Archive for August, 2014

The garage. An extension of our house that did not feel like us. If you know us, we kind of go crazy with things and like to make it fun. No, we did not go with polka dots like our last house. 😉

But we did want a change.

Here is what the garage looked like in March before we moved in. It actually doesn’t look too bad here. I wish you could really feel the grime. Okay, so maybe not. But trust me. It was buggy, dirty, and full of cobweb grossness. The previous owners left all of the back shelving that you see. We washed all of those and moved those to the barn for extra storage there. The wood edge of the floor (which I did not get a picture of) was not pretty. We ripped up the stuff that was peeling and housing many bugs.

We cleared away some of the clutter and moving out that shelving helped to make the space feel larger.


Trim, fridge, deep freeze and other items were moved outside for several days.
The walls were also pretty messed up and peeling. We didn’t spend much time with it, but puttied and sanded the walls a bit. Tater used his commercial sprayer to paint the ceiling and wood base that is by the floor.A before picture:After: We painted window trim, doors, ceiling and floor. This picture was taken after the painting was complete. We still have a final paint coat to do on the closet and house entrance doors.Next up: Tater had plans to make the area more user friendly. It gets messy out here. The kids touch animals and step in mud poop. Since we want to keep our inside of our home as clean as possible, he decided on a sink in the garage to help the kids clean up before even entering the house. We have used this sink so much already! Tater asked the family if he could use the sink that they used for canning when growing up. So it has lots of memories coming with it already. Here they are cleaning it up before installation.Remember our beverage center that was there when we first moved in?
The garage wall is on the other side of this. So when this beverage center was ripped out, Tater moved the water lines to go to the garage instead. Making it possible to give us this nice sink set up!
He had to work on cleaning off and making the faucet part leak free, but his hard work paid off. A closer look:

He added a paper towel holder for me. A spigot to attach our hose to. And he ran water tubing up and over to the fridge so we can get ice and water out of it during the hot summer months. 🙂We moved everything back in and are enjoying our cleaner feeling garage!

Other house updates:

* We ended up draining our hot tub. 🙁 The heating elements were broke, and we do not want to invest the time or money into figuring that out right now. When we went to use it, it was either 70 degrees or 119 degrees so we didn’t really use it yet. Our electric bill has been significantly higher these past few months and this was one thing we could do to help lower that. Hopefully this coming winter doesn’t undo the broken pipe parts we just fixed!

* Bye Bye stumps. We took them to ground level and will maybe grind the remains next spring.

* Grass seed has been planted. Here is to hoping it will grow! It looks like the chickens are eating all the seed. It took awhile to pick up the sticks and make the dirt ready. Thanks to our awesome neighbors for letting us borrow their tractor to get the ground ready!


* We worked a bit more on the basement. Hung remaining doors, put together the crib, and finished hanging remaining picture frames, etc. in the kids play areas.

– baby area –

– ballet area –

– family area –

– craft/school area –

– play/game area –

* We had another leak in the basement yesterday which meant for more water clean-up and another thing to fix. Thankfully it didn’t damage too much stuff.

* Almost September! Which means trim starts. First room: Bathroom. Our vanity has not been hooked up yet due to waiting on the trim. We have been getting used to washing our hands in the bathtub, but how exciting and nice it will be to have working bathroom sinks!


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Just being goofy. Hanging on me like they do everyday. 😉

More silliness. Crossing the eyes is always bound to get sisters to laugh.Love how the littles admire the older ones. Praying their friendship lasts a lifetime.

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While journaling our house story, we don’t want to forget the little projects that helped make our house more of a home to us. We can hopefully say that we are finishing up our yucky jobs. We had previously pulled the tile off of our kitchen window ledge. It left the nasty glue that needed to be scraped off.

Cleaned off. Better.Puttied and painted white. Even better.

We decided that we are going to start the trim in our house this September. We will focus on one room a month and hopefully be done by May. A long but realistic and good goal.

We continued to hang curtains.

We also got some shelving hung. First the laundry room.Then the kitchen. Remember when we got rid of the cabinets (HERE) and wanted to do open shelving?  We didn’t want to buy cheap shelves for the kitchen, since we plan to use these shelves daily with our everyday dishes. We decided to reuse some extra shelves left over from the office. Tater put 2 shelves together, made some end pieces, and hung them securely.

I sanded them down and gave them several coats of paint. The finished look.

AFTER:

July 4th was our goal date for opening our pool. After feeling like we spent thousands in chemicals, we finally got the water to where we wanted it to be and made the date. Which made that first swimming date even more special! That day we cleaned out the pool closet from all the previous owners items and organized it how we wanted it to be.

Finally enjoying the pool!
A new and better working barn door was installed thanks to a very special person.
BEFORE:AFTER:
We finished painting the second half of the basement. This is where the future studio will be.And turned the dreary, dark storage room into something nicer. This storage room looked very different from when we first moved in. The conversation pit floor (HERE) lowered into this area. Making it a space where you couldn’t even stand up. Now we are able to walk in and have plenty of space.
BEFORE:
This picture was taken after the ceiling was moved up and before we painted the ceiling, walls, floor, and shelving.
AFTER:
New kitties arrived thanks to some sharing friends. Meet Tiger and Sierra.
A chalkboard square was painted in our kitchen to use for messages or memorizing our weekly Bible verse.
AFTER:

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This summer we worked on tearing out a lot of our landscaping. It was overgrown, and we had at least 7-10 dead trees in our yard. This is what it looked like when looking at our house. It couldn’t even be seen. Here are some before and afters. Still a lot to do in making our landscaping pretty, but we love being able to see out!

Front of house BEFORE:

AFTER:

We trimmed up some side trees and hauled the branches to the burn pile. I would go to bed at night dreaming of picking up limbs and branches. We had it burning for at least a good week. Many trips were made out to the pile.

BEFORE:

AFTER:
The kids were troopers in helping us pick up sticks and loved the ride back.Excited to get rid of the overgrowth.
View looking out – BEFORE:
AFTER:

BEFORE (in process):AFTER:

Working on cutting down one of the dead trees. This one still needs to be cut down completely. Removed low tree limbs and got rid of planter by door that was housing wasps and ants.
Landon knocking out the planter box
More limbs coming down:

AFTER: Planter box gone. Still need to add railing.

Apple tree getting a few low branches taken down so we can mow without getting hit.

The work has continued for several months and still continues…We started getting a nice wood pile going.We had amazing help drop by and give us a hand.
Tater’s boss, Dr. Kolb, and his son.
Dad Kieser ran the Bobcat for several days.
Tater and Landon taking a turn.

Cleaning up behind the barn from previous owners.
BEFORE:
AFTER:
Side of house. We had a pine tree leaning close to the house that was blocking our view. Down with it, we say!
BEFORE:
AFTER:
You can see the stumps we still have to remove of the dead trees we chopped down. There are at least 7. We also need to add shutters to the window that we added on that end of the house. We plan to paint the shutters as well and add grass seed to many of the dirt areas until we can decide on long term landscaping.
In this picture you can see the dead trees that we removed. Mound near pool. The mound is to the right in the above photo. To keep or not to keep. Keeping it would add privacy and a wind block. Getting rid of it would make for extra play and usable space. Can you guess what we decided? 😉
BEFORE:
AFTER:
Dad Kieser found us a playset to add to our yard. Such a bonus. We love it!
Notice the burn pile waiting for us to burn again. Tater just trimmed the back fence line so that I could mow closer to the fence without decapitating myself. He is now suffering from poison ivy. 🙁

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Three of our children have summer birthdays. It’s tradition to do a yearly photo shoots with them. I had totally forgotten about it until the first birthday was almost here. Tater’s parents gave the girls dresses for their birthday presents. How could we not use these beautiful Dollcake dresses for it?!? First up… Our youngest. She’s Four!!


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Every day is something new. I wake up excited wondering what each day will hold. The nearby neighbors wanting to play, friends over to the pool, working on projects together as a family… It has been a great and beautiful summer, and I don’t want it to end!

Springtime was not like that. It was crazy hard time as you read from the last post. I felt completely out of control. I woke up on those mornings afraid of what would happen that day or go wrong. It felt like something was always not working: no internet, air conditioner problems, the pool cover, our old security system, bug issues, our water system, and so on. And for those of you who don’t know me, I like to be organized and feel like I have a handle on life. Well during this time… it was not happening. God was teaching me to rely more on Him.

One morning I went down to finish working on one of our storage rooms in the basement. I freaked out when I saw this raccoon staring at me.

I pounded on the window hoping it would go away. I felt kind of creeped out while it was staring at me watching me work. When it didn’t move, I finally realized that it was momma with her baby. So they lived there for the next several weeks. I tried to stay out of that room or at least be ready to say hi to my new friend.

A few days later I go down to the basement to see this:

My mind tries to make sense of it all. Was it blood? Did the raccoon enter our house and make a bloody mess?!?  haha. None of it made sense to me, but I went to go look to see what it was all about since it was everywhere. It had gone underneath this wall, into the bathroom, and under the stairs. 

It was a mess. It was in our paint supplies. And did I mention that I had painted this floor the night before!?! I figured out that it was coming from our water system, and with a not so happy and tearful heart, I cleaned it up. The floor and trim has yet to be repainted.

On another night, Tater came in from the barn. He looked a little, okay, a lot grossed out. He said he found a 4 foot snake out by the chickens, and he needed my help to get it. It had fallen from above him by the barn gate and was now hanging there.  Shiver. Out with flashlights we went. We tried to keep the kids away and think of our nearest tools to use as weapons. We are not huge fans of snakes, and this one was not your typical garden snake. It was big. Tater was able to knock it down with a shovel and had it pressed hard against the ground. He told me to find a knife to cut the head off.  Um what… come again? The closest and fastest thing I could find were some type of large pruning shears, and so with that I cut the head off. I’ll spare you the nasty gross blood covered picture we took. We spent the next several weeks cleaning out our barn. We’ve been finding all kinds of animal friends as we go.

I have some friends that let their kids run around the house several times if they need to burn off energy. Brilliant. My kids were acting obnoxious one day, so we all took a run in the pasture. As I was running around our 3rd born stopped by the barn to admire the chickens. She ran halfway out to the pasture to yell to me that she had found a mouse. I was far enough behind her that by the time I got back to the barn, I heard her scream and saw the mouse hanging from her fingers as she was trying to throw her arms about to shake it off. The mouse finally lost its grip. I asked her what she was doing, and she said she just wanted to pet it…. So, she picked it up. She obviously doesn’t take after me. I ended up beating that thing with a shovel.

With nicer weather, we worked a lot outside. The old rotten wood was removed to help fix the pool cover issue.Tater hauled in city water and worked on the hot tub. Hot tub is working!…

Oh wait. No, it wasn’t working. When we went to fill it with water, we found a leak. So it was a kiddie pool for the morning. The kids didn’t want to come in for lunch afraid that all the water would be gone when they returned, so we had a late lunch when the water had finished draining out. Tater was able to find new pipe pieces and fix the problem. We hope to be using it more now!

Another sad day came (this summer) when we noticed our dog, Lucy, not acting quite right. She was having troubles walking and wasn’t eating well. After a few days of care, she passed away. We are so thankful to the Stork family for sharing her with us.

We had a little service for her. Walking out to the gravesite.We were so blessed to have Kyler there with us. He is Lucy’s original owner. He helped the kids make crosses and created a beautiful place for Lucy to rest.

Each child painted their initials on a brick. The Stork family completed the circle with their initialed bricks.

Through all the work and craziness, we began dreaming of what our summer nights would be. I remember a certain night thinking that our fun summer days were near. Even though we had cloudy pool water, our pool cover was now working and we were in the process of working on clearing up our pool water. We grilled out – taking in our surroundings – and thinking back, we were so thankful for how far we had come.

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