Sunday, January 31, 2010

Jesus Paid it All

"Jesus paid it all, All to him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow".

Jesus Paid it All


Friday, January 29, 2010

The foyer remodel that almost brought on early labor

Are you new here? I am on tour with my house. My husband and I have been remodeling our home very slowly over the past 3 (almost 4) years, and we are finally done. Considering the amount of time this project has taken, it seems only fitting to record it, thus this house tour was started. You can see day 1 here. So glad you have stopped by and I hope you leave with some inspiration!

This post is one mainly of pictures. They tell a better story than I can. Below you will see where the foyer started. It was extremely dated, however, when we first bought the house I saw it as a blank canvas, something that wouldn't take much work to update. This was probably the biggest misconception of our remodeling process. This foyer was a bear!

And here is why. The gigantic window above the door had to come out. It dated the house unbelievably from the outside, and put us on display from the inside. We lived in the upstairs guest bedroom for 3 years before we were able to remodel our downstairs master bedroom....and I cannot tell you how many people must have gotten an unexpected show from the street in front of our house. There were so many times one us would be walking from the shower to our closet and forget that we were on display due to the window. It had go...therefore the entire exterior wall had to be cut out and re framed for a smaller, less revealing window. We also replaced these doors with ebay bought doors. We paid less than cost for them, and they are solid, beautiful doors. My cute carpenter started searching ebay long before we were ready to replace the doors, hunting for a deal, and he found one.
Next, please notice that the old stairs dropped you off at the bottom about 1 1/2 feet from the wall in front of you... an awkward design that had to be fixed once the new, bigger doors went in. And then there was that unfortunate detail of the 70's contemporary looking TILE on the floor in the foyer. The tile was installed over a 4 inch concrete base that had to be busted out with a jack hammer, and then a new sub floor put in.
Are you overwhelmed yet? I am having panic attacks just thinking back over the nightmare that this project turned into. I regret to inform you that I have no photographic evidence of my husband on his 2nd jack hammer (he burned up the first) busting up the floors, and me six months pregnant with baby #3 hauling out the tile and concrete demolition. We backed a pick up truck right to the front door and launched the construction demolition into the back of the truck. It took 3 trips to the dump because the back of the truck was dragging so low. I wish I was making this stuff was a sight to see and it took us an entire weekend to get that floor busted up and hauled away.
Next we ripped out the stairs, but then hired someone to come in a replace them. Stair work is an interesting kind of science and my cute carpenter is good, but he wisely handed over the installation to someone else. We were without stairs to the second level of our home for several days, we used a ladder...remember, still pregnant! We also had to widen the walkway upstairs that led to the playroom because it was too narrow (remember that playroom at the end of the hall didn't use to be there, so we had to create a walkway to get to it). We also needed to fix the length of the stairs so that there was more room at the bottom. The new front doors could only open halfway with the old design.

In progress...

And just because he didn't have enough to do already, the cute carpenter tore out the door opening from the foyer to the family room so that he could design an arched opening that modeled the arched front doors. I was quite pleased with what he created, he never ceases to amaze me with the stuff he comes up with.
He and I worked together to layout the new hardwood floors and then he started on the trim up the staircase. What a difference trim makes, and the man is good with installing some trim work!

How cool is that?!?! All the cute carpenter's work!

A monogram should be in every room.

And this picture is here just because of the cuteness level...the dude is so appropriately labeled here.
If you want to see the whole tour click MY HOUSE TOUR over in the left column to see all the posts. Okay, I'm tired. How about on Monday we look at an undertaking that was less updating a bathroom with just a little bit of paint. Alright, maybe it took a little more than just paint, but it was nothing like jackhammering tile while pregnant.
Have a blessed (snow filled) weekend, see you on Monday!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Disney: The high-lights, the low-lights, and the weird-lights

You know you are in for an exhausting week when your husband tells you and your children as you are entering the gates at Disney on day 1 to "get your game faces on". We had other pep talks along the way, like "only the weak fall behind" and "what do you think this is, vacation, pick up the pace". We ran everywhere and I don't really know why, no one else was running. We even left at home our little man because he would have slowed us down. We went with the sassy seamstress and her family, and I am quite certain it will be the last time they choose to vacation with us.

I highly recommend Disney this time of year. It was not all that crowded and the temperature topped out in the upper 70's most days. Below you will find some of our favorite moments... some awesome, some not so awesome and some that were just weird.

Like Epcot...the park itself is beautiful and I thoroughly enjoyed the sights.
The girls were afraid of Aladdin (and they are not afraid of anything)...but can you blame them? He almost didn't look human.

Loved the Tower of Terror. We could all ride, it was thrilling for everyone, and no one got off wounded with whiplash.

Loved the Lion King performance...all but this strange guy that stared at me throughout the entire performance and kept winking. At the point that I figured it couldn't get anymore awkward and weird, I just started taking his picture.

Oh the junk food we ate.

Okay, I just have to say a few things about the world of princesses in Disney World. I know that I am treading on thin ice with such a topic, as who doesn't adore the Disney Princess. Please know that I am right there with ya, I have always loved all the princesses. Let me repeat, I love them all and can only imagine that their job probably gets a little old at times; but I must say that some of them have developed a very unflattering demeanor of "snob" since I last visited them in Florida. Maybe it's the heat and the crowds...the combination of those two things can wear on the best of us; but Cinderella actually called out my Caroline on the red carpet for picking her nose. I do indeed understand that Caroline wasn't displaying her princess manners, and that Cinderella probably just didn't want Caroline to wipe something unpleasant on her dress. But seriously, need we call such negative, embarrassing attention to the child that has been anticipating this moment for days now? Miss High and Mighty Cinderella is lucky that Miss Caroline's Momma did not encourage her to use that lovely blue gown she was wearing as a tissue...and that's all I have to say about that. Did I go to far? Hate me if you must, just trying to keep it real.

Making wishes at the castle...

Wow, seriously Jasmine. I had no words then and I have no words now.

The fireworks were lovely...

There were a few sad moments...

But then Belle appeared to fix them....she was kinder than some of her other royal friends.

More highlights...

And then the finale, our favorite, Ariel. Though she was 12, she was a dream...kind, sweet, and totally worth the 35 minute wait.

Now we are back home and back to real life, on Friday we will be back to the house tour (the stalling has been due traveling, not laziness). We will look back at our foyer remodel that at one point had me climbing a ladder to our second story while 7 months pregnant.

See you then...


Monday, January 25, 2010

Let's back up this tour

Let's back up this house remodeling home tour train, and head back outside for just one more post. I feel like there was so much work done outside that it deserves a little more love.

I can't get enough of this before picture, it has been so long since it looked like this that I have forgotten. My husband and I went to a dinner last week and sat across from a couple that we did not know. Through small talk conversation, we learned that they looked at our house 5 times while it was sitting on the market, trying to figure out how they could remodel it and make it different. Obviously, they never pulled the trigger and we did one month later. What a small world we live in. She kept saying, "it was priced so low and we really wanted to make it work, but we just could not envision it to be anything but what it was." I found it so interesting, because when it came down to it, it was just a brick box.

Remember, we did this over a 3 year period of time. None of these changes happened over night. First we bricked in the paneling between all the windows, took the roof off half the house to go up with a playroom addition, and then we added dormers. Next we painted the entire thing (when in doubt, paint the brick) huge difference! The big window needed to go and new eBay bought doors were installed (we paid less than cost for the doors). We heart ebay.

A home seems more charming to me with some kind of a porch. The cute carpenter designed this portico from one that he had seen and liked in a magazine. We had leftover hardwoods from the inside of the house that he installed on the ceiling of the portico. It wasn't enough material to do anything else with and we didn't want it to go to waste.

Though the house was a thousand times more attractive on the outside, it needed a little more. It was screaming for some shutters.

Have you ever checked the cost of wood shutters? They are outrageous, so we built our own. Board and Batten shutters are incredibly easy to build. If anyone out there actually cares to get a tutorial on how to make your own shutters...leave me a comment and I will nicely ask the cute carpenter to write one. I am sure he would be more than pleased to share what he learned through the process.

And now we are back to where we were when we started, and I feel better about explaining a little more of what was involved in adding curb appeal. Click here if you care to go back to day 1. See you on Wednesday.

Friday, January 22, 2010


So I'm stalling. I know I am due for another house post and the three of you out there that are following this parade of home of mine will just have to wait until next week. I am placing myself on sabbatical until I can keep my head above water. There are lots of reasons for this....babies being born, homework to get caught up on with my peeps, and the fact that I would have to clean a room in order to photograph it and I can't see over the piles of laundry to find my camera. However, in the meantime, check out and go find yourself some fantastic fabric to make your children some clothing. I did last week and look at this bundle of deliciousness that arrived yesterday. So in all my free time this weekend, I plan on sewing up some dresses. Yeah, who I am kidding...the sassy seamstress is so makin' me some clothes in the next few days.

See you next week...


Thursday, January 21, 2010

They named him 'Asher', because He has made them so 'happy'

Asher Andrew is here! I told you here that my younger sister was getting ready to deliver Thomas' best friend. Well she did indeed deliver, both physically and figuratively. He is edible and his sisters are already trying to eat him, as well they should.

His name suits him, does it not?


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The room at the end of the hall...

C. S. Lewis wrote to his Godchild after writing her the story "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and said, "My Dear Lucy, I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books". I have had the same realization now that we have completed our playroom. Little girls grow quickly, and before you know it, they are ducking their heads as they walk through the door of our playhouse.
There is so much to love about this room. For starters, I love that my husband was willing to tear off the roof of half of our house in order to "go up" with a playroom addition. I love that I told this cute carpenter of mine that I would really like some kind of built in house in the playroom, and he said, "okay, let's make it two stories high". I love that when it was all done, I needed power to the upstairs of the playhouse to hang white lights, and so he spent a late night pulling power for me.

I love that I ignored the sensible part of my brain that was telling me not to paint anything on those walls, because one day I would have to paint over it...which of course I will, but who cares. I am not an artist, I wing everything I do, but my girls do not know the difference in art that "real artists" create, and the sketches that their mom creates, so who cares. It's child-like and fun and my kids are only children in a playroom for a very short amount of time.

I love that they love to play in it. I hear a lot of people say that their children will not play in playrooms...I have not had that experience. My kids play hard in this room.

I love that they would rather wear dress-up clothes than real clothes, especially Caroline, but even Ella!

I love that we have a "wall of fame", as my blogger friend Edie calls them.

An aerial view...

You know you want to paint these shoes in your daughter's room, I'm tempted to paint them in my room...

Playing hard...

Sleeping hard after playing hard...

And finally, just keeping it real...See you on Friday...