Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Our House is...a Mess. :)

I'm trying not to lament the fact that Eric and I are supposed to be on a plane to California right now and we're totally not. We had planned a trip for a long time to visit Mickey Mouse, Ronald Reagan, and Richard Nixon this week...but alas, we ultimately decided there was just too much going on right now for us to up and leave the premises. Gosh darn it! So long, California adventure. I'd like to say that we will reschedule when life dies down a little bit, but I'm having a baby in August, so good luck with that one. It will probably be another year before we can consider going, haha.

But it's cool. It's cool. Doing the adult thing, you know. And it's all for the house cause. Gotta watch our time and our budget at the moment! That is, of course, what we're chatting about today. House updates!

When we walked into the house this weekend, I was a little surprised by the upheaval! I mean...I don't know what I was expecting...but it is definitely no longer a kid-friendly zone. There are power tools, boards and ladders and screws laying around e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. I quickly learned that an exposed electrical outlet is much more tempting to little fingers than a regular one. There isn't a single door on it's hinges (including bathroom doors, so good luck there!) I knew that the wallpaper removal and trim paint were being started last week, but I didn't think through how much prep that would require!

No more stripes!

Many of the downstairs rooms are already looking so much fresher without the wallpaper everywhere. In our living room the entire back wall behind the fireplace was wallpaper. Now I can picture it much better with our paint color.

The two-story stripes are long gone, and I can't wait until there is some color up on those walls!

Reagan's bedroom used to have a Cardinals border and BRIGHT red paint on the bottom. Now you would never know....

Back downstairs the powder room is being prepped for paint, and there is no longer a grapevine border in the breakfast area or above the kitchen cabinets.

Here we have Charlotte climbing on some doors in the master bedroom....

I like to use this blog to show off my awesome parenting skills. Truly, you'd never see it in pictures but the loose screws here there and everywhere have to be the worst part of bringing a baby along, haha. Think we might have to arrange some babysitting in the future! This was just about the only "safe" place  I could plop my kid down.

On top of our tub of winter coats. 

Aside from checking the progress, there are usually a couple of small things we try to accomplish ourselves on the weekends. This week's mission was to remove some kitchen cabinets that we are not fans of...at all. Eric's dad came over to help get the obtrusive things out of our way. 

Normally getting rid of cabinet space would make me cringe, but I'm not sad to see these things go! They weren't super practical anyway, as they were really shallow. I'm not even sure you could fit a full size dinner plate inside. And we'll be replacing these with another cabinet along the wall eventually, so I'll get a little bit of the storage back. Mostly I'm happy for an unobstructed view between the kitchen and the living room.

So much better! Now we can stand on either side of the counter and not be talking to headless humans. We had toured other homes with the exact same floor plan as ours, and we already knew we preferred the ones without the cabinets there. Now there's a nice empty space on the wall for a new cabinet to go. And those cabinets will not go to waste...we're going to reinstall them in the laundry room. The plan is to eventually add lighting above the countertop where the cabinets once were.

Yes, the place is a mess, and it's only going to get messier. Every cabinet and vanity in the house is being stained. The master bath is getting an overhaul, and there will be some tile work in there as well. This is all in phase one of the remodeling process. Phase two will come next spring, when we'll redo the floors, countertops, add some trim work, install french doors...there will still be plenty to do. You all know how conservative we are with our finances, so we have to let the budget breath a little bit to stay within our comfort zone, haha.

We are SO thankful for our contractor Mario. He works alone and did so much work for us in just 2.5 days last week. Every time we throw something new and unexpected at him (isn't that how remodel projects always go?) he is totally game. When Eric saw the nice new white trim next to all of our interior doors he decided all of the doors needed new paint to match, too. So we texted Mario, he shot us a price, and that's that. We've only done that about half a dozen times so far. Eric, have we told him we want the banisters stained yet? Haha.

Some of our children are getting a little tired of spending so much time at the home improvement store. When we pulled up this weekend Reagan said, "Not here!" Haha. This was round one of paint pick up last week...we stopped this weekend and got twelve more gallons. If you are looking into doing a paint project of your own, The Home Depot is currently offering a $10 rebate per gallon - good through May 30. It just so happened that this sale started on the day we needed to start buying paint...woohoo! We're not done with our paint purchasing yet - those doors you know. Sheesh! 

And that is the story of why I am not currently in sunny California, checking out the libraries of deceased presidents and whooping it up on the teacups with a dole whip float. It's because our every last free moment and penny can be found at the bottom of a paint can. :) 

Thanks so much for following along with our house project. I'm sure some day I'll be glad to be able to look back on the progress...but for now, it's a mess!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Evie's Last Day - So long, RBES!

Today we're marking another Robert child's last day of school!

It's Evelyn's final day as a first grader, and when she takes her last step out of the building this afternoon we will no longer have any students at RBES. Boy it's a good thing grandma Joan took Evie to school this morning.  I probably would have had to pull over on the way home or something. :) Our kids have been so blessed to be able to go to school here.

It's the only school Eric and I ever knew as elementary students. It's the only school our children have known. And it's a really special place. One of a dying breed. A public school that still truly puts students first, that is accepting of all people and ideas - in fact, we have been thanked for Evie's faith. A place where my kids see teachers and staff that they know and are close to even outside of school...like their Sunday School teachers and even their own grandma. This is a situation that we will never be able to duplicate. So...it's definitely a sad goodbye!

But Evelyn was excited and full of energy this morning!

She wasn't prompted to make all of those faces...that's our Evelyn. Resident bubbly girl and goofball!

Evie's favorite thing about first grade was "Everything!" And she's most looking forward to "more subtraction" in second grade. Haha. I know that she's worried about missing her friends when we move and has asked multiple times if we can come back as visitors sometime. I think we could probably make that happen. :)

Tomorrow we all look forward to SLEEPING IN. Yay summer vacation! If there's one thing I'm looking forward to with a new school, it's a new schedule. Next year the girls' school day doesn't start until 9:00am. Hallelujah. I will take the extra half hour of sleep or so every day.

The obligatory first day/last day pictures. :)

Evelyn was all sunblocked up and ready for field day. I hope all of the kids have such a fun day. :)

In about 4-5 hours we will have a second grader in our family. Life just keeps chugging along like a freight train!

We were able to go to the house this weekend, and there have definitely been some changes since the last time we checked in! Mario, our contractor, was busy busy busy last week. In three days our house has been completely de-wallpapered, prepped for paint, and the trim work is already almost done. I think you'll be hearing a lot more about Mario in the coming days...he's kind of awesome. But more about that tomorrow!

Happy last day of school to us!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Kids Take Over the House

We spent a very long afternoon at the new house this weekend taking measurements, testing paint colors, but most importantly letting the kids see our home for the first time and letting them run around like crazy people.

Today's post is of few words. I think I'll let the kids do most of the talking on this one. :) I would still like to do a more formal house tour sometime, where I can explain all of the things we plan to do to the space to make it our own. But in today's vlog you will pretty much see most of the house as the kids walk you through...well more like run you through it! Eric had a meeting with our contractor this morning and he's getting started today. Hooray! I assume he'll start with peeling wallpaper, so by the next time I get a chance to visit the house it will already look a little different!

Looking forward to the next month! I'm usually only able to make it to the house on the weekends, so from now until move in there will probably be something new to see every time. If you are interested in keeping up with the progress I will try to post at least weekly updates here! 

Thank you so much for all of the kind words and encouragement! As you know this is our very first home, and we are trying to enjoy the process even though it can be overwhelming, haha. Walking through the store the other day we couldn't help but say "Thank goodness we're not building a house!" Though I'm not sure we're making far fewer choices anyway. :) And thank goodness Eric and I have similar tastes...I can't imagine doing all of this and having to debate about everything. With a crazy schedule we've had to be pretty flexible. Last night we were picking tiles while miles apart via pictures and text message, haha. Can't wait to share it all with you! 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Gracie Says Goodbye!

!yadseuT yppaH !sdneirf teews ,ereht olleh lleW

^ That's me in rewind mode, cause we're backing it all the way up to last Thursday and beyond today!  I haven't been able to sit down and blog, but there is no way I can pass up documenting some of our last few days.

So Gracie. She is done with preschool, for now and forever. I am fine with first things. I don't get super choked up when it comes to new. But you all know me and seeing things come to end. I can't handle it. I think I can. And then I can't. Totally fine one minute, then it hits me that we're NEVER going to do something EVER AGAIN, and I'm done. So it was on last Thursday when I dropped Gracie off for her last day....

Grace was excited for beach day, wearing her flamingo swimsuit under her tie-dye and reveling in the one and only day that she could wear flip flops to school.

My darling daughter was too busy dreaming about pretend flights on airplanes and playing in sand to fully take in and realize the meaning of this day...the fact that it was the last time she would see most of these friends, the last time she would have the teachers she has known for the last two years, the last time she would ever be a student at this school. (That or she's five and doesn't really get it, but you know, haha.) But I realized all of these things. Boohoo!

It's not just any last day of school when you know you are moving away. It was a really final and true last. I walked Grace up the sidewalk in the rain, got in the car, pulled away, and that's when it came. Holy moly. Whimpered like a little baby the whole way home.

Grace had a great day! When I picked her up she said, "I am so full!" Haha. They had lunch and then a little later a snack of hot dog squids, cheese puffs, pretzels, and juice (or so she tells me!) Gracie got to share her beach towel with one of her best pals, Isabella.

Did she get to tell Isabella goodbye? I don't know. She may never see Isabella again. I don't even know who Isabella's parents are. Like seriously, I can't think about this. It's only preschool, Adrien, pull it together. I'm going to be that mom at graduations, I'll tell you what.

And speaking of graduations, that evening Gracie had her pre-k graduation ceremony to seal the deal once and for all. Many of the graduates were in a different class than Grace this year (we stayed with the afternoon group - this mama doesn't do mornings well, haha) so it was fun for her to get to see some old friends again.

The apple dress lives to see another day. Both Evie and Grace have worn this dress on their first and last days of preschool. And even though it's been two years since Grace wore it last, and even though Grace and Evelyn are vastly different builds...it always fits! It's like a magic dress. It's like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants dress. I'm saving it for Charlotte. :)

The evening is always a cute affair with singing and diploma getting. Then of course, cookies and punch...which...I mean, that's a pretty good part, too. :)

Of course I caught some of it on video, and yes, there is another vlog today because those are my favorite. There's a whole bunch of random footage, so you're welcome. I didn't say I was good at vlogging, just that I like it.

Gracie calls herself a kindergartner now, and that she is. She made her dad download abcmouse.com so she can be all studied up over the summer, haha.

While I could sit here and blubber all day, time marches on and we're already moving on to what's next! The kids were able to take a trip with us to see the new house this weekend, and they didn't want to leave. I think Reagan might be a little confused over the whole situation, and when he realized later in the evening that we weren't already staying at the new house forever he was pretty bummed out, haha. They are so ready! And we'll share some more about that tomorrow.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Officially Homeowners!

It seems that often when our family has some sort of momentous occasion that the skies open up and bless us with a glorious rain. On our wedding night there was a huge storm with high winds that picked up my parent's trampoline and blew it over their fence and into the nearby school. It rained the morning we were on the Dave Ramsey show...it has been a downpour every single time we've arrived on vacation...and yesterday as we were getting ready to leave to close on our first home, we were blessed with a full on bucket dump. A superstitious person might say we are extremely lucky. I say it's a royal pain in the behind. :)

But we made it! Just in time for our closing yesterday morning. Signed our life away the million papers. Got our keys, and the sun decided to come out right as we were arriving at the house.

Miss Charlotte came with us yesterday and crawled herself silly around the empty place. We had a couple of appointments at the house to meet with some contractors, so I don't have any sort of official tour to give you today. Eventually I will show you all around. :) But I did snap a few pictures of Charlotte being silly, and you can kind of see a little bit of the space in those, haha.

I affectionally refer to our home as the "Home Alone" house at the moment because of all of the rad wallpaper everywhere. Here's Charlotte checking out the stripes in the hallway...and here's how she feels about them....


It was hard to keep the little stinker pinned down yesterday.

She army crawled through the office...

...and she loved the stairs. (Oh brother!)

Charlotte really likes her new room. She was pretty obsessed with the ceiling fan in there. 

But mostly she loves the carpet everywhere. She kept stopping and rubbing her head on it, haha.

There are a lot of big and little projects we have ahead of us. We are finding ourselves having to prioritize things we would like to do now, things we can wait to cash-flow and budget for over the next few months, and things we will be waiting to do until next Spring. To give you an idea...Eric walked around yesterday and counted every single light fixture...every single electrical outlet...every single doorknob. Haha. It's all being replaced.

I'm very curious about the quotes we will be getting back from the contractors over the next few days! The less we have to do ourselves the better. I actually don't mind painting and stuff like that, but...I'm pregnant. And it's a big job. And we currently live over an hour away, so finding time to do it all is a challenge. So as much as I would love to peel wallpaper, someone else can have the honor...it's fine. ;)

Our hope is to finally get the rest of the kids here this weekend to see the place. They have been waiting patiently! I loved moving when I was a kid, and none of our own kids remember living anywhere but where we are now. It will be a big change for them!

So are you ready for a little change of scenery around here? I sure am! :) I can't wait for all of the new memories ahead.

Oh, and Eric - we did it!!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mother's Day 2016

Well if you're a mom as exhausted as me today, that probably means one thing: you have little kids and yesterday was Mother's Day! Relaxing...ha! Hahaha. Someday, someday. Not this year. :D

We enjoyed a whirlwind morning at church where the kids finished up some projects, and then I was showered with my yearly Mother's Day loot. :) Paper flowers, plants, cards, and some other really cute crafts...it's one of the many joys of motherhood, you know. I'm not Eric's mother, but he still makes sure to lay it on pretty thick with compliments all day, which I will take thankyouverymuch, because his are my favorite kind. Haha.

I do have to say, it doesn't take a whole lot to make me happy. A day of no cooking goes a LONG way here. And the Robert men are very good about making sure the ladies don't have to be in the kitchen at all. We had a delicious catered meal at great grandma's yesterday afternoon (and now our refrigerator is STOCKED with leftovers) and that meant lots of food to carry over to that evening as well. That's a good day. Thanks, guys!

Trying to get a yearly photo with my crew never gets any easier....

Grace was ticked because she didn't have her sunglasses.

Just a little ray of sunshine, isn't she? :)

She did finally get her precious glasses, and this was probably the best we were going to get all day.

Ah, the memories. 
P.S. I love my children dearly, but I cannot wait for some non-pregnant Mother's Days, haha.

After lunch I played a rousing game of hide-and-seek with my children outside (while Eric was inside, chatting and...relaxing. Wait, what? Ha!) And boy, was I beat! I once read an article about an Olympic runner who ran and ran right up to the end of her pregnancy. Well, good for her. I could barely jog across the yard. 

My own mom was enjoying the day at the Fox seeing The Sound of Music, so we dropped off her gifts before running around and doing some errands for the rest of the afternoon. One of those errands was supposed to be taking Captain Awesome there to get a hair cut. He HATES getting his hair cut. But we drove all the way to our normal place for him, only to find they closed early that day. "I'll just cut his hair at home then," Eric said. This has never happened before, but okay. A nice buzz cut to start off the summer would be just fine. 

So Reagan plopped himself on top of one of our packing tubs in the kitchen and Eric fired up the clippers.

Captain Awesome immediately had second thoughts.

This was not awesome. 
My son is still sporting the shaggy dog look today. Well...maybe next weekend!

Today marks the beginning of Grace's last week of school and our very last day as renters (kinda sorta!) With my sporadic posting this won't come as much of a surprise, but you won't be hearing from me tomorrow. We will be spending our morning closing on our house - finally! So hopefully by this time tomorrow we will have our keys in hand and it will be all ours. 

I have this vision that, as soon as we unlock the front door, the deck falls off the back and a pipe bursts in the basement. That's just our luck. Homeownership is equal parts exciting and scary to me, haha. We have enjoyed the luxury of saving money on repairs for quite a while now. Now we have a mortgage and a money pit. :D But hopefully not THE Money Pit. We watched this on Netflix the other night. Maybe we shouldn't have. 

Life is pretty good right now. We're in a good place. I hope that you are, too. :) For the first time in a long time I have no idea what the next couple of months are going to look like, and I am totally okay with that. Uncertainty can be awful for a planner like me, but for once I'm almost looking forward to it. I'm excited to move and get settled and try to enjoy the next couple of months before we have another kid and blow the whole thing up! I'm going to try to bottle these feelings for the inevitable days that I say, "What was I thinking??"  :)

So from our crazy family to yours, happy day! And I hope all of the moms out there had a great Mother's Day!

Friday, May 6, 2016

2016 Field Trip Fun + Vlog

Both Evelyn and Grace took their turns with school field trips this week. Eric and I divided and conquered. If it were up to us we would both go on every field trip there is, haha. But this year Eric took Evie with her first grade class to the Magic House, and I went with Gracie for her last trip in pre-k to Purina Farms. Spoiler alert: They both had a great time! :)

Obviously I wasn't around to document all of the fun with Eric and Evie. But I have been told numerous times that they had a great daddy/daughter time!

Our family visits the Magic House fairly regularly on our own, so the kids pretty much know every nook and cranny of the place. Evelyn spent a lot of her time in the grocery store....

...serving up pizzas...

...and taking care of babies.

I'm pretty sure I checked in with Eric three times to make sure he was taking pictures of their day, haha. Good job, daddy. :)

When I was asking all about their day, Eric informed me with a grin that the last thing they did was to go to the "bank" and make a budget together. I thought he was joking. He was not. Evie planned out her life and Eric helped her with her finances, haha. Of course they did.

Though, if anyone from the Magic House happens to see this, apparently your budgets need updating. The tax rates are way off, and mortgages for mansions are entirely unrealistic. You're welcome.

Yesterday Gracie and I slid ourselves into a tiny bus seat and bumped our way to Purina Farms.

Grace got to come here last year too, so she was super excited to be able to show me around.

We had a ton of fun and took lots of pictures....

...but I thought it would be more fun to share a video of our day. :)

Hooray - I am so glad to have our camera back! If you have never been to Purina Farms, this should give you a pretty good idea of what they have to offer! It's one of the many FREE family activities you can do in the St. Louis area. (Though, note that you cannot bring your own food in. But they do serve up hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos, nuggets, etc. if your tummy starts to rumble!) 

From farm animals to play areas and dog shows, it's a good way to spend a few hours with little ones. Here's a taste of our whole day, wrapped up in about seven minutes. ;)

Going on field trips can only signal one thing, and that's that the end of the school year is fast approaching. Next week is Grace's very last week as a pre-k kid. I can't believe it! Two kiddos in school full-time next year. Boy do I hope we like our new school, haha. 

Happy Mother's Day a little early to all of the moms out there! I'm certainly thankful for the blessing of being mom to our brood, and extra thankful for the special and rare time I get to spend with the kids one-on-one. I hope that you all have a really great weekend!

Next week for us: a final walkthrough, house closings, possible jaunts to New York, pre-k graduation, and more. My week is busy and Eric's is busier, and that's just pretty much the way it is so I should probably just stop mentioning it by now, haha. Come on summer break, we're ready! :)


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