Wednesday, February 28, 2007

House in Progress: Quick Update

I know you all want to see pictures of the house and what we're doing to it. We've been crazy busy, getting up between 6 and 7 am everyday, driving to Thornton, and working on our new house until midnight. Luckily, for a lot of it, we've had our two teenage baby sitters, Shannon and Sarah, helping out.

I'm pretty tired, so I'm just tossing in three photos and letting you know some highlights of the past week. I promise to add more when it's all done.

1. We have a beautiful new black 50 year roof!
2. We found a great contractor who is helping us get everything accomplished for a reasonable fee in a short amount of time!
3. I got to buy all new cabinets for the kitchen and bathrooms, and new lights throughout the house and new faucets!
4. We've gotten three bedrooms, the living room, and kitchen painted. We hired a painter who will do the main part of the basement tomorrow.

1. We had a flood in the basement (but God worked it out for the good!)
2. Daniel took the week off of work to get more done, and then due to a wire transfer glitch, we couldn't get the keys to the house until Thursday afternoon, so we wasted a day and a half.
3. We found out we needed to replace some rotten greenboard in the basement bathroom, and we were missing alot of key pieces to the floating floors we got for such a bargain price (also several boards were warped and badly manufactured.)
4. The new kitchen cabinets don't fit well, so I won't be able to open one of the under-sink cabinet doors. Also we were sold the wrong kind of countertop, so we have to take it back. AND we have to get a different sink for the new bathroom because it doesn't fit. AND I lost the receipts and paid cash for some of it.
5. The painter's crew didn't show so the exterior of the house hasn't been painted yet. And it just snowed, so it may be a while.

I still love the house, it's still a great bargain, and Daniel and I took tonight off to have a date, rejuvenate, and die my hair blonde...that's all for now!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Almost Home

Tomorrow we will close on our new home! It feels like everything is happening too fast and too slow all at the same time. We've been trying to pack everything for the move, scheduling contractors, and buying materials pretty much nonstop for the past week and a half.

We had found a great deal on laminate flooring a week or so ago at Carpet Mill, but decided not to buy our carpet through them because their salesman was such a creep. We decided to go ahead and purchase the laminate flooring that we had put a down payment on because we really got it for about 60% off the normal price. When we finished paying for it yesterday, I spoke to the manager and complained about the salesman who had lied to us, tried to over charge us by $2,000, and then told me we were "cheap" because we didn't want to pay an outrageous price for padding to go under the laminate floors. She wasn't surprised and told me that he no longer worked for them.

We bought our carpet today at Carpet Exchange where we met a very nice salesman. After getting to know him a little yesterday and today, we wound up convincing him to attend the church we've been trying out for a couple of months now. So he and his family are going to meet us there this Sunday!

He also gave us confidence to try and install the laminate floors ourselves. So we're going to give that a try. It could save us about $450 or so in labor costs. I guess we will be weekend warriors this week. Between now and next Wednesday we pretty much have to wash everything in the house, paint everything, tear up the old tile and carpet, and install the new laminate floors. We will probably only have about 6 full actual work days when Daniel isn't working. Wish us luck!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Celebrating Love

We had a really good Valentine's Day this year. In fact, it was one of the best ones I remember in years. For lunch we took the kids out to Olive Garden. We took photos at the restaurant that came out very cute.

That night Daniel and I went out to see "Music and Lyrics". That is such a great movie! We laughed all through it! Daniel says we can go see it again when it comes out at the cheap theater. After the movie we walked in the falling snow over to a pizza place. Then we walked to a little chocolate shop and got chocolate covered Rice Krispy treats and Oreos to share with everyone back at home. It was a perfect date.

VDay Tradition!

Once again we took our traditional Valentine's Day photos. Every year since Gloria was born we've gone around our neighborhood and town taking photos of the girls dressed up. We usually take pictures in black and white. This year Kevin got to participate. I tried out the "sepia" option on my camera.

He looked so adorable that we let the girls take turns wearing the hat, too, for some photos. This hat is actually one of the ones that Daniel gave Gloria for her birthday last October. Kevin is wearing one of the new suits we bought him. It has a button up shirt, a button up vest, slacks, and a little tie. He was so cute! He looked like someone out of an old movie. Like a little paper boy! We printed some extras of these photos. Hopefully I'll get them sent out soon. Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Adoption Classes

In order for us to be allowed to adopt we have to complete certain requirements for Adams County. We had to take 20 hours of classes about foster care and adoption. Complete 5 hours of extra classes or read books and watch videos about foster care, adoption, or parenting and write a report about what we learned.

We get to count two more hours when we complete our home study, which includes multiple interviews separately and together. Today we finished our last class which was a 10 hour CPR and first aid class. Now we are both certified to give CPR to infants, children, and adults. (Ask me if I actually feel confident about those skills. Eek!)

Our kids have had to endure alot of time in daycare and with our babysitters. They had two eight hour days in the Adams County childcare center and one 4 hour day. Then they had today. Danya had a meltdown today after the CPR class because she felt like she hadn't seen us all day long. We had to leave at 7:30 am this morning to get to the class. At least it's finally over and we can spend more time with our kids again.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Appointment with a House

We've been setting up appointments left and right for a house we don't even own yet. We close on the house a week from tomorrow. The bank who owns the house currently announced last week that the roofer could not install the new roof that's required for our loan approval until after we offically own the house. So there are roofing materials sitting on top of our house now that will be installed on the 21st.

We've had to go out to the house so that Carpet Mill could measure for the new carpet and tile we are having installed. We happened to catch a really good deal on the flooring materials. Both the carpet and tile including installation will be about $2 per sqare foot. We called a painter to give us an estimate on painting the exterior of the house. He said he'd drive by it and call us with an estimate, but he never called back. So we're still in need of a painter.

We have to carefully schedule everything. We have to paint the interior and let the radon guy install the mitigation system before the carpet and tile can be installed. We also have to get the new garage door installed before the exterior paint can be done so that the door will be painted at the same time. If we have enough money to change out the bathroom mirrors and light fixtures, and the light fixtures in other parts of the house, it would be best if we could do that before painting those areas, so that we don't have to go back and re-touch those areas later. We also have to have an electrician possibly run power for a new central air conditioning system, and I don't know how that will effect things.

Today we bought a refrigerator and stove. They'll deliver those on the 26th. I can't believe we're only a week away from home ownership!


Daniel and Kevin were at a grocery store to get a couple of items. At checkout, the clerk said, "You couldn't deny him if you wanted to!" Although rudely put, she's absolutely right. There's an undeniable resemblance between Daniel and Kevin.

Speaking of rude strangers, Daniel and the kids were walking back from having lunch at a local pizza place the other day. Kevin was in the stroller and Danya was pushing it. Daniel had the kids stay put on the sidewalk for a second while he ran a few feet away to grab the blanket that had fallen off the stroller. Some lady stopped her car, got out, and came towards the kids as Daniel was walking back over to them. She yelled, "Are those your kids?!" Then she started screaming at Daniel for walking away from the kids. She scared the kids more than having their dad five feet away did, that's for sure. I'm all for helping kids, but some people are just way over the top.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Valentine's Day Photo Shoot

We finally got our Valentine's Day photos done, so friends and family can expect to see some of these adorable photos (and more) in the mail by February 14th!

We had so much fun taking these, even though it was hard to get everyone to look at the same time. Danya took the photo of Daniel, Kevin, and me. Didn't she do a good job? We just printed the photos last night. The girls and I made handmade Valentine's cards last week with their new card making stamp set. We should be mailing them out tomorrow.


Kevin is seven months old! Daniel made the sign this month...okay, so he made the large seven leaning against Kevin's back.

What's new? Kevin can stay sitting up on his own much better now. He can easily roll from front to back and vice versa. His hair is growing a little more. Even his eyelashes seem longer! He has his first tooth. He's eating level 3 baby foods. He arches his back when he wants to stand up. He talks all the time! He gives adorable little open mouth kisses. He also likes to dump his toy truck out. We fill it back up and he dumps it again.

He's growing by leaps and bounds! I can't wait to see what's new next month!

Kevin's First Tooth!

Kevin got his first tooth a few days ago, and another one is coming up right beside it. If you click on this picture you should be able to see the little white tops sticking out of his gums.

Poor guy, he's been running a slight fever, sleeping poorly, and fussing alot. He also chews on everything and everyone he can get his sore little gums on. It's good timing, I guess, since I'm trying to wean him. Hopefully it will motivate me to complete the process. I'd like to have him completely weaned in the next two weeks so that I won't have to worry about nursing him while Daniel and I are covered in paint at our new house.

Monday, February 05, 2007

True Grit!

Gloria, Daniel, and I tried out our new power sander while Danya was at school last week. We figured it would make a fun home school project under the category of "shop class" or maybe "home ec". Then again, it could qualify as "life skills".

Either way it was alot of fun. We talked about safety procedures, for instance why we need to wear a mask. We also learned why we should have all been wearing eye protection: little bits of sanded off wood fly through the air and can irritate your eyes. So we'll be purchasing those to do the sanding work at our new house in preparation for painting.

We plan to finish sanding both of these end tables that my mom found for us at a garage sale years ago. Then we'll paint them dark green to coordinate with all our other little projects.

Cart Crash!

Thank God Kevin wasn't in the cart! We were at Wal-mart taking pictures of cool stuff in the automotive department to decorate Kevin's new bedroom in a car theme.

The girls were in the cart horsing around. I looked over at them in time to see them both hanging over the side trying to grab a shelf to pull themselves toward it in the cart. I started to tell them to let go, but just then the cart overbalanced. I saw the wheels go out from under them and the whole cart flipped over. They were tangled with the cart and some small boxes.

I and another mom rushed over to them, both scooping up one of my hysterical little girls. Gloria's arm was red and Danya's leg was sore, but otherwise they were just scared, not seriously hurt. A store manager and an associate ran to help us. They heard the noise and wanted to know if we wanted to fill out an accident report. We decided not to. The girls calmed down a few minutes later. I think they learned an important lesson. They both wanted to get back in the cart, but they were much more careful after that.

Chair Repair

We watch those home improvement shows all the time. I like "Trading Spaces" and "Flip This House" among others. On alot of those shows they will do a simple upgrade of ugly kitchen chairs. It looked so easy that we finally decided to try it!

First we unscrewed the seats from the chair frames. We made sure the seats were as clean as we could get them, although they were still stained and ugly. Next we laid them down as a template on the green fabric remnant we bought at Joanne's Fabric. We cut the fabric to fit, then stretched it over the seats. Then we stapled the fabric in to the underside of the seat. Finally, we reattached the seats to the frames.

Don't they look great! You can see the phenomenal difference between the before and after photos! We picked fabric that would match the dark green color we are planning to paint the kitchen cabinets in our new house. It also coordinates with our curtains and accent pillow in our living room. It was a very quick and inexpensive project. I wish we had done it years ago!

Upgrading Our New Home

We are compiling a steadily growing list of things we would like to replace in our new home. So we took my camera and went to Lowe's, Home Depot, Wal-mart, and some other stores to take pictures of the items we'd like to buy.

The pictures on the right are the front door we'd like, and the nicest cabinets we could reasonably afford. It's the installation that is the most costly aspect for the cabinets. We're looking at replacing:

1. bathroom mirrors
2. sink faucets in bathrooms & kitchen
3. doors throughout the house
4. tile in bathrooms & kitchen
5. light fixtures
6. stove

We may also get a dishwasher and a cabinet-mounted microwave. Then of course there are also the bigger ticket items like the cabinets, carpets, paint, garage door, water heater, furnace, and adding air conditioning. We also have to pay the roofer, painter (for the exterior), installation for the garage, carpets, cabinets, new gutters, and the radon mitigation system. Yeah, it's adding up, but when we're finished everything will feel new and fresh!

Kids: Adopting and Raising Them

Dealing with the ups and downs of raising our three kids, it sure is difficult to imagine what our lives will be like once the adoption process is almost completed. Kevin was sick on Sunday with
a stomach flu. He seems mostly better today. Daniel had to deal with that and both girls while I was at an 8 hour super bowl crop at our local scrapbook store. If we do adopt 4 kids, he would be taking care of all 7 of our children anytime that I'm not home...and vice versa. I think we can handle it with God's help and a good sense of humor.
This week we attended a meeting and a class on adoption. They were both very informative and helpful. We learned alot about what a foster child goes through before they finally make it to their adoptive family's home. We also got fingerprinted in Boulder, CO. On the way back home we got caught in a traffic jam. We used the two hour drive (to go 30 miles!) well. I read the DHS questionaire out loud to Daniel and wrote down his answers. We were only going 5 miles an hour, so I don't think I distracted him too much.
This month we have to finish taking the required adoption/foster classes, take a CPR/first aid class, read some books on adoption and write book reports, turn in our proof of car insurance, get physicals from our doctor, and hopefully have 3 of our friends write reference letters saying what great parents we are. (modest, aren't we?) Next month, hopefully, they will start the homestudy.