane for the room when we bought the house (you must also imagine a VERY STRONG odor of dog urine to get the full effect). 

Another project that is very close to finished is the front porch.  There is one railing section to finish so I'll post pictures when it's complete.

We did a lot of drywall work this week in the basement.  The drywall is installed in about half of the space and the first coat of compound is on.  It's looking a lot better and hopefully soon we'll have it in much better shape. 

The giant dirt pile next to the patio is no more.  We hired a guy to come and move/remove it for us (in addition to some other work).  What a difference!  We keep saying that we should have done it a long time ago.  A little bit of seed and straw and this space will look great!

We're exhausted!  Hopefully we'll get to take a little break this week!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Fence, Sunroom, and Basement Progress

We got a LOT accomplished this weekend.  My parents came to town and my mom babysat while we worked hard on some big projects.  It was insanely hot and I think we all lost multiple pounds in sweat alone. 

One big eyesore in the backyard was this space behind the garage that used to be a poorly built shed area.  Since we tore the shed down, we've taken to stashing (in a very unorganized manner) random junk from other projects.  In order to hide this ugly area, we installed a couple fence panels.

I still have to finish painting it to match the other fence but it's already a huge improvement!

The entrances to the weird shed were a couple dwarf doors - one from the yard and the other from the sunroom.  Since we want the sunroom to look nice and be functional, we needed to remove the door and fix the wall.  

The wall was very poorly built - it curves like an "S."  The correct way to fix it would have been to remove the whole wall and rebuild it.  Of course we didn't want to do another huge project so we did the next best thing.  My dad removed the old door and frame and installed cinder blocks in the opening. 


It was then fully sealed but was still curvy and ugly.  We added a frame, some paneling, and trim to make it a lot nicer.  I still need to paint this wall but it is an enormous improvement over the dwarf door.  

We also had an electrician friend come over to start installing the wiring for the unfinished space of the basement.  He was able to finish over half of the outlets and even got a few of the lights installed.  We put in a little bit of drywall on Sunday evening but have a lot more to do.  It will be a great space when it's finished.

This week, the kids had swim lessons.  Josh did alright in water babies with me (just having fun in the water).  Samantha was in an independent class and did her usual non-participating for the first two days of class.  After a couple nice talks with her, she finally decided to at least try for the last couple days.  Here's a video of her kicking - we just need to keep working on it!

 I'll just end on a cute picture of Samantha.

Hopefully we'll get a lot accomplished this week too!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Tedious Work

We've been doing plenty of projects around here - tedious ones but it's forward progress.  Chris did a lot of work on the porch railing.  There is still one section left to complete but it looks great!

I've been spending a lot of time with some brick colored paint and a tiny brush.  The previous owners were quite sloppy with their trim painting so there is a lot of random white paint on the brick - particularly where we removed walls and along the top of the walls.  Here are a couple of the spots I've finished - it's not as noticeable as it was before at least!

We also had some fun.  I took the kids to the science center on Friday - they had a blast!



Our neighbors got some new chicks so we got to pay a little visit.  They have a dozen and they are adorable.  We'll be visiting often as they grow!

I made some colored beans for the kids to play with and I got about 45 minutes of quite time out of them (although I need to sit close so they don't throw them around the house).

Josh had a little tumble on the sidewalk and got a big scrape above his eye.  Fortunately it was just a little bump and he only cried for about 30 seconds.  He's happy and it makes him look tough!

We also went to a small street festival and happened to run into Elsa.  

We hope to get a LOT done this week (with hopefully plenty of pictures!). 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Fourth of July Fun!

Another week of summer, another week of fun. 

I took the kids to a local farm to pick blueberries and raspberries.  Josh probably ate a couple pounds of berries while we were there.  We also had a nice picnic and a visit to the goats and alpacas. 

Our July 4th festivities included two parades (the first was very rainy!).  The first parade was long and the kids got a LOT of candy. 

After church on Sunday we went to the Maryland Zoo.  The kids had a great time...and were exhausted (they fell asleep before we left Baltimore!).

I'll finish with a few more pictures from the week. 

Happy Josh (post berry feast)!

Chalkboard art.

Story time with Daddy.

Finally, our first ripe tomato of the season!

We have more fun planned this week!