Sunday, February 26, 2012


It has been a rough couple weeks for me.  I was hit hard a few times with homesickness, and then a bout of sickness that still, doesn't want to leave.

BUT, I have realized in the last few days how good I really have it.  The goodness of people who are practically strangers from the ward stepped in and brought meals, called in concern, and prayed for me.  It was not too serious, so don't worry, and it is all being taken care of now. 

On top of that, I was asked to talk in church a few weeks ago.  I spoke today.  It was a pretty good talk, if I say so myself.  It was on the atonement.  I spent a few minutes introducing us, and then spoke about how personal, sacred and private the atonement really is for each of us.  The spirit was strong.

Life is good.  I decided that.  I feel like I can finally slow down and breath now.  Things are setttled down.  The pictures are hung.  A schedule has been set in place.  I feel like I am now a part of our ward.   We are here.  And I am happy....

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Come on in and have a seat

So, after nearly two months, we officially have a couch again!  Isn't is pretty?!?!

We had originally wanted to get something at a thrift store, but after looking at nearly every thrift store in Billings, it wasn't worth the price for the quality of the couches.  So, we splurged a bit.  It is brand new, but we got it on sale for 30% off (thank you Presidents Day), so it really was a steal of a deal. 

We had quite a hassle getting it loaded up, hauled home, and into the house (its BIG), but it is finally in its place, and looks nice!   All seven of us, plus the dog fit comfortably on it, and we all relaxed nicely tonight watching a movie together.  LOVE IT!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Where we are now...

Montana has proved to be a pretty nice place so far.  I really enjoy this town we live in, and the ward is great!  I think everyone has successfully made the adjustment to our new life here.  The kids have found some friends, and are doing well in their new schools.  Both David and I have mentioned a bit of homesickness this week.   We mostly miss our Highland Park neighborhood.  It was nice knowing everyone on the street, and the familiarity that life had.  That will come here, but it hasn't yet.

So, without further adieu, here in its wood paneled glory is the home we are renting...

 The family room.  Yes, you may notice that we have no couch.  We left it behind in Snowflake because it was broken, and too big to fit on the truck.  And thanks to a nice sized tax refund that we received this week, we can officially go couch shopping on Saturday!  I am looking forward to a couch again...
 Another view of the family room. Still didn't have pictures on the walls.  I am having a hard time hanging anything because, well, there really isn't a lot of good "picture walls" in this place.
 Our dining room.  I hate the carpet under the table, but love the built in glass doored cabinets.  My nice things are on display, and safe too!
 Looking into the kitchen.  It is a pretty odd shape, and makes for tight quarters come meal times.
Another view of the kitchen.  I have learned that I prefer a fridge with the freezer on top, and fridge below.  This side by side just doesn't have enough space.  Especially in the freezer!  There is a mini dishwasher, but it doesn't work.  Seven people makes for a lot of dirty dishes...  Believe me, I know.
 And my laundry room area.   Because my washer and dryer are sitting in the middle of the kitchen and in full view of the front door, I can't very well have laundry piled up.  It has been nice actually.  It makes me HAVE to sort, wash, dry, fold and put it away immediately.  And coming from someone who hates the 'folding and putting away' portion of laundry, it has been a GREAT thing.

Well,there you have it.  Now you have an idea about where we are now.  Not at all as nice as where we were, and not a permanent place either, but it has worked out well, we are happy, and are settling in fine into our wood paneled palace.  =)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I triple-dog-dare you!

Let the reading commence!  Just a fare warning; there are posts (yes, several) following this one, telling all about the final remodeling projects on our Snowflake home, and how we partially celebrated Christmas this year.  Read on if you dare.... no pressure!  =)

Oh and yes, I realize that there may be a curious reader or two (hi mom!), who are dying to know where and what we are living in.  I must admit that because the pictures on thewalls are not hung, and the house doesn't stay clean in Montana either, I haven't felt 'ready' to take pictures of our wood-paneled palace yet.  They will be coming as soon as I can muster the courage.... =)

Christmas 2011

I have to admit that although we tried, Christmas was almost pushed aside this year.  We were up to our ears in packing, remodeling, and generally pulling the house apart in every other corner.  We set up our tree with about 50% of the normal ornaments and the nativity scene.  The rest of the Christmas decor was left in its totes in the shed.  Here are a few shots of what amount of Christmas we did celebrate.

 The tree. 
 The nativity scene.  Funny side note about this set...  Before we were married David and I bought this nativity scene, along with some other big ticket items at a garage sale.
 We went to the Snowflake 2nd Ward Christmas party.
 On Christmas Eve, a secret elf knocked at the door and left five wonderful gifts for my five wonderful kids.  The kids LOVED them, and we loved the goodness of an angel that knew we were having a harried holiday, and thought to brighten it a little bit.  THANK YOU to whoever you are.  We are grateful.
 Santa Claus came to our house!  And before you think that we spoil our kids rotten, you should know that 90% of this was socks, underwear, jeans, and long sleeved shirts, in preparation for our move to Montana!
 Aubrey at her 2nd grade Christmas program.  She was a jingle bell dancer and did a super cute dance routine!  She is a natural performer.
 Nathan, posing after his performance at the Snowflake Christmas Spectacular.  He was in a boys choir that sang two numbers at the show.  He practiced hard, and performed well!
And the last of our holiday spirit is Emily at her 1st grade Christmas program.  She got to hold a candle in the song "Little Candle Fire".  So sweet.

I am sad that Christmas was on the back burner for our family this year.  I hope to make up for it a bit next Christmas.  We took the tree and nativity set down the day after Christmas.  That is when the HUGE push to get things done and going happened.  I am so proud of my great kids.  They have all really showed resiliency and acceptance with all the insanity and upheaval of the last couple months.  I have the worlds greatest kids!!

Catching up... the rest of the house

And to finished off the long list of remodeling that got completed in less then 6 weeks (David and I both realized how very much you can get done if you just focus, buckle down, and do it!)....

Almost the entire house got a paint job.  Either some serious touch up, or an actual roll it on paint job. 

 Here is the boys room.  We sadly covered up the camolauge that adorned their walls for years, and opted for a plain forest green instead.
 The girls room got completely redone.  It is amazing how hard three little girls are on a room.  Skimcoat, paint, and this cute lavender wall (picked out by Betsy!)  It turned out really cute.  (Oh, and you see those open suitcases?  Yes, that is what we lived out of for over a month...)
 The closed in carport.  It got patched, painted and updated fixtures.  And this is the only shot I have of the new carpet.  We had brand new beautiful carpet installed in all three bedrooms and in this room.  Oh, and you can kind of see the epoxy floor in the laundry room in this picture!
And unfortunatly this is the best picture I can find of the master bedroom.  It also got a complete face lift.  We patched, painted, and even installed brand new blinds.  This room matched the carpet beautifully.
The barewood shelf was installed in the kitchen.  When we remodeled the kitchen a few years back, a hole was left between the two upper cabinets.  Finally finished, but photographed before the paint got on.  It looks better then I imagined it would.  In fact, everything that Mathan did turned out better then I imagined!

And the last big project we did was replace the windows in our family room bay area.  The sliding door had been replaced, the the two side windows were still the original 1980ish windows.  So, we ordered them.  And they came in.  And they were the wrong size!  We ordered 5 foot, and they delivered 6 foot!  So, David and Mathan spent an afternoon, reframing and setting the two windows.  I must not have taken a picture of them, but it was a huge project and deserves mention. 

The other random things that got done were too many to mention.  Lots of grunt work in the front, side and backyards.  The shed cleared out, two large dump runs (we had A LOT of stuff!), and lots of small things that added up into a beautiful fully remodeled home.  THANK YOU to my gracious father in law, Quince, my very talented brother in law Mathan, and to my siblings Heather, Heidi, Justin and brother in law Jacob, for your talents and help too!  David and I are so grateful for your kindness, support and help in our time of need!  We love you!

Catching up... the woodstove wall

We had a great wood stove that we used heavily in the winter months.  We wanted to raise it off the ground a bit and give it a more permanent home.  We built a platform that acted as a stage for the kids for a while.  Then as the cool weather settled in and as we tiled the rest of the house, we added tile to the platform.  We then reinstalled the wood stove for use.  But, the wall behind the stove got left for another time.  David and I couldn't agree on what to do with it.  I wanted to do some type of stacked stone.  David wanted to do river rock.  Neither of us wanted to do what the other one wanted...   We had the pretty mantel blocks of wood installed, and some cement board too, but that is as far as it got.   Then came the call to move.  And we HAD to do something with it. 
Isn't it gorgeous!! My bro-in-law, Mathan, used tile and made up this pretty pattern in his head, and did a BEAUTIFUL job.  LOVE IT!

Catching up... laundry room

Originally our house had a carport and an outside storage room.  The washer was in the kitchen and there was no dryer.  (Think 1960's).  Before we bought the home, like most homes in the neighborhood, the carport was closed in making another room and the outside storage room was converted into a large laundry room.  It was a nice touch to the home, yet, the laundry room never was finished.  It still had its unfinished block and cement floors.  It was uninsulated and, depending on the weather was either an oven, or a freezer.  Twice the pipes froze on our washing machine because of this.

I don't think I have many pictures of my laundry room.  Sorry, I just didn't find it worked well as a backdrop to pictures.  Just imagine dark, damp, cold, and dungeon and you probably have a pretty good idea of what it looked like. 

So, on to the remodel...
 Here is the wall shimmed out, plumbing and electrical moved around and insulation panels in.
 Drywall and texture!
 On to the paint on the walls and shelving.  And a thick coat of epoxy paint on the floor.  I don't think I got a picture of that.  But it finished the room off well.
And the final touch.  The door of my dreams.  It has a window that opens and everything....  Much needed addition for light, insulation and venting.  I'm still jealous of the renters using that wonderful door...
And here is the finished product.  I wanted some type of shelves or cabinets above the machines, but it didn't fit in the budget, so it didn't happen.  Loved how it turned out.

Catching up.... the master bathroom

And so it began. With a dripping shower head. It started out really slow. It got a bit faster and faster as the time went on. After a couple months it was almost a steady stream of water. We could fill a five gallon bucket in a few hours. Yeah, just imagine what it was doing to our water bill....

And then the sewer backed up into our master shower. Again. Yes, it stunk. A LOT. Well, we couldn't have 5 gallons of water every 3 or 4 hours adding to the already filled and plugged shower pan. So to make a long story short, David busted into the wall and capped off the water.

Fast forward and we experienced yet another back up. (pictured, with the lovely plunger and plumbing snake too!) After this final backup, we got serious, and started busting out the floor to finally FIX the problem. The house was originally plumbed wrong.  Curse them. 

So here are a few shots of the demo and what we found and ended up fixing.
Notice the hideous pee greenish/blueish tile.

You can't tell from this picture, but this hole is almost 2 feet deep into the ground.  This is where the original plumber messed up.  Bad.  We (meaning our good plumber friend Billy and David) worked out the kinks and re plumbed a few things.  Then it was finally time for rebuilding our mess.

The wall had to be built out because of a smaller shower stall.  Beautiful work by my man.  The new shower installed.  (Painting courtesy of my wonderful sisters, bro-in-law, and lil' 'ol me).

And to fill in the space that was left, we opted for a coordinating tile.  (The green that was used on the floor was 'out of print'.)  Looks pretty huh?  I had mixed feelings about leaving my beautiful, finally finished bathroom.  I got to use our brand new shower three times before we left... =(

Next up, the laundry room (AKA the dungeon)....