Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Note to Jack

Yesterday I was cleaning up the boys' room and rearranging all the furniture etc. I found this folded up note on the floor.

It was so sweet. I have no idea when it was written, my guess would be last weekend or the weekend before. The kids play really well together and they get along for the most part. That is one of the things I am most proud of as a parent. I can remember fighting with my sister and brother constantly. I have no idea when this will change, I wish I could bottle it up and keep it forever.
One of the things I think has come out of our situation is that the kids have no other choice than to be close. Our old home was pretty small and now, living with grandma and grandpa, things are extraordinarily tight. Fortunately, the kids don't know any different. They haven't gotten possesive over their own space or things and they share often. I love to listen to them play, scheme and talk to each other. I hope they will always be this close, but I know that's not likely to be the case. I am going to keep the note, evidence that at one time, their idea of fun was playing together.

Picture Season

I think one of the most expensive things about back to school is the amount of money I have to shell out for pictures. We have school pictures for all the kids, soccer pictures for Hailey and Jackson, gymnastic pictures for Hailey and Annaliese and football pictures for Jackson. I can't imagine how much this is going to cost once all of them are in school! But, I am a sucker for pictures, so I pay up and grin from ear to ear when they come back. And I love those buttons you can get - what's another $10 anyway? We still don't have Jack's football or soccer ones back yet, but here are some of this season's pictures.

Jackson is in 1st grade this year. Kind of a stiff smile, but it works. Hailey is in 3rd grade. This year she showed some teeth, love her smile.

When we showed up for the gymnastics pictures, the girls had to do theirs individually and then with their teams. She asked if I wanted the girls together and I was going to say no, but then I figured why not. I am bummed I didn't get a wallet of this one, it turned out adorable. Hailey's soccer picture, U10 this year, the ball is bigger than her head!
When I get Jackson's pictures in, I will post those as well. He wanted to make sure we got a button for Brad of his soccer picture. Nice to know they appreciate those too.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Flip House

Shortly after the flood, we purchased a property near our home. Actually, the back yard of this house runs up against the back of ours. The owners received a settlement and wanted out of the house. It was an opportunity that we couldn't pass up. So, as if we didn't have enough to do with our own home, we are now also working on what we call the "flip house". It is a cute little house, or at least it will be. At about 1200 square feet and three bedrooms when completed, it will be a nice home. We gutted the whole thing. The first few pictures are of what it looked like when we bought it.

Original front of the house.

The first picture is looking from the front entrance to the rear entrance. Second is the gutted kitchen. Third picture is the living room, complete with faux brick, love it!

Brad looking out from the living room. And the rear of the house.

Brad says the house was cobbled up worse than ours was. He has spent and incredible amount of time just trying to get the floors in, replacing floor joists, gutting the house, reinforcing all the floors and redoing what was previously done so poorly. Now that most of the floors are in, he has started framing up the house. We completely redesigned the floor plan to make it more open, moving the stairs, rearranging the bedrooms and opening up the kitchen, dining and living room areas.

While we have been working on this house, we have been looking for things for our new home as well and we have come across some great deals for this house. Basically, we are working on a very small budget so everything that we can do to help with that, we are doing.
Brad has a knack for finding these awesome deals. Our favorite store is the Lowe's in Ames. I have made some trips there just to get things for this house and ours. I never knew I would get so excited about bathroom fixtures.

Choosing to do this house means that we will be able to have the house that we want for ourselves. All the profit will roll into the other house when we sell this house. At times it seems like this might not have been the best idea, after all, Brad spends most nights over there and the whole weekend. This leaves me as a single parent most of the times and I know it's not going to get better anytime soon. I wish I could help with the house more, but having all these kiddos running around is a full time job!

(I wrote the previous in February but never posted. This is where we are at now.)

This is the house before we were finished with the garage doors or the siding. No landscaping yet either.

Finally, all the outside is done, even the lighting and landscaping. The mound of dirt has been moved into the garage to fill up that spot in the basement. Need to take a new pic to post that shows the difference.

From the backyard. We actually changed the porches to match and fenced in the backyard. More pics to come on that one too. Side view on the right.

So, where are we at now? We passed our first electric inspection so that part is all done now. We are getting ready to start the plumbing and then by late next week or shortly thereafter we should be onto the drywall. From there, I think it will go pretty quickly. I will be able to help a lot more and then I predict a lot of long days and late nights. As soon as we are done with the flip house, we will start on ours and yes, I can not wait for that! More pics and details to come as we get this thing finished!

Back to School

The kids are back in school now. They started the end of August. Hailey is in 3rd grade with Mrs. Plate and Jackson is in 1st grade with Mrs. Steiner. They both love their classes and are doing very well. Most of their friends are in the other classes but that's not always a bad thing.

Typical picture outside the first day of school. We also got one of all the kids. Anderson was really upset for some reason, can't remember why now. Annaliese looks so happy like she actually gets to go too.

After we arrived at school

Annaliese started preschool August 31st. She is still going to Orchard Hill Preschool, now 3 days a week. She has a new teacher, Mrs. Stephens. She seems to like her a lot but misses Mrs. Doyle and Mrs. A. (as she called her) She is finally coming out of her shell and will answer questions in class. And all of her friends are in her class again. So happy for her. Anderson will have to wait until next year for preschool. With an August birthday, he is way too young yet. I was thinking that finally next year I would have a couple hours to myself while he is in school, but no, not the case. Now I will have another little one to take care of!

Monday, September 14, 2009


I know this is really pitiful that I haven't updated since April. We had a full summer as I am sure most of you did. Now it's over and it still feels like summer. I'm wondering where all this hot and humid weather was in July?! So, this is a quick update on our summer. Basically, we worked on the house and went to the pool, but there were a few fun things in there...

Annaliese's picnic for the end of preschool - one of my favorite pictures.

VBS in June - kids had a blast with Crocodile Dock.

Sturgis Falls in June - We walked with the Sno-Hawks, the Cedar Valley Snowmobile club. Jackson rode his Kitty Cat and the girls were there to look pretty.

Time out for good friends. We got together with Elke, Jonna and Ellie and all the kids. I miss hanging out with them, definitely need to do it more often!

The girls had pedicures with Grandma Bev. It was Annaliese's first time, I think she's hooked!

Family reunion weekend - Friday we had a luncheon in Sumner, the girls look so pretty.

We had a Hurley family weekend at Hickory Hills, the same weekend as the Westendorf reunion, so we tried to fit it all in. The kids had fun and made t-shirts and hats to take home.

The Block Family at the reunion. One of the best family pictures we have taken.

Grandpa Wayne was even smiling!

Anderson turned 3 on August 21st (also our 10 year anniversary) I made these little pupcakes that turned out so cute. I do need to practice, but pretty good for a first try. Anderson loved them.

So, that's my update. Not sure what happened to pictures of July? Oh well, that's what I get for procrastinating. Seriously, I do hope to be a little more consistent with posting. Kids are all back in school (I should probably find those pics and post those?) for the most part it's just Annaliese and Anderson, minus her preschool time.

Things are getting more and more hectic this fall. We are on the tail end of finishing the flip house (I know, another post I should do...) the kids have started their sports. Hailey is in soccer and gymnastics, I am the assistant coach for her soccer team this year. Annaliese is in gymnastics. Jackson is doing flag football and soccer, first time for both. Fortunately, Anderson hasn't started sports yet!

We do have some things to look forward to - the flip house will be done soon and then we can start on our house. We have a floor plan finalized and I can't wait to get that going. Brad and I are also going on an Eastern Caribbean cruise at the end of October to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. Hard to believe it's been that long.

I can't promise that I will be that diligent on updates but I don't think I can get much worse! I need to follow the lead of my fellow bloggers that do this so much better than me - Jen, Kimber, Jess, etc.!
Happy Fall~