Sunday, August 25, 2013

Last week of summer vacation

Before the last week of summer Lee suggested that the kids (not us, ha ha) have a "no electronics week".  I loved the idea and am excited to do it again next year or sooner! They went a week without movies, tv, or computers.  (We don't have any sort of gaming systems). We did listen to Pandora a few times and sometimes I let them look at family pictures on the computer so I guess I didn't wholly stick to it.  Didn't think about pulling out the photo albums...we'll have to do that next time. It was a great week though.  The kids played with legos a TON, had fun outside on the trampoline--in addition to spraying water on it, baking cookies and playing monopoly along with a few outings we did together. 

To start off the week we picked an apple from our apple tree.  It's the ONLY tree in the yard.  Our friends gave it to us as a house warming gift which was so sweet.  And it was fun that we got a couple of apples off of it a few months later!
Aug 11 2013

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Tuesday night we went up to Shenandoah National Park.  We stopped at the first picnic area and were glad to see it had fire pits.  It was only 15 minutes from our house, which was awesome.  We have an annual pass there and need to go up more often.  We brought tin-foil dinners to cook in the fire and had our version of s'mores--chocolate chip cookies with a roasted marshmallow in between. We were the ONLY ones there in the whole picnic area.  It was awesome! 
Aug 13 2013 Shenandoah Ntnl Park Clark

Aug 13 2013 Shenandoah Ntnl Park Clark (2)

Aug 13 2013 Shenandoah Ntnl Park Clark Lee Shanna

Aug 13 2013 Shenandoah Ntnl Park Clark Shanna Lee

Aug 13 2013 Shenandoah Ntnl Park Elden Cal

Haley with the "kites".
Aug 13 2013 Shenandoah Ntnl Park Haley

Aug 13 2013 Shenandoah Ntnl Park Haley (2)

Aug 13 2013 Shenandoah Ntnl Park Haley Cal Elden

Aug 13 2013 Shenandoah Ntnl Park Lee

Aug 13 2013 Shenandoah Ntnl Park Lee Ruth

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And just to throw this in, Clark and Cal often slept in Shanna, Haley and Elden's room during the summer. I love how they all fit.  
Aug 15 2013

For family game/movie night we played a game: Monopoly.  I actually won.  I couldn't believe it.  It was awesome!  I rarely win at Monopoly!
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Clark had fun with Jenga on Friday too...
Aug 16 2013

Saturday morning Lee went to a health fair that he was invited to participate in. you have to come and visit---Lee's sells Vera Bradley frames now!
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His booth area.  He even got on the front page of the paper...more on that to come later in the week hopefully.
Aug 17 2013

Later that day on Saturday we met some friends at Riven Rock Park.  It's a park almost to the West Virginia border.  It has a shallow river, with lots of smooth rocks on the bottom.  Great place for the kids to play. My friend suggested a pot luck so we all brought stuff for dinner.  We had a great time visiting.  Hopefully Lee had a great time hanging out with the kids at the river. Lee is such an awesome husband to spend time with the kids, allowing me to hang out with my friends. Thanks Lee, you're a great dad. It was kind of cold that afternoon too.
Aug 17 2013 Riven Rock Park

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I forgot to take pictures till the end, so there aren't any of the kids at the river.  We'll be back though, so maybe I'll remember one time.
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It was a great way to spend the week before school started.  The kids seemed to enjoy it too. There wasn't hardly any, if none, complaining about the no electronics.  (That last sentence probably isn't constructed right, oh well.)

The last day before school, a Monday, the kids hung out at home, a friend came over, and I think they went to their friend's pool too. Shanna bought a little kit will gooey stuff and straws.  You put the gooey stuff on the end of the straw and then can blow a bubble.  Do you remember this stuff?  Anyway, Shanna shared the kit with everyone, and they loved it.
Aug 19 2013

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Haley and Shanna were able to blow HUGE bubbles. That's my girl!
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I never got a picture with Shanna blowing a huge one, but she was able.
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I was sad for summer to be over.  I wish we had a few more weeks at home.  It would be perfect to start after Labor Day.  Oh well.  The kids were excited to go back.....and thankfully they didn't really have any homework the first week.  Check out their first day of school here!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Another kitchen update

The end of  July more finishing work was completed in the kitchen. For one, Lee put up baseboards in our kitchen.  Our walls aren't straight, so in most places there was a gap between the baseboards and the walls. Some of my top favorite "help" items while redoing the kitchen have been a putty knife, white painters caulk and wood filler.  The putty knife was great for random things here and there, including applying the painters caulk and the wood filler.  The painters caulk was awesome for filling in gaps, like you see below.  I used it all over the kitchen to fill in holes and small seams, along with the wood filler.

Here I filled in gaps with the caulk.
July 18 2013

On the "window" opening Lee had to take off the white trim so the bar counter could be installed. When he put the trim back in place he had to cut it. It wasn't completely straight so I filled it in with good ol' wood filler.  And see under the bar?  Lee added a piece of trim above the white trim already there, but a gap was left.  I used the caulk to fill that in too. (The white angled streak is light reflecting off.)
7-27-13 Clark's Birthday 6 (2) - Copy

Here it is finished. Guess I should have taken a picture before I even did the wood filler. The trim had gaps and was crooked; but the wood filler, along with two coats of paint, did the trick!
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And here is the gap filled in. There is a slight gap between the counter and the trim but the dark line you see underneath is a shadow.  And after I took the pictures I realized the counter was dirty! And another weird light streak is showing up....
July 18 2013

I started painting the kitchen doors that our friend made for us.  If you ever paint a kitchen, it takes a lot of time!  I thought it would be pretty fast, mainly because my kitchen is so small.  But sanding, priming, and painting (two coats!) just the cabinets (not even including the doors), took several hours.  And painting the doors took several hours (which also included priming, sanding, and two coats of paint).
July 18 2013 Kitchen doors

So, here is the "old" kitchen.  So hard to remember now which I don't mind at all!  See the curved, open end shelves?  Lee ripped them out too (except left the bottom base as a temporary support till something else was built in....see below). Also right next to the end shelves are some cupboards that Lee also removed.  Our dishwasher is now there.  Well above the cupboards (to the right of the green shelves) were two drawers.  I am glad we saved them.  You'll see why--keep reading!  Okay, one more thing to note in the picture below. See the stove?  Well, it was HUGE.  Okay, not monstrous, but "normal" stove/ovens are 30 inches wide.  This one was 40 inches wide.  So when we removed it and put in our 30 inch stove/oven, there were some gaps left. Above the oven was a big hood too. When that was removed and the microwave installed, a gap was also left there too. Okay...let's move on.
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So in a round about way, I found this guy, Kelly, who works at a cabinet shop. I told him what I needed in my kitchen-a garbage drawer, a slotted pan holder, a wood piece to fill in a small gap, and some sort of box thing next to the microwave.  Anyway he said he would do it as a side job and gave me a good deal on it--I think. He came out once to measure and then again the next time to install the items. It was so exciting when he came and installed these items.  Our kitchen definitely felt like it was lacking and not quite right till these gaps and spaces were filled. Check out what he put in!

Here is our new garbage drawer!  The door front will soon be made by our friend.  The green shelves used to be here. And I am really glad we saved those drawers that used to be where the dishwasher is now.  He was able to incorporate a drawer above the garbage drawer, as you can see.  The garbage can isn't that big, but I am still excited to use it nonetheless.  
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See my container of wood filler by the pink water bottle?  Love that stuff.
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So, like I said, gaps were on either side of the oven.  To fill in the right gap next to the oven, I asked him to make a slotted area to put pans.  Well, for my cookie sheets and cooling racks, mainly.  And look what he did?  He took the second drawer that we had leftover, cut it in half, glued it back together, and made a cute small drawer!
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And to fill in the gap on the left side of the oven, he put in a piece of wood.  So much better! (The cabinets you see that are white, were primed at that point.)

And last of all, there was that gap next to the microwave.  I thought it would be a great place to have a little storage nook for my binder full of recipes.  It's great to have my binder off the counter, plus there is room for one or two more cookbooks! I do wipe off the outside of my microwave sometimes....  We had to wait to completely finish the backsplash after this box was put in next to the microwave. I wasn't sure how the box would fit up against the wall.  I cut two different shapes of tiles thinking one of them would work.  Well, I got the general shape right, but had to cut the tile again. (Lee actually made the second cut).  We had given the tile saw back to my friends and it was already put away in their attic.  They graciously got it back down we could cut one tile...  Oh, and installing back splash tiles around outlets was a pain.  Well, for Lee it was.  He did get it figured out.  If he hadn't been there, I would have put the tiles in the wrong place and would have made a big mess for the outlets along the kitchen wall! 
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There were quite a few big and little projects involved in this "small" kitchen.  I still have to do a little painting, make curtains, paint and attach three doors (thankfully Lee will attach them), make a Bosch covering (just for fun) add accessories (I am kind of clueless in this area...) and we're done! So, if we finish by the end of August, that will be amazing! It's so funny because back in April, I thought we could finish the kitchen by the end of May. Yeah right. Plus the big projects Lee and I did together had to wait till the evening, for the most part.  It's just interesting looking back and realizing again how many things went into this kitchen (I had kind of forgotten!).  It is lovely being on the home stretch with all the big projects out of the way. Towards the end of July we finally moved our fridge back into the kitchen too.  All of the sanding was done in the kitchen, so we decided it was time.  It had been in our dining area since Memorial Day!  I must say, it took me a few days to get the hang of the fridge being in the kitchen.  I often found myself walking into the dining room to go to the fridge, purely out of habit. We also took off the plastic that was on our appliances too (after having them in our house since the end of April, ha ha). Surprisingly, our stainless steel fridge stays pretty clean!  Our dishwasher gets the most finger prints and smudges. Anyway, hopefully the big reveal will happen this month! 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Clark's Birthday....Double Digits!

Clark had his 10th birthday the end of July.  Wow, we have a child that is double digits!  Clark was introduced to a game that his cousins play where you create your own creature and watch it grow and evolve.  It's called Spore.  He wanted the Spore logo on his cake and if you might have guessed, asked for the game for his birthday.

I printed off the logo, cut out the letters and used them as my template.  It worked out pretty well.  I am still working on getting down the whole smooth-cake thing, but my kids don't seem to notice the imperfections like I do. 
7-27-13 Clark's Birthday 9

7-27-13 Clark's Birthday 8

7-27-13 Clark's Birthday 7

Clark opened his presents in the morning. 

7-27-13 Clark's Birthday 4

We did get Clark the game Spore for his birthday.  We didn't want Clark to know what it was so Lee put random legos in a empty cereal box along with the game. When Clark woke up at 5:30am on his birthday he definitely thought he didn't get the game.  
7-27-13 Clark's Birthday 2

7-27-13 Clark's Birthday

We had cake and ice cream that night.
7-27-13 Clark's Birthday 6 (2)

7-27-13 Clark's Birthday 11 (2)

7-27-13 Clark's Birthday 15

Me and my handsome first born...
7-27-13 Clark's Birthday Ruth and Clark

During the afternoon of Clark's birthday Shanna and I went to a babyshower for my friend Chandra. She recently gave birth to her fourth baby!  We had a great time.  Shanna didn't seem so excited while we were there, but when we arrived home and were talking about it she said she had a great time. 
7-27-13 Jepson baby shower

Later that night we drove out and saw the fireworks at the McGaheysville Fire Department.  They did a big fundraiser that weekend.  The firework show happened to fall on Clark's birthday.
7-27-13 Cal at fireworks

We pulled over on the side of the road and watched them.  It made for an easy exit as the highway was right there!
7-27-13 fireworks

Elden's face is cute...
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Happy Birthday Clark!  It's sure great having you in our family.  He loves jumping on the trampoline, playing games--computer and board games, visiting family, and is a good worker.  I am so excited because next year he is going to be the resident babysitter! I've been talking to him about it for quite awhile now, and it's only a year!