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Monday, June 5, 2017

Abe's 2nd Birthday Party

This doesn't seem like it can be true, but this baby turned 2 years old today!

Last year we thew him an Honest Abe party. 

This year we went for a construction theme.  I was looking for a much simpler party planning process this year.  The construction theme was so easy because we already had a lot of the decor and anything else I needed was easy to find in stores since it is such a popular theme.  There are also tons of ideas on Pinterest which is where I found inspiration for the invite.

The construction theme was kind of a happy coincidence since the road my parents live on is literally closed... And that's where the party was! So people had to drive around the road closed signs to get to the party. Free decorations! 

And obviously, we had to stop for a photo op. 

Construction Birthday Party

We knew it was going to be a warm day so we planned to give Abe his gift right at the start of the party so the kids could play with it if they didn't want to get in the pool.  It was a hit!  It's the Step 2 Rain Shower Splash Water Table.

We also had a corn pit for the kiddos play with.

And then, of course, the pool was also available but was still pretty cold since we had just opened it the weekend before.  

Although, there were a few that were brave enough to jump in.  
I didn't really manage to get any pictures of the food table but it wasn't anything very elaborate anyway.  I used a couple of Abe's toy dump trucks and back hoes to decorate with and store utensils in.  I didn't label each food like I've done in the past which saved me some work.  Although I did make a cute sign that said "Dig In" with a picture of a shovel that Michael drew (he's better at drawing than I am, it's one of his engineering talent).  The sign was simple and cute and got the point across.... which was exactly my goal for decor this time around.  Speaking of signs.  We borrowed this one from my Aunt and Uncle (remember saint Steve?), perfect!

We eat burgers, hot dogs, chips, and fruit. 

I got all the kids little construction hats and I made up little favors with a small dump truck, smarties, a fruit snack, and sparklers for them as well. 
Small construction cones were found at the Dollar Tree.  Construction hats and mini dump trucks were from amazon.

And for dessert I made dirt pudding instead of cake. 

Abe needed some help blowing out the candles. 

 ...But no help eating!

Finally it was time for gifts! And I think we managed to have the best gift table ever!

Construction Birthday Party

Construction Birthday Party

We ended the evening with more swimming and then a few sparklers. 
Looks like the Birthday Boy gave this party a big thumbs up!


We can't believe our little baby cakes is already 2.  We couldn't be more grateful for him.  

*Photo cred to Bill Kercher

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Our Phase 2 Addition: in a nutshell

It may have been a long time since I have blogged, but that certainly doesn't mean that things have not been changing around here.

Last time I posted, I announced that we were embarking on a big addition....and it wasn't a baby.  We planned to add on a mudroom and garage.  But before I get into that, I thought I'd go way back to when we first bought our house to show you what it looked like.

Yikes! That looks pretty gloomy.  And it was. 

This was the first picture we ever took of our house.  We first looked at it in December 2012 and didn't closed until that following May.  It was quite the process, but I won't get into that.

Here are a few pictures we took the day we closed on the house.

Initial improvements included ripping out overgrown bushes, cutting down rotting trees, and replacing the windows and siding.
We knew we were going to eventually add on a garage and porch so we left some things as is.  On the the old garage, we left the white siding and the front gutters.  We also planned to replace the roof in the next phase so that the shingles would all match.  The old wrought iron railing was scrapped and it was replaced with wood railing, that I painted white.

And that's pretty much how our home looked for 3 years before we started demolition last July.

Let's zoom on through with a little month by month update for you:


Foundation and framing of garage


More framing of garage


Windows, porch framing


Pour concrete, continue to frame porch


Complete framing, new roof, garage door installation, start siding


Complete siding, install lighting, railing and skirting


 Odds and ends getting finished up like the railing, post wraps, the driveway. 

And here is today:
We still have a number of things to do... a few more post wraps, planting grass, stain the porch floor and stairs.  And then of course there is one very obvious thing we need to do:  The Landscaping... which we don't think will happen until next spring.  But we do plan on working on putting in a stone retaining wall this summer (hopefully).

Here's a side-by-side comparison with the house when we first bought it:

Does it look like the same house?

No? I'm ok with that.  :-)

Another side-by-side comparison for you.

I can't wait to get some flower boxes and some hanging ferns out this summer.  

If you have followed this process closely, you may be wondering why we ended up adding the porch on.. because, going into this project that was not the plan.  We thought we were just going to add on the mudroom and the garage and wait to add the porch later on down the road.  Long story short, it just made sense to proceed with the porch now, considering some of the changes we were making to the house. And man am I glad we did. 

It is amazing how much more enjoyment we are getting out of our home with our new addition... especially the porch.  I knew that a big garage would be great, I am just a little surprised to the extent I love having a porch.  I felt sort of trapped inside my house because there wasn't really any place to hang out outside since we bought it.  And now my outdoor enjoyment at home has improved 100 fold! Abe loves to ride his cozy coupe around the drive while I sit on the porch, eating grapes, getting fanned by Michael.  Except not that last part.  Just seeing if you were still reading! ;-) 

We are SO thankful for everyone that has helped us get to the (near) end of this construction project.  We couldn't have done it without some key players: My parents, my Uncle Steve (remember Saint Steve from phase 1 renovation?!), and M2 construction. Big time thanks and hugs for all of them for helping us see this thing through! 

So that's all for today folks! I haven't even gotten into sharing about the inside, there is a lot more to come and I will do my best at updating things more regularly as we progress.  But in the mean time, I am much more apt to sharing via instagram.  For the most up-to-date info, follow me there!

Porch and Garage Addition, Dark Blue Siding, Wrap around porch

I zoomed through 10 months of work, if you have any questions, just leave them in the comments below. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Phase 2 Coming at You!

A looooooong long time ago, we had this crazy idea to buy a house and fix it up. 

We finished up Phase 1 in December 2013.  We had gutted our home to the studs and built it back from there.  But there is still so much more work to do.  After our two year "break" from hard core renovating, Michael and I are ready to jump back on the saddle and slap this horse on the behind and giddy up!

It's time for Phase 2: the garage and mudroom.

To refresh your memory, here is what we started with:
So for the last two years now, ever since we re-sided our house, our home has looked like it had a great big white appendage sticking out of it.

We also left part of the front of our re-sided house undone because we were originally planning to build a porch onto the house last spring.  Instead, we had a baby.  :-) So now, here we are, two years later... white garage, blue house, wonkey gutters and soffits..... and super cute baby! So I'm still calling that a win, for sure!

I haven't really talked much about it here on the blog because I've been waiting until we had more of a plan set.

So here's the plan:
1. Build a three car garage onto the front of our home. 
We have gotten a lot of advice from various people who have recommended that we go big... and that we won't regret it!  It is also going to have a second floor with plenty of room for one bedroom and lots-o-storage.

Here is are the plans for the garage.  It will connect to the house on the right through the mudroom.

And yes, my husband is awesome and drafted this whole thing out on Cad.  And yes, he measured everything out that we plan to store in the garage and worked it into the plan.

2. Tear down the current garage and build the mudroom, powder room, and laundry room.
This space is going to be so important for us as a family.  Currently, when people are over, the only suitable bathroom to offer guests is in our master bathroom.  It doesn't bother us, but it does make some people feel weird having to go into our room to get to the bathroom. Further, having a mudroom will mean having coat storage (which we currently do not have) and a floor that will act as a more durable place to track mud and dirt onto - instead of my pretty hardwood floors!

Originally we were not planning to build a laundry room in this space.  But the more I thought about it, the more I felt like we would regret it later if we didn't make it happen now.  I have always done laundry in a basement, so I wasn't really against our previous plans of keeping the laundry in the basement.  But then I had a baby and our laundry increased substantially.  And it is only going to increase as more babies come.  And these babies are going to be on the second floor of the house.  So, I'm sure you can see how having laundry on the main level might be nice.  Additionally, we are adding a very large storage closet, which I'm SO excited about. When we renovated, we eliminated a lot of small closets in order to make more space for our master suite.  I don't regret that decision but it has left us with very little closet space on the first floor.  This closet will make up for it! It will be large enough to act as a broom closet/pantry.  I can't wait!!!

2. Build a second level above the garage and mudroom.
We decided to add a second level to the garage, you know, because, why not?!  The second floor of our home currently is unfinished space.  Eventually, with this addition, the second floor will include 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, a playroom/family room above the main house.  Then, above the mudroom and garage, there will be an additional 1 bedroom and large storage room.  The area above the mudroom will be a hallway but I think it will actually be large enough to give it more of a function than just a hallway.  I'll figure that out later.  But what I do know is that it will have a laundry shoot from the 2nd floor to the laundry room.  Score!

The picture below is of our plans for the space above the mudroom and the garage.  The doorway all the way to the right leads to the space above the main house. 
You may also notice that there is a stairway from the garage up into that storage area.  We think that stairs will be a nice feature for the future to allow easy access to the storage above the garage.

4. Re-Roof the entire home.
Our roof is over 20 years old and shingles are starting to blow off.  Since we will need to roof the new addition, it seems like the obvious time to reroof the whole house.

5. Landscaping
Michael and I have done very little in the way of landscaping, unless you count cutting down lots of Walnut trees, then we have been VERY active! We wanted to wait until after the garage is added before we put any time, energy, and money into landscaping.  

6. Postpone the front porch addition
Super sad, but we decided that this addition really was not going to gain us enough functionally to have it so high up on the priority list.  So now, the porch will likely come after everything else we'd like to do (finishing the 2nd floor and basement). 

Michael and I started demo by taking off the remaining siding a couple weekends ago.  And now, excavation and foundation work to started this week. EEEK! So excited!

I posted a video of the garage tear down on Instagram if you are interested!

Can't wait to share more about the details and process as we go along!