Thursday, December 18, 2014

Will's Construction Birthday Party

Will loves trucks, and backhoes, and bulldozers, and bobcats, really anything that could be remotely related to a construction site, so it seemed fitting to have his 2nd birthday party be a construction theme.

I got the hard hats and truck favors from Oriental Trading Company; the hats were $6 for a dozen and the trucks (that included a cute little notepad, crayons, and stickers inside them) were $11.50 per dozen, and since I only needed 10 total it worked out to be pretty inexpensive. I wrote each child's name on their hat and truck. Will still wears his hat at least once a week almost 3 months later, so for 50 cents I'd call it a good investment.

Our food consisted of kid friendly finger foods, some of which were served out of dump trucks borrowed from a cousin. We had raisins, animal crackers, a veggie tray, fruit, and a cheese and cracker tray along with some lemonade and water. 

And then of course there was also cake. My amazing mother-in-law whipped this cake up for us, and she did a fantastic job. I think she used chocolate graham crackers to make the "dirt", and she just picked up some small construction toys at the store and scattered them around and on the cake. I have to say, my mother-in-law is pretty handy to have around when it comes to parties and such, I think I might keep her.

We also got Will a t-shirt with a track hoe on it for him to wear to the party from Old Navy for $5. 

After everyone got some food we sent the kiddos down into the yard to play for a bit, then after a while everyone else headed down there too for the opening of the presents.

One of my best suggestions when it comes to throwing a successful party for a small child, especially when there will be other small children present too, is to not over plan and keep it as casual as possible. We pulled out every single type of outdoor toy we could come up with for the kids to be able to play with and then just let them all run free in the back yard the whole time. If they wanted to watch Will open presents they could, but there was also plenty of other things to occupy them, so it really cut down on the stress for everyone I think.

There were some presents that brought the kids in for a closer look from their play though. This is a mower that my parents got for Will. He is obsessed with mowing, it would have been a great party theme as well, but I though construction stuff would be a lot easier to come by. He loves watching people mow, and now, mowing with his very own mower. This one even came with a little gas can that attaches on it and a pull string to start it up, just like a real mower. As soon as Jake got it out of the box and put together he was off!

The other present that brought kids out of the woodwork was Will's big present from us. We had given him a few smaller presents on his birthday, just some clothes that we wrapped individually so there would be more packages to open, but we saved our big present for the birthday party. And it was a definite hit.

I found an old, beat up Cozy Coupe for sale for $15, that we (mainly Jake) sanded down and painted. To get the bat symbol on the side Jake just used some frog tape and an exacto knife and freehanded the bat in order to be able to paint the yellow over the black. It's not the perfect Batmobile, I'm sure Morgan Freeman would never approve, but for our little Batman it is the perfect "matman car".

We also threw on the little Batman cape that my (again) amazing mother-in-law made for Will, so Batman was riding in style. 

After Will had a chance to play with the Batmobile and mower for a bit we decided it was time for cake.

Apparently we should have practiced the candle part earlier in the week though, at least we know he listens when we tell him not to play with fire I guess. 

After we sang and cut the cake everyone just hung out, ate cake, and left whenever they felt like it. Will went back to playing with his mower and Batmobile, he couldn't decide which one he wanted to play with more. It was a really laid back party, and I couldn't have been happier with how it turned out. The day was beautiful, the food was great, and the friends and family were, as always, wonderful to see.

Happy Birthday Will!

Friday, December 05, 2014

In a {very small} Nutshell

Okay, so I have been absent for quite a while, and for that I apologize. This whole having two kids thing is time consuming :)

Since there's no way I'm ever going to get everything completely caught up I'm going to do another picture post with the highlights of the last few months, and then hopefully dedicate a couple of posts to the bigger things like Will's birthday party, our mini vacation, etc. So, without further ado, here we go:

July Part 2

The old house had loads of irises, seriously, I have no idea how the previous owner had the time to care for all the flowers, so with the help of my friend Leslie we transplanted a small portion of them to the new house. We dug up all these, and you couldn't even tell we had removed any flowers. For real, there are a ton at that house, and it was always beautiful in the spring.

We hit up the BK for a little ice cream one hot summer night.

One of my oldest and dearest friends got married and moved away, it was happy and sad all at the same time. Miss you Meg!


This blanket has definitely seen better days, but Will loves it regardless.

New pillows for the couch that I got for a steal at Target. They had been returned from an online purchase so they were around 70% off!

 First ever bubble bath.

Oh, you know, just another day mowing the sidewalk.

We got a Kinderpack! Guys, this is like the Rolls Royce of baby carriers; I'm fairly certain that if the Queen baby-wore she would use this. It's absolutely 100% worth the money. Okay, I'll stop myself there before this turns into a baby wearing post.

Someone learned to sit up on his own at only 3 months old!

File this one under "Boys will be boys". 


I love getting to look out the kitchen window and see this. 

Remember the awesome Kinderpack? I traded it for a print I loved even more. 

Our church has done "The Great Day of Service" for 10 years now. It's a day where instead of doing a traditional worship service we go out into the community to help other people. Will helped with some yard work. 

And Jake helped reside the back of a house. 

The day we sold the old house. More to come on that. 

I think that'll be it for today. Hopefully I will post again before another four months has passed.

First House Progress, Volume 2

When we left off last time I has shown our work on the old house in the second bedroom, master bedroom and talked about the rewiring in attic and the need to repaint the closet. Today I thought we'd tackle the living room and kitchen. Here is our list for the living room:

  • Patch fan hole.
  • Patch nail holes, etc. 
  • Fix broken window glass.
  • Repaint. 
Most of the stuff was pretty quick, the fan hole in the living room got patched at the same time as the bedroom, and we went around and filled in all the nail holes in the house at one time as well. The window glass was not broken while we lived there, but got cracked when Jake was putting back the storm windows after painting the window trim outside. The old wooden windows have very thin and brittle glass in them, and so they crack easily when bumped just right.Thankfully a new sheet of glass is not very expensive to pick up and get cut to size at the hardware store.

We wanted to repaint in the living room and kitchen since the bold green color we had in there could potentially turn some buyers off to the house and also to make the house seem brighter since the green could be kind of dark and cold feeling sometimes.

We had actually been planning to repaint the living room/kitchen/hallway before we were even planning to move, but we never got around to it, so we took care of it now. We went with the Olympic color Gray Ghost in a satin finish also, but it was color matched to the Valspar Signature paint. It is a nice greige color that plays nicely with the other colors in the house, which is good considering this color touches every other room in the house.

I have to say that I was very impressed with the coverage of the Valspar, the green is a very bold color to cover over, especially with such a light color, but the Valspar did a great job and only took two coats. *Valspar does not know me from Adam and I was not compensated in any way for saying this, I was just genuinely impressed with the coverage I got over such a dark color. 

Here is a comparison of the two colors next to each other, as you can see, the new color is much brighter and makes the room feel bigger even. 

In the kitchen our list was probably the longest, it was at least the most time consuming. 
  • Make a trim piece to go between kitchen and living room where the wall once was.
  • Put on cabinet handles. 
  • Put up tile back splash.
  • Paint door between back room and kitchen.
  • Repaint. 
  • Change out/redo laminate tile flooring. 
Some of these things were fairly simple, like putting on cabinet handles and making the little trim piece to go between the living room and kitchen. We had bought handles for the cabinets last summer when we were working on kitchen renovations and we had just never gotten around to adding that four inch piece of trim from where we removed the wall almost 6 years ago. If you look carefully at the before picture of the living room and kitchen wall color up above you can see the gap right where the kitchen and living room floors meet.

The tile back splash was another piece that we fully intended to do last summer with the kitchen renovations, we even had all the materials to do it, but we just never got around to it. I have to say though, seeing it now I really wish we would have been able to live with it, because I really love it, and love the way the kitchen is turning out, but hopefully the next owners of the house will love it just as much as I do. My dad actually put up the back splash for us since he's worked with tile more recently, and he is retired and likes to do things like that for his kids. It was a really great help, especially since Jake is working 48 hours a week plus trying to get things finished up on the house. Dad saved him quite a bit of work by doing it for us and we are extremely grateful. It also looks great with the paint color, which I'm very happy about, because even though I held the paint swatch up to the tile to check the colors before getting it, you never know for sure how things are going to actually turn out looking in a space until it's done.

Painting the door between the kitchen and back room and repainting the trim and walls weren't that big of a deal, and we actually painted all but one wall (because all the appliances were on that wall) in the kitchen the same day we painted the living room. And since all the trim in the kitchen was already white there was just a quick fresh coat to be put on to make sure it looked good.

The most time consuming part of the kitchen was by far the floor. Pictures don't do justice to how terrible the floor was in there. It was peel and stick laminate tiles that were so old that they were wearing through and made the entire floor look dingy. I hated that floor while we lived there, because no matter how much you cleaned it it never really looked clean, it always still looked super dirty. We had talked about replacing the floor, either by getting new laminate, putting in tile, or even checking out how the hardwoods looked underneath it for years, but unfortunately a kitchen floor is one of the hardest things to live with while you are trying to work on it, so we never managed to get anything done on it. This is the best picture I have of it before, and trust me, it looks MUCH better in here than it did in reality.

Jake peeled up all the tile, and underneath were the hardwoods that we knew would be there, but were uncertain of the shape they would be in. They looked pretty good overall, except that they were covered in a black glue residue from the laminate tile that had been put down over them. Jake used goo gone and some steel wool to clean the floors up as well as possible and then put a quick coat of stain over the top of it all to make the color more unified. Then he just put down several coats of polyurethane to make the floors more durable. The difference in the old nasty laminate and the new, shiny hardwoods was like night and day. I have to admit I'm super jealous of the kitchen that I will never get to use and enjoy, but hopefully the new owners of the house will appreciate it just as much.

That covers the changes to the kitchen and living room, which were some of the most drastic changes that we did to the house, now there are just some changes to the bathroom, hallway, and outside that we need to cover, then we'll be able to show the house in its entirety.