Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mi Casa, Otra Vez . . .

Hey everybody!  Still not really feeling in a very bloggy mood, not sure why.  But this is something I've been meaning to post.  Plus it's been awhile since I did a house related entry/pics, which is crazy since it was so all consuming for a few months there.  :)  I took a lot of these "project pictures" awhile ago, and never posted them (that's why there's snow in a lot of them).  It's just the little things I've been slowly, slowly working on since we moved in.  And it's crazy how happy each little project makes me . . . and what a big difference it makes in the room . . . to me.  'Cause really, ask Ethan what he thinks, and he probably wouldn't even notice anything has changed.  Except for the fact that I made him help me with a few of them.  hehe.  Boys.  But what a sweetie for helping, even though I know he does not care. 

 I was going to do before and afters again, but decided to keep it simple.  The first pic I put on here of the "after" living room has these two stools in them, dark brown and paint splattered (because we used them as stools for all the painting we did before we moved in).  Someone gave them to us when we got married.  They are very useful to have there with shoes on and off all the time - especially in winter - but they weren't too pretty.  Well, I painted them ultra white, and LOVE how they look now.  The second pic kind of shows the "entry way" I've tried to make despite the fact that we don't have an official one.  I may add more hooks on the other wall, or get another small piece of furniture to make it more functional.  Although this pic doesn't show it, we do have a small closet immediately upon entering and some other space I could add stuff at the start of the hallway.  Anyway, yay for ultra white paint! 

 Now on to the desk area.  The first pic I put up of this, my "after" on the living room blog entry, showed the desk with no white runner, and a different frame and maroon matting on the pic above.  I had considered painting the desk white since it's a little beat up, but I'm so glad I didn't.  I think the white runner adds a nice balance while allowing to keep the desk as original as possible (it was Ethan's Grand Bobby's after all).  I also like the darker wood color on the frame and that it now has white matting (only $4 at Micheal's with a coupon I had!), but I think a slightly larger frame would look good there.  Some day.  I do love my "Jones Inn" picture.  It reminds my dad of the Putnam farm.  Oh, and I love the pic on the desk of Ethan and the three munchkins the day he graduated from his DPT program, robes and all.  :)

The piano "nook" is across from the desk area.  Again, my first pictures of this room show the set up better.  I knew from the first time looking through the house that I'd love to do a big frame wall, or gallery wall in this spot.  I already had lots of different frames given to me, already had, or from good will or garage sales.  I got a few more, and then just nailed them up like I wanted them.  The first pic of this room I put up, 6 entries ago ?, shows nothing behind the piano.  So, I had to include what it looked like once I put up all the frames I wanted to use.  Some people told me they liked it like that, all the different colors.  I just thought it looked too busy.  Plus, since all the frames were free/used/cheap I didn't feel bad painting over them with neutral, light grey color.  Notre Dame, I believe, from Valspar.  And since paint is so cheap this whole wall barely cost anything!  I loved how it turned out.  Some of the things on the frame wall were given to us by people we love, some are photos I love - which will always be changing, two pictures are of significant temples to our family located near the extended family picture - DC temple where my parents had all their initial work/sealings done after they were baptized in the 70s and before the Chicago temple was built, and Idaho Falls Temple where Ethan's parents were sealed after they joined the church.  A couple of the things up there aren't necessarily significant, although I like the way it looks, but are more place holders for when something more meaningful comes along.  But I assume this wall will be changing here and there forever.  :)  Love it.     

 Oh, quick photo of the fire place.  We were going to re-tile it, but then decided to just paint the tiles that were already there - the same grey we used on the frames.  I didn't like that it was just empty in there, so I added three baskets to hold toys and books (two I already had) and love the way it looks.  And because it's so functional.  I had wanted to have a whole bunch of cool candle stick/holders in there, but this is what makes more sense right now.  We'll do the candle thing when the kiddos are a little older.  :)   Oh, and in addition to the grey on the frames and the fireplace, I want to find one other place in the living room to add grey.  We'll see. 

 Okay, so you'd have to go back a few posts to see the before for these pictures, but I mainly just painted a whole bunch of things ultra white in our bedroom.  The little book shelf was tan, and the other little side table was black, now a beautiful, crisp white.  I also changed what was on top of them a little . . . a "his and hers" side of the bed.  (Ethan's has a three generational pic on it :). 

 These frames were also all different colors, and I painted them all ultra white, and changed what was in a few of them.  The one with all the babies are all three on their blessing day, and then a pic of them in their latest Easter attire . . . but will eventually be their baptism day.  (Only a year and a half for Anna !!!!  Crazy!)  It also has some of my favorite wedding pics, and a beautiful quote about marriage - from Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley -  that my mission president gave us when we got married.  Oh, and the favorite picture I've found of the Chicago Temple where we were married, and "the girls" and "the boys."  Love my mini frame wall in our bedroom.  It's a very happy, peaceful room.  Love.     

 This is to quickly show that, again, painted two of these frames ultra white, and added the pictures I wanted in them - including the five generations. 

Last but not least - this wasn't so much of a project as a purchase.  hehe.  But I love the way it looks in my kitchen.  It's the cute, white tea pot.  (12.99 at  I always keep it on my stove, so it's decoration and it's useful.  I occasionally like to enjoy a warm, spicy tea.  But mostly we've used this for boiling water for hot chocolate.  It's a lot easier than doing it cup by cup in the microwave, or a big pot and ladling it out.  Yes, this is a splurge I am very happy with.  It was nice that most of my kitchen stuff was already white or black, except hand towels and dish clothes, but it's been fun to add a few more.  I can't wait to add a white beadboard back splash,and new hardware for the cabinets, and make a big, framed chalk board or magnetic board on the relatively empty wall by the fridge.  Aaaaand I can't wait for the fridge to die so we can get a black one.  :)  Not really, who has money for that . . . but the cream fridge really detracts from my black and white thing I have going on in there.  hehe.  (I'd love new couter tops too . . . but let's not get carried away here, people. )  Anyway, back to the tea pot.  It's kind of embarrassing how happy it makes me still.  

Next on the list is to get the roof/basement stairway issues fixed up.  It's really important, but it's just not as fun or exciting an outcome as this other stuff.  But, it will be a relief to get it taken care of, 'cause a leaky roof is just not fun . . . even if it only leaks into the stairway to the basement, and even if it only leaks when the snow melts . . . it's stressful.  I'm just so thankful for the friend we have who is so knowledgeable about all this stuff, and has such reasonable rates!  And is willing to explain exactly how to do some stuff, so we can attempt it ourselves and save money (like sanding the floors, among other things).  Seriously, what a blessing!  (In contrast to that - Lowe's came and did an estimate to fence off just along the back of our property, since both neighbors already have fenced yards - $1400?!?!?  Crazy.  And for an ungly chain-link fence too!  Needless to say, we're not going to do it.  Luckily my kiddos are pretty good at listening to the yard boundaries and rules.  :)

 So, we're going to have Jon do that roof/stairway stuff for us, and then Ethan and I plan to focus on the back yard ourselves.  Cut down a couple of the smallish trees to open the yard up, prune back some branches on others, rip out some plants/bushes, maybe a couple big potted plants on the deck, get my parent's fire pit they don't want and burn the wood from the trees - preferably while roasting marshmallows, :) put in stones for a retaining wall, put up the swing set the kiddos got for Christmas in the back corner of the yard, buy a mower, use the mower, etc.  Lots of projects still.  I'm kind of tired out just writing about all of them.  hehe.        

*My first born son is turning four next week - crazy! - so look forward to a post about my Ben-ben.  Man I love that boy. 

*PS.  Congrats to Meghan and Jake on the birth of Noa Olivia on March 20th.  Yay for a new niece!!!    

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


For once, the UP actually has spring weather on the first day of spring!  The weather has been crazy!  Record setting.  Too warm for March.  In the 80's people!  I hate the gross, wet, muddy mess of spring, so I'm glad everything melted quickly because of the weather.  But I don't live in the UP to feel hot in March!  I hope this is some weird fluke, and we aren't going to have a super scorching summer, but it's been a little bit fun too.  I mean, we even went to wade around in Lake Superior yesterday!  (Caleb loved it, by the way.  Wish I got pictures. :)  
The pics above are of the duck pond that is in the cemetery behind our house, and the bottom two are our back yard a week ago (all the snow's gone now).  First picnic at the new house!!!

Silly Cabers was obsessed with these glasses the kids got at a birthday party.  :)  They suit him.  hehe.

I hosted the LaJoice ladies lunch this month.  Sweet Lilly Jean was as snuggly as ever. 

KC and her date stopped by on Saturday on their way to Twirp (formal dance at the high school).  Anna was just amazed at how fancy her Aunti was.  :)  Ben-Ben got super shy, I think mainly from KC's date who he didn't know.  When we asked if he wanted a picture with his Auntie too, he came out from behind the chair and said, "No." and then pointed to Grampa Chuck.  So they had a little photo shoot.  hehe.

We had the grandparents over for a St. Patrick's day feast.  (Well, Melissa is out of town, but the other three).  Corned beef and cabbage, green sides, and green frosted and sprinkled cupcakes for dessert.  Yummo!  Oh, and we had Irish music playing too, a group called Gaelic Storm.  Our Irish ancestors would be proud.  :)  The beautiful bouquet is from my Gramma LaJoice, when she came for the ladies lunch.  Sweet.

Here's Caleb J throwing a little tantrum.  I don't know why this makes me crack up.  He just gets so upset sometimes (not often, which is probably why I can laugh about it), and I just wish he had the words to tell me what's bothering him. 

Ok.  So Ben-Ben has been obsessed with super heroes lately.  OBSESSED!  How does that happen?  When did he learn about them?  Is it just an inborn thing for most boys, to be drawn to that?  Anyway, this also cracks me up.  His current faves are Spider Man and Captain America.  This is him doing an impression of one of them.  Fierce!  :) 

Final pics - Caleb's baby hair, before it was cut off by my mother.  Cute, wispy, with a few curls along the bottom.  Gone now.  All gone.  He is still a pretty adorable kid, and hopefully it'll grow back.  hehe. 

Hmmm, other things on my mind? 
  • Our yard isn't humongous (although pretty big for an in town house), but I'm already dreading all the raking/pruning/etc.  And all of our neighbors seem to be super meticulous lawn people.  Ethan and I will have to improve in this area.  We'll also have to get a lawn mower.  I do plan to start ripping out all the flower beds except the little one right behind our front path.  I mean, when does a mother of three have time for all that weeding and care?!  Maybe when all the kids are a little older and they can help. 
  • I have been in a rut with cooking.  Or not cooking, really.  I just can't find my groove.  It seems like too much work . . . especially because by the time dinner has rolled around I've already prepared two meals (simple ones, but still) and a couple snacks AND cleaned up from them too.  Who wants to go for round three at 5pm??  Not me.  Anyone else have this same problem?   Anything work for you?  I feel like I need to do more slow cooker stuff, and I have a whole cookbook just for slow cookers, but so far, I only manage to do that every so often.  And I'm not saying we eat out all the time - we definitely try to keep that to a minimum.  We just eat really, really simple things for dinner.  :)   
  • Anna had a sleep over at my parent's house last Friday night.  It was so special for her.  My mom took her to see a musical, and when she woke up early on Saturday morning, my dad made breakfast for her.  I love that my kids live close to so many family members right now (which is exactly why we were hoping to stay in Marquette).  Anna's Auntie KC gets her on the bus most days she has school, which is special for her, and SO helpful for me.  If I have a Dr's appointment or something, I have no worries in finding a babysitter.  The kiddos get to have special outtings with their grandparents, often one-on-one (especially now that my dad's retired :).  It's nice for the help and the babysitting, especially while we're in this phase of three young kids, but it's more than that too.  Having our moms, dads, brothers, sisters, cousins, grandparents, etc. be a regular part of our lives and our children's lives is something we love.   (And of course we very much miss the family that we don't live near right now too!)     
  • We've been making some new friends.  It sounds silly or unimportant, but with the before mentioned family in the area (and the same church family we've known forever, and friends we've known in the area from forever too), we kind of have to make a conscious effort to make new friends, be more outgoing, invite new people over, etc.  Is this making any sense?  Well, anyway, yay for new friends!  :)       
I think I'll end it here.  I haven't really been in the mood to journal/blog lately, or take many pictures.  I know, CRAZY for me.  Hopefully I'll snap out of it.  Oh wait!  One last thing - we should be getting a new niece sometime today or tomorrow.  Yay for babies!!!  Good luck Meghan!!!!!!!  :)