BATHROOM BEFORE & AFTER

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^  THE BEFORE  ^

I can FINALLY say, our bathroom construction is complete!!! Our first order of business when we bought our house in June of 2013, was to gut this bathroom. The sink was barely hanging on (and there was mold behind it), the toilet wasn’t fixed to the floor, and there was a crack in it, and well…wood paneling…only in the bathroom.

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We decided to give the door some color, so we can say, “It’s the blue door down the hallway,”when someone asks where the bathroom is. We didn’t go with purple because I don’t like purple (Mae picked the bathroom color).

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The walls are gray with white trim, to match the rest of the house. We plan on putting either artwork, or open shelving above the toilet…someday.

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Zack set cubbies into the shower. I am so happy with the way it turned out. Zack worked hard on this room!

GARDENING TIPS / WHAT WE’VE LEARNED

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This Sunday, we begin planting our first seeds in preparation for spring. I have been getting a lot of questions lately about the how / when / what of our gardening know how. Its not much, but I thought I would share some (hopefully helpful) information.

Starting seeds:

If you begin it now, I would suggest starting in trays indoors, by your most lit window (If it tends to get cold there, leave the lids on the trays and it will act as a green house.

If you don’t start until spring / March, I would recommend getting some sort of green house (Ours was $30 at Lowes) and placing it in a sunny spot outside. They grow super fast in a green house.

 
I would not recommend using all of the seeds in the package, most plants spread on their own, we still have at least half of our seeds from last year – the ones we just received will be planted in addition to what we liked last year.

Planting:

I recommend boxes as oppose to plowing a plot in the ground. Our plot in the ground attracted bugs, which made our zucchini, cucumbers and watermelon useless. We grew cantaloupe in a box and it was amazing – and bug free! It spread around our other crops, but didn’t bother them.

Zucchini and Cumbers grow well on wire arches, and are great at climbing (I know from our neighbor’s garden.), I have also seen, via Pinterest, using the side of your house / shed for crops that climb. We will be putting arches from one box to another, creating a covered ‘walkway’.

We used dirt to fill our garden box, and bought a pick-up truck load for $20.

*Tomatoes like to grow UP, and not hang down, and they get sunburned, so a partially  shaded area is fine for them, or put a net over them at the hottest time of day. If you plant tomatoes, keep them separate for everything else, they spread like crazy!

*For strawberries I recommend a net as well, to keep away birds and other animals.

Through Bakers Creek (and maybe other sources) you can order a chart that tells you when to plant outside – for each crop.

We are trying a lot of different vegetables this year, and some repeats. Penelope is even starting her own garden. We have already made a map of her garden box, which will be full of purple carrots, yellow peppers, spinach, and strawberries. She is painting her box yellow. 🙂

If you have questions about a specific crop, method, or tool let me know.

SNOW DAYS

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Because enough hasn’t been said about snow in the past few days…

Our story, however, doesn’t involve traveling in it, bearing it, enduring it. We have been cozied up in our cabin, enjoying a constant fire going in the wood stove, movies atop movies, and the occasional trek to the backyard for a snowball fight – only coming in when we can no longer feel our fingers, our cheeks have reached max rosiness, and Rae has fallen no less than 36 times.

Zack has been off for a total of three school days now. Last week he had workshops of sorts, so he hasn’t seen his students in 8 days! We thought for sure he would be back at work today but I suppose its too cold and back roads are still icy. The ladies and I sure aren’t complaining!

Today involves projects and more projects, with a possible trip to grab some paint rollers. Right now I am typing by the fire, and can’t see myself moving too far in the near future!

Hope everyone else surrounded by snow gets to enjoy it a little before it goes (More coming this weekend!).

GETTING STARTED

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We have so many projects ahead of us this year. Build more garden boxes, paint the house, take apart and rebuild the porch, get a clothes line, clear out the last bit of the wooded area in the backyard, put up a fence and purchase some goats, and relocate our shed and turn it into a coop for the chickens.

We’re starting with the shed / coop project. It is now just a standing frame, and we’ll move it closer to the house as soon as we can and reassemble it. Zack wanted a house that required work, and boy oh boy did he get it!

The girls nearly convinced us to make the shed a dance studio. Just think of all the wonderful shows they could perform for us! 🙂

SNAPSHOTS: :53

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We’ve been busy around here lately. The good kind of busy. Productive I guess is a better word. Mae has been practicing her sewing skills, and is does really well with it! She is so patient with any task we throw at her.

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One of our chickens, Tree, died last week. An hour later, we took a trip to get 15 more. Ha! Zack is such a good papa to our hens. His dad always wanted chickens, and I think the fascination may be in their genes.

Anyway,  on our way to get chicks, we stopped into a Lion’s Choice for some lunch, and they were having a special on their “Bountiful Baked Potato,” and Mae thought I should spread the word.

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We make so much homemade pizza, that we don’t see it as a ‘task’ to whip up some dough. I’m so grateful, for not only a husband who loves to cook, but who is good at it!! Homemade pizza is so good!

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Miss Rae got a hair cut over the weekend, and it is so cute on her! She is just as excited about it as Zack and I are! Mae insists that she too should get a pixie cut, and I am continually changing the subject. She adores short hair, but I think she should at least try it long once in her life.

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We ( I ) have added geography to Mae’s ‘curriculum.’ Her first destination, is China. We’ll be spending at least a week, on each place we study. Our first day of it went well, but I definitely noticed I could’ve prepared a bit more before diving in!

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Rae has been sleeping more than usual lately, due to teething & growing. It has giving me some good, long one on one time with Mae. We read library books, extend our school time, and play games. I look forward to it and try to get in at least a little bit of time with her each day.

The rest of our week is scheduled and full, which hasn’t happened in a long time! I keep thinking I am forgetting to do something.

My parents are coming for the weekend to watch the girls while Zack and I go out. Not on a date but still out,  and the fact that out night out fell on Valentines didn’t occur to us until yesterday. We’re getting lame when it comes to dating! Ah well, at least we’re still the coolest people each other knows, right?!

TIME WITH DADDY

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I spy, with my little eye, something sweet.

Lately, Zack has had to spend a lot of time after work, at work. We have been spending quite a bit of that time right along side him. We jump at any chance to miss him. Its just too easy of an opportunity to pass up. Snacks + an iPad, join us on our trips up to the high school. I typically just watch him grade papers, while the girls chase each other around the room, draw on the board, watch movies on the iPad, or visit the neighboring art teacher and ask her 573 questions about anything and everything.

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I am in awe of Zack’s talent and creativity everyday! He outdoes himself every time!

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These two and their friendship is unrivaled. She adores her daddy so much. I knew she was a daddy’s girl way back in her infant days. (Rae is a total mommy’s girl –hooray!!) Hopefully soon things will slow down, but until then, we’ll squeeze ourselves into as many minutes of his life as we can manage!

SNOW, FINALLY

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Mae has been begging for snow since summer ended. We just have a small amount barely covering the ground, but we couldn’t let it melt without playing in it! The girls didn’t even leave the deck. Too much excitement!

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Rae didn’t quite get what all the fuss was about, but followed Mae’s lead despite her confusion.

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It was too powdery for snowballs, so they just made snow piles all over. I let the chickens out of the coop, but only one of them was brave enough to step away from the heat lamps. Black Beauty didn’t even bothered getting out of bed. It seems everyone but Mae and the birds wanted to stay in bed all winter and wait for spring!

Zack, being a teacher, is desperately hoping for no snow days this year, but I could use a really good snow. A lets-go-build-a-snowman kind of snow. A snow ball fight snow. Just one.

GIVING IN

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Since Mae was born, four years ago, I have had requests from grandparents asking if they could keep the girls for a weekend. I died a little bit each time at the thought of not seeing and experiencing each day right alongside my girls. There was a time when I had to be in the hospital and someone kept Mae for the weekend, but since Rae was only a week old, Zack kept her home. The idea that my sweet baby was away from me for several days and I couldn’t do anything about it or go physically get her (despite her being in a safe place feeling loved and her every need being taken care of by someone we love) still gets to me each day. Each day for more than two years now. I need to get over it, but something in me can’t.

This past month, I needed one day without someone throwing dishes away, eating all of the toothpaste, unraveling every roll of toilet paper, screaming and whining at every little moment of every day.  I desperately wanted the happy girl in these photos to come spend a moment with me. After a month of nonstop “trouble” I gave in and called my mom to see if she would come down and help with the girls. She was busy and couldn’t, so I told myself that it would pass and I was over reacting.

This little darling in the photos above brought me to my knees, and I fought every instinct in me to call out for help. Help I knew would entail being apart from this sweet girl who made me exhausted and frustrated, and yet made my heart ache with such joy and love at the sight of her. When I got to the point when I began crying at the drop of a hat, and those hats began to fall like rain, I caved.

Well, last Friday morning at 7:00 a.m., it began raining hats and I once again called my mom. Juggling my tears as she talked, Rae screamed, drinks spilled, and I see Mae caught in the middle, frustrated with the chaos. I am someone who does not cry if I am sad, but I ball my eyes out if I become frustrated enough. So, naturally, my mom gets an earful of tearful words from her distraught 27 year old daughter. She couldn’t watch them even though I could tell nothing would make her happier. I died.

I was going to get a break one way or the other! I made a list. Its started with my Mother-in-law.

I knew if I thought about it too long I would talk myself out of giving their days to someone else. Zack’s mom said she would take them (that’s kind of a duh thing to say, of course she took them, sometimes she has plans, so it wasn’t a definite expectation). I packed a bag for them, some snacks, and drove up to drop off both halves of my heart.

I came home and cleaned. Zack and I slept in until 7:45 and made breakfast. I ate both of my eggs and all 3 slices of bacon. I drank an entire glass of milk. No one chimed in. No one begged me for my last slice of bacon. No one was there to drink their milk too fast, and ask me for my last sip. It was awful. I had a full belly, but a homesick heart. I sat across from Zack in silence as I ate, and I could tell he was feeling the same way. I glanced up at him, and he said, “This is the worst!”

I had the house (deep ) cleaned by the time Zack went to work at one o’clock. I sat in our big house alone for 8 hours. The worst. Every time I’d go to the kitchen, I’d throw a spoon in the trash on my way back to the living room. The stuff I need a break from was also what I craved when it was no longer there.

Zack asked me what I would do if we somehow won 10 million dollars. My first response was “Puke and pretend we didn’t win 10 million dollars.” My second answer was pay off our house, then adopt a bunch of kids!

When I was younger, I wanted to grow up to be a carpenter, and later a fisherman of some sort, and then in 8th grade, I decided on a photographer and it has stayed there. Now I know I was meant to be a mama. I wouldn’t be nearly as happy doing anything but loving, teaching, holding, and playing with my sweet girls.

Zack and I have ‘baby fever’ baaaad.  I guess it is more of an ‘adoption fever.’  We are so grateful each day that God trusted us with the opportunity to raise our ladies and experience such a love.

We have wondered what we are going to do to celebrate our 10 year anniversary in two years. It has to be something just the two of us, but every time it comes up we agree we can’t go without our kids. Ha! I hope they know how loved they are.