Tuesday, December 18, 2012

New Kitchen

A vast majority of houses we looked at needed a kitchen makeover.  It became a common theme after touring a house and saying "we'll just paint the kitchen and it'll look great".  Oh how those words have such a deeper meaning now.  And I don't think I'll ever say them so nonchalantly ever again. 

Because when we bought our house, the kitchen looked like this:
It was dark.  And ringed of the 90's era when the house was built.  Plus the counter tops were cracked in several spots. The stove top only have 2 working burners.  And oh my goodness that floor was pretty disgusting.  We contemplated ripping that out as well. 

It even had one of those lovely florescent light fixtures that is popular in so many houses built during the 90's.  It did not help with the darkness of the room.  And coming from Alaska, I needed light.  And lots of it.  
So we got to work.  In two-ish weeks before the moving truck arrived, we (with much help from Matt's dad) painted the base cabinets, installed new counter tops, and replaced the back splash, got a new stove top, painted the walls and installed all new lighting.  And that was just in the kitchen.

One thing we didn't get to were the cabinet doors.  We worked our tails off to get the kitchen to a place where we could unpack and survive.  Doors and hardware were not part of that equation.  And then we got burned out...well, actually we had other projects to work we lived with no doors months??
And just a couple weeks before Christmas, we finally have doors up and hardware on!  I didn't think I'd ever see this day.

Remember before?
I love before and afters.  And now have such a better appreciation for "after".

My husband never ceases to amaze me in how he can just decide to tackle something and learn how to do it.  Like he did with electrical.  He learned when we remodeled our bathroom in Anchorage.  And now he's a pro.  What a blessing to be married to man with such handyman skills.

Thus, he installed some can lights and these beautiful pendants over the island.
Our beautiful new stove top - that has all working burners!  And that back splash.  I cannot take any credit on the installation of that, but am thankful for the men that can.  Because I love it.
My new paint color that took three coats.  THREE.  That was dreadful, but I love the end product.  It's bright but the rest of the kitchen and house are so neutral, that I love the pop of color.
You can kind of see the floors in the picture above.  After several hours of scrubbing the floor with Clorox and a toothbrush, they actually look clean and relatively new.  I'm glad we didn't have to replace them after all!

And another angle for your viewing pleasure...because the amount of work that went into this kitchen deserves a bazillion pictures.
We have these two glorious, huge windows by the sink.  They will one day get curtains, but for now, I'm enjoying all the sunlight.
I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so it's an important room to me.  I love the brightness of it all.  And it was fun to pick out all the finishes.  However, I already told Matt, if we ever have to paint kitchen cabinets again, we will save and pay someone.  Or buy a house that's already completed.  If that last scenario is actually possible.

But for now, I'm loving the new kitchen.  And thankful for the opportunity to have such an amazing space.

Monday, December 17, 2012

First Christmas

A baby's first Christmas is a memorable occasion.  Maybe not for them, but for the parents.  We did a little celebrating early with just our little family of three.  

Maddie was way more interested in the tree than in her present.  

We tried to hide her little stuffed animal in the bag, but she just dug out the old, already owned stuffed animal and didn't think twice about the new, shiny gift inside with it.  But she was happy none the less.
 So we tried again that Saturday morning.  Where Matt and I exchanged gifts too.  It was like our "Christmas morning".

She is always full of smiles and giggles - which still (and probably always will) melt my heart.
 Thankfully, we had more luck this time with the gift...
 I think she liked it...after we hid her stuffed animal.  Ha.
We bought her a little fake cell phone since she always steals ours.  I certainly didn't go crazy with gifts for her...since clearly the tree and the tissue paper are just as exciting to her.  Though it was hard to restrain myself, I'm not going to lie.   
Then we went to a Christmas festival at our church.  Maddie didn't quite get how the bounce house worked.  As she just sat in the corner and watched...with perfect posture, of course.
(yes, I left her in her pj shirt, because it's seriously too cute.  However, next time I'm going to glue a bow to her head as everyone thought she was a boy.  I guess the big glittery heart on her shirt wasn't enough.)

But get her around the Bethlehem animals and we couldn't be more excited.  
 Even the fake ones are thrilling to her.
It's quite endearing how easily amused, joyful she gets.  And the celebrations have just begun!

Monday, December 3, 2012


I'm currently living in a season of life that involves lots of change.  And effort.  As much as I long to just sit and be still - and spend my afternoons taking hour long walks in this 80 degree December weather (really? I wanted to escape the dreadful freezing Alaska winter, but this is kinda ridiculous) - my life right now is full of projects and contractors and unpacking and making a home.  But that last part I love.

Thus, blogging has taken a back seat lately.  So much has happened though! My baby girl not only turned 10 months...
 but 11 months!
I'm currently planning her first birthday party.  You know the one that's really just for the parents, since she'll never actually remember it, but I'd be a bad mom if I didn't have one?  Yeah, that one.  But I'm excited.  I think I'm going to go with a pink and yellow theme.  I cannot believe she's going to be one.  ONE.  Which means I'll have been a mom for whole year.  How did that happen?!?

Anyways...we celebrated Halloween with our cousin.  We were actually painting kitchen cabinets on October 31st, so it's a good thing I busted the outfit out early for this photo shoot.  Are they not so cute together?
 We enjoyed a corn maze too.  I'm pretty sure she's the cutest little ladybug ever.
Have I mentioned we are remodeling yet another house?  Yep.  We've done it again.  Bought a house that needs lots of TLC.  We are getting sooo close to being *finished* (oh how that term is to be used loosely), but we have transformed our living room from this: this...
I love walking into this room.  I'm still in need of making curtains for in here...but every room in this house will always be a constant work in progress.  I guess you could call that my hobby.

We've also transformed the half bath from this lovely early 90's bathroom... a much more modern, bright and inviting toilet room.
Maddie has been such a big help throughout the whole process.  This little girl has grown up too fast!  
In the meantime, Thanksgiving happened too.
Maddie is all about supporting football entertainment.  Especially Johnny Football.  The Cotton Bowl this year is going to be a divided household this year.  

We participated in our tradition of running the Turkey Trot in Fort Worth.  And by "tradition", I mean it was our first year.  But we have high hopes of it happening every other year when we all meet up for the "Heine" Thanksgiving.  
And now we are in the season of Christmas.  Goodness it came fast this year.  But it is and always will be my favorite time of year.  I'm excited to start new traditions in our growing little family.  I'm excited to teach Maddie what Christmas is really all about.  I feel like having a child helps me refocus on what this holiday actually represents - the birth of our Savior.  I know she won't remember a lot this year, but I strongly believe it's important to emphasize from early on what's important and what's really not.  Though I do still have a fondness for trees and lights and stockings and Christmas music (which has been playing all day long in our house since the day after Thanksgiving).  

But as life has been so crazy lately, I didn't even want to put up our tree this year.  Yes, it's felt that overwhelming as of late.  But again, bad mom moment.  How could I do that for my child's first Christmas? So Matt surprised me with a day off of work last week and we put it up.  I'm pretty sure Maddie is ecstatic that we did.  Those lights and ornaments are just mesmerizing.
I am so blessed with this child.  I thank God every single day for such a beautiful, joyful gift.   Every day gets more exciting with her...