Monday, November 21, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

Exactly five months ago today, we drove away from our home, knowing that it would soon be inundated by the Mouse River.  We didn't know what we would come back to, or when we would be able to return, but one thing we always knew: we were coming back.

So, here we are...five months later.  WE'RE BACK.

I cannot express in typed words the excitement I feel being back in our home, but I can tell you that it is all very bittersweet.  Yes, we have a beautiful new place to call home, but I would give it ALL back in a heartbeat if our family and friends could have their homes back.  It's been a nightmare of a summer and fall, but I have faith that things will get better for everyone very soon.  

Now, before I show you what our home looks like today, let's take a trip back to February of 2010, the day we closed on our house at #5 Fairway.  This was our kitchen/family room before:

And here is our kitchen a few days ago:
Now, take a look at it with the pretty lights installed:

Here's my favorite part (the floor):
Calvin enjoys the new seating.  No more high chair!
I took these pictures randomly over the past couple of weeks, so some of the projects appear to be a work in progress, but are actually finished.  This is the master bath flooring, minus the grout.
 This is the main bath flooring, finished.  
It's the same color of tile, but this picture shows the color better.
The carpet is in in our bedroom...
 ...and Calvin's room.
And now for Natalie's room.  I found this fantastic chandelier online that I fell in love with--I knew it needed to go in Natalie's room.
It's one of my favorite things about the new house!!

Okay, so to be truthful, we've moved back in, but the house isn't truly finished yet.  The final plumbing work is set for Wednesday, so we don't have running water.  Our appliances aren't hooked up, either, so no cooking here just yet.  Thank goodness we have a FEMA trailer on our lot (Jim & Lori's), because that means we can live here NOW!  

I promise to add more pictures soon---but it's late and I still have an episode of "Castle" to watch before I call it a night.  Sweet dreams, everyone!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Birthday Boy

Calvin is TWO!  It's hard for me to believe that chubby little bundle of joy we met in the hospital has been with us now for two full years.  He has been an absolute blessing in our lives...he's a busy little guy who loves everyone and wants everyone to smile.

One thing you should know about Calvin right now...HE LOVES CARS!  Every morning, when I go to pluck him from his crib, he looks at me and says, "Mommy?  In da car."  Every night when I tuck him into bed, he looks at me and says, "Mommy?  In-a-da-in-a-da car."  All day long, he talks about "Daddy in da car" or "Mommy in da car."  He would live inside the car if we would let him.  I'm not kidding.  It really doesn't surprise me, because that's where all of the buttons and switches are.  It's a wonderland for him!

So, while he really isn't into watching TV or movies, I figured his birthday theme should be...drum roll please.............


And like any normal two year old, his favorite food is....


Here are two of his cute little cousins, Meredith (L), and Stella (R).  
We can't forget about his cute little cousin, Harper...
...or his cousin Nolan and sister, Natalie!

Calvin always has kisses for Natalie.  I love how he grabs her face when he gives her a smooch--he loves her so much!
He's a big fan of Daddy, too.  My boys...they're so cute!

So, this year, Calvin really figured out the whole opening presents thing.  He tore right into them!

Needless to say, he got lots of presents that he'll enjoy for a long time...some of which I won't pull back out until we get back into our house (hopefully VERY soon!).  But there was one present I knew he would be over the moon about...

A CAR!  (I was right.)

He spends most of his day in the car now, giving baby bear and tiger rides or hiding from me when he doesn't want to nap or get his diaper changed.  That kid cracks me up.

Unfortunately, Daddy kind of failed in the construction of Calvin's new ride.

In his defense, he had a short period of time to construct a toy car from what looked to be two thousand pieces.  He did a great job!

Look at all of the people who came to celebrate Cal's birthday!

It was so much fun watching Cal while everyone sang "Happy Birthday."  He was so excited, he started squealing!  This is such a fun age...

I can't wait to give him the biggest present of all---his home.  What a relief it will be to tuck him into bed each night in his own room.  This has been a rough year, but celebrating a birthday reminds us that life goes on, whether we're in our home or not, and we just have to keep making the memories!  Happy birthday to my bright, bubbly, busy little boy.  I love you!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Sweet Smell of Paint

It's all coming together now!  All of those decisions that were made weeks ago from tiny little samples are magnified as they are brought to life in our home.  On Thursday, our kitchen cabinetry installation began. We went through Minot Sash & Door for the cabinets.  Sash & Door goes through a company called Midcontinent Cabinetry for the prefabricated stuff that we used, mainly because it's much less expensive, but also because it arrives in three weeks instead of three months.  
Just because they're pre-fabricated doesn't mean you don't have a plethora of choices for your cabinets, so this was a somewhat difficult decision for me.  I've always loved the look of white cabinets, but I also like dark cherry cabinets.  In the end I referred to a designer, whose blog I follow, who noted that white cabinets are true.  So, it's antique white painted maple.  Love it.

I also love the cabinets that will frame the kitchen window; however, I'm still undecided as to whether the glass in the pane will be clear, frosted, patterned, etc.  I don't have to decide right now, I guess.
Here's the lazy susan that I'm hoping will actually work, as opposed to the old lazy susan which collapsed from the weight of two tomato soup cans.
More work being done by our cabinet guy, who is super friendly and is doing a fabulous job.  As a bonus, English is his first language.  After having the drywall guys repeat a single response for the fifth time, I told him that I am simply used to Norwegian accents around these parts.  I don't think he understood what I said.
There are lots of nooks and crannies for Calvin to hide in these days.  He is currently standing where our dishwasher will be---oh, I can't wait to have a dishwasher again!
As of Friday night, this is how the kitchen looked.  There are still lots of adjustments to be made and doors to be added.  The island will go in following the flooring installation.
Here's a look at our bathroom vanities--same style, but with an espresso stain instead of antique white paint.
Dad is working hard here painting our new walk-in closet.  Oh, how nice it will be to have a grown up closet.  
Perry is painting our bedroom here.  My friend Maria noted that this color, which is also in the living room and hallway, looks like coffee with creamer.  Yum, I like it even more now.  It'll just feed into my coffee addiction.

There's still much more painting to do.  It seems neverending, but we've made a pretty huge dent thus far.  I have a couple of fun projects for the kids' rooms that I'll share with you in the week to come.

When will we move in?  Well, my best guess at this point is 2-3 weeks.  I miss home so much and I can't wait to be sleeping in our bedroom and returning to a somewhat normal life.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Return of the Walls

Follow Calvin on a tour of his new and improved home sweet home! 
The first layer of taping is done and texture should be finished by Saturday.  After that, it's PAINT, PAINT, PAINT AND MORE PAINT.  Wow!  That means I have to pick out colors.  I'm such a procrastinator.

This is what you see when you come through the front door.  The fireplace no longer stands in the middle of the house.  It has been replaced by a wall, which I am so excited to decorate with family photos.  I have a few of them. ;)

Here you are looking back to where I was standing in the last picture.  The angled door is the door to Natalie's new and larger room.  I love how the angled door looks, and it will be so functional for wheelchair access.

This is looking down the hallway from the bedroom area.  We lost a big hall closet in the remodel...but it was worth it because it became part of our master bedroom's closet!  

Calvin is checking out the electrical wiring.  He is quite intrigued by this, which comes as no surprise to this mommy, who spends most of her time telling Calvin to "STAY AWAY FROM THE OUTLETS!" 

Maybe bringing Calvin here today wasn't such a great idea...he left his fingerprints (quite literally) in the house.  This is wet joint compound.  I quickly tried to fix it---hopefully the workers don't notice!

 Calvin is standing in his bedroom.  I get really sad when he's in his room for some reason.  He is missing out on 6 months of his life in this room.  I often wonder what he's thinking when he's in our house...if he remembers it or is just confused.  I get the feeling that he remembers it when he looks out the front window.

If you know me well, you know that I detest overhead lighting.  It's all about lighting, people.  I need all the help I can get.  Well, there is one exception to the overhead lighting rule---RECESSED LIGHTING.  It makes ya look purdy.  That's why it was a priority on my list for the electrical work.  Yippee...recessed lighting, dimmers...I may not need to wear makeup ever again.  BAHAHAHAHA.  Yeah, right.

On to the mudroom and garage.  This room was pretty much hideous before with its wood paneling and commercial grade carpet that had seen better days.  It already looks a million times better.  
 Ditto for the garage, which had some pretty beat up sheetrock pre-flood.  It looks all nice and new now.  It's like our house got a facelift, a tummy tuck, the whole works!

And now...for our most favorite room in the house---THE FAMILY/GREAT ROOM!  No more ugly wood beams and outdated kitchen cabinetry...everything is now designed around how we live.  The old wood burning fireplace needed to come out along with everything else, but I wasn't willing to say goodbye to a fireplace altogether.  It's kind of the anchor in the room.  So, we put in a gas fireplace instead, which is much more practical, and also a great heat source.  In the winter, we can turn it on and spend most of the day in the family room, which we do already.  I also don't have to worry about cleaning out a fireplace.  Yesssssssss.
 Our patio door lost one panel--which is okay with me.  It makes much more sense to have a two door patio door---three doors took up too much wall space.
 The kitchen area.  I get a warm and fuzzy feeling when I think about all of the wonderful things I'll have in my kitchen.  You'll see it all next week!

Okay, this brings me to something I've wanted to share with you for quite some time now.  This is a difficult process for us, as it is for everyone else in Minot.  We'd all love to give all the new stuff back if we could just have our old Minot back, full of green lawns and living in our own homes.  I wish we could erase 2011 from our memories, but we can't.  Every day we wake up realizing that we're not home.  It's sad, but we are fortunate in that we plan on staying in our home for the rest of our lives.  

That is why we had some big choices to make along the way when it comes to finishes in our house.  We're not preparing our house for sale, we're preparing it for us.  We've been blessed to have friends and family help us with so much thus far, and that's why we were able to do some special things for us to enjoy.  We needed to get a new oven and cooktop, which were left behind in the flood, but with new cabinets, a new oven and new cooktop, our old duct-taped fridge would have looked strange, so we got that.  When we're looking at flooring, we need something that's wheelchair-friendly and will last for decades, so we're doing hardwood instead of laminate.  I want to share this with you because when you see the finished product, I don't want you to think we're living the high life thanks to the generosity of others.  We're simply trying to make sure we're putting in the things that will last, but with a steady eye on our budget.  

Okay, that's all I have for today, but there's much more to come.  We'll start getting into the fun stuff soon!