Monday, February 20, 2017

Just a Little Sunday Project

One Sunday morning, about a month ago, we were enjoying our morning coffee and watching Fixer Upper, and we had no plans for the day.  When I have no plans for an entire day, I get twitchy. And that's where the trouble starts...

When we had moved in to this house, the living room had dark paneling.

We painted the paneling, as a temporary face lift, and planned to one day redo the room properly.  Then last summer, when we replaced the siding on the outside of the house, we also decided to replace the large window in our living room to one half the size.  I had plans of moving my piano to that wall and didn't want to block the window.  So while the outside of the house looked nice and neat, the inside was less than appealing.  We just weren't quite sure what to do with that wall with the paneling over plaster and a big void below the window.

I decided that I would remove the paneling from that wall and repair the plaster.  I had repaired all of the plaster in the dining room, and surely I could get this one wall back in good shape in no time, right?  Well, when I pulled off the paneling, the plaster was in worse condition than I had predicted.  Actually, it was just crumbling off the wall.

Amidst this unfortunate find, there was a little sweet spot.  On the back of one of the pieces of paneling I removed, was the name of one of the children who previously lived in this house.  I always love finding treasures like this, and I often have my kids write their name and date in secret places during our renovations for future generations to find.

Once I decided that the plaster was not salvageable, I rallied the troops, armed them with protective glasses, hammers and pry bars, and we went to work.

As we were taking down the plaster (and making a gigantic mess) I ever-so-sweetly asked Jason if he could cut a hole for me in the adjoining wall.  It was just a small wall, dividing the dining room from the living room, and I had envisioned some open shelving there ever since we moved in.  He agreed, and we removed one more piece of paneling, where we found remnants of some old wallpaper, which I'm sure was quite lovely at some point in the past.

And then we went to work making sure the measurements were square and level and Jason cut me a big ol' hole in the wall.  Perfect!

NOW what do I do?  I had a completely blank slate and no plan.

We decided that drywall was our best option, so while Jason went to pick up a few pieces, I cleaned up the biggest mess in the WORLD.  We finished the drywall by dinnertime and I planned to start taping and mudding the next day.

Except for one thing: I am a complete slacker.  The taping and mudding didn't happen, so by Wednesday, Jason took it upon himself to do it.  And he also started staining the trim and getting that installed!  Once the drywall was finished, I mustered up some motivation to paint.  I opted for a color a few shades darker than the rest of the room, and I love how it looks with the new wood trim.

After that, I started thinking that maybe I didn't want just open shelving in my new space.  I threw a couple of ideas at Jason and he made them happen.  And just like that, I had a wine rack, wine glass storage, AND some open shelves.

I absolutely love how it all turned out and mentioned to Jason that with just 10 or 12 more sheets of drywall we could finish the whole living room!  He glared at me and said it wasn't happening.  At least, not until it was warm enough to have proper ventilation to accommodate all of that dust!  Ok, ok, I guess I can wait for awhile.  He was a good sport throughout this little project, and I appreciate all of his hard work.  Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go find some wine to fill that wine rack!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sunrise to Sunset

I'm not trying to jinx anything, but this has been a weird winter.  Aside from some frigid temperatures in December, our winter here in Michigan has felt like, well, SPRING.  The small amounts of snow we have received have been quickly replaced with warmer air and lots of rain.  The ground hasn't even gotten the chance to freeze, and my spring plants started peeking up out of the dirt in late January!  Four days ago, I ran outside in ice and snow and three layers of clothing, and then we were given a glorious weekend.  It has been in the 60's here the last two days and we have been spending as much time outside as possible.  There is plenty to do around here, as you know, and we took full advantage of it this weekend.

Saturday morning started with a beautiful sunrise.  I had a full day planned, and had to get my run in early or not at all.

The day was warming up quickly, even before 9am, and ice fishing on this lake was clearly not happening.

Later that morning, some of our family from Chicago stopped over.  We explored the property and rode dirt bikes and climbed ladders and held our ever-so-patient chickens.

photo credit: Michael Carlson

photo credit: Michael Carlson

photo credit: Michael Carlson

It was so great to have our family here, but like I've told you before, a quick stop-in just isn't enough.  This place is really hard to leave!

After that, we headed indoors for a bit to watch Greyson play basketball.

Then, it was off to the humane society.  We have visited before, and it's nice to go back every now and then to check out the new arrivals.  Plus, Aunt Jan works there and she has the keys to let us play with any available animals!

We didn't stay too long, though, because it was GLORIOUS outside.  Nearly 70 degrees in February?!  Unbelievable!  Grey took some practice with his BB gun, and Nash followed suit with his nerf gun.

And, of course, Owen got some extra snuggle time with the chickens!

At dinnertime, we fired up the grill and invited a little bit of family over for wine and a cookout.

And the fire that had been burning all day, turned into a campfire at night with a couple of ninjas to enjoy it.
photo credit: Jason Martin

Sunday morning greeted us with bright sunshine, so we decided to pick up a couple of our chicks we had ordered last month.  The kids all took turns holding the chirping box in the car and were very excited to get the little fluffballs home.

Introducing French Black Copper Marans, Dijon and Bordeaux,

and White Crested Black Polish, Pila.

They are the sweetest little things and we are enjoying the sounds of tiny peeps in our house again!

Of course, there was still much to do outside, so the boys unloaded and stacked some wood,

the girls had a front yard picnic,
photo credit: Jason Martin

and then Jason and Grey took turns working on some barnwood projects.

The chickens wanted to know WHY I was all up in their business with my camera,

and Owen and Winston spent some quality time together.

I can't remember the last time I saw feet in flip flops in mid-February in Michigan, but I am not complaining. If Spring wants to stick around and keep Winter from reappearing, that will be just fine with me.

Oh, and that Saturday morning sunrise I mentioned?  Well, tonight's sunset totally kicked its butt.