Thursday, May 17, 2018

Having VISITORS!!!

Woo-hoo! We are excited to now have space to easily host friends & family overnight. Our basement has two bedrooms and a bathroom which has been super nice to have available. One of Jason's work colleagues spent the night last month while attending a conference, but we got to have our first "real" visitors over the weekend -- our Nebraska friends, the Deeds Family.

It was a really special time, especially since they will be moving to a different part of the country this July. We are so thankful to have had a chance to live near this precious family for the past eight months.
We all fit around the table in our "eat in" kitchen

Jason & Will got a run in together -- 

Mabel LOVES baby Simeon - who is two years younger than her but nearly the same size!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Out West

We've been back for a week now from our grand adventure West and are starting to feel somewhat back to normal. We had a great time with Jason's family and then saw sooooo many of our Moscow friends. It was really awesome!

All went pretty smoothly outside of the fact that Luke, Mabel & Jason all had a rotating 24-hr flu :( (with Luke's starting 2 hours into our 14 hour drive out -- it made for a memorable car ride for sure!)

One of the first things we enjoyed on our road trip was seeing "real" mountains again ... we were in awe of our views of the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming, then the Bear Tooth, Rockies and Bitterroots in Montana. What a sight!

Our first destination was Coeur d'Alene -- spending a night with friends, then heading to lakeside condos for two days which Jason's parents had generously provided for the whole family. We were super happy to be back at this gorgeous lake and enjoying family time together!

Next we headed to Spokane with Jason's family for a couple days, visiting my favorite Manito Park and a new playground, Discovery Park, then getting to spend time watching one of his his nieces practice gymnastics.

Next, it was time to catch up with our community in Moscow. Our friends here made us feel incredibly welcome, important and missed. It was a good reminder of what community can look like and an encouragement to keep working on good community here in Rapid City. What a blessing it was to see these amazing people.

Lina, Riley, Kajsa, Luke, Cassius & Mabel

My Bible study group, celebrating April's 42nd birthday -- with Alli & myself not far behind!

With the Moore kids -- Casper, Malcom, Luke, Everly, Briar & Mabel

At the Fountain's house -- having our final dinner in Moscow, with the Fountain clan racing the subaru as we left :)

Felt super happy to get to attend the first Moscow Farmer's Market of the season -- one of our favorite places!

One final beach date on our way back East -- spending time with family & friends in Coeur d'Alene

Last views of the mountains as we head East and home

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Having a Mother's Day Treat

Today makes my 5th year of being a Mom. I feel honored and overwhelmed by what it means to be a mother. I am grateful to all the women out there who have been "mothers" to me at the moment I needed them, and especially thankful for my own Mom (who is coming for a visit on Tuesday - woohoo!).

My day started at 5:25 am, when Luke excitedly arose to make me "breakfast in bed"  
With Jason's assistance, this beautiful tray soon arrived. Nice and early :)

Friday, April 27, 2018

On the road again

We are excited to be heading West (to Coeur d'Alene, Spokane and Moscow). It's l-o-n-g day in the car to get there but worth it to get to see family and friends!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Enjoying the start of Spring ... a month late

Although I knew that the winters here would be colder with more dramatic weather compared to Idaho, I did not expect it to last so so much longer. :(  Our very first tiny flowers are just starting to show up. So glad to see them!

We had fantastically beautiful weather this past weekend. The first lovely weekend of the year. We spent as much time outdoors as we could and it was such a relief to be able to be outside without all the heavy winter layers. We even had an impromptu backyard bonfire in our fire ring. The first of many more, we hope :)

Friday, April 20, 2018

Learning how to refinish floors & other things

We've officially been South Dakota homeowners for just over a month. It has truly been a whirlwind.  After we took this first photo in front of our new purchase, we spent that evening just trying to get a small space clean. The entire house was pretty sickeningly dirty, with a lot of leftovers from pets who had been roaming freely. Ick.

We felt really fortunate to have two weeks during which we were still living in our rental while putting in as many hours as we could at our new place. We would put the kids to bed in the one clean room and then work late into the night on many night. We knew anything we could get done before moving in would be a huge benefit.

Our biggest focus was on the things that would be hardest to do once we were already in the space ... which meant project #1 was figuring out how to refinish the hardwood floors which had peeling varnish, water damage, large gaps between boards and different stain colors from room to room. Nice!

Jason was amazing with his adventurous spirit and decided to give it a try. It didn't really sound too hard...

Except that our brains seemed to automatically tune out some of the tedious details ... like that you need to go over the floors with at least three different grits of sandpaper and use two types of sanders (one for the main area, one for the edges); cleaning up all the dust, etc after each time. Then once all that sanding and cleaning is done, the floor is cleaned with mineral spirits, then treated with a wood conditioner, then stained and then finally several coats of polyurethane.

What most write-ups don't give any tips on is what to do when you encounter irreversible mistakes made by previous re-finishers. Ugh. Turns out, we could have used some help in that area.

After days of work, there was something on the floors that did not allow the stain to adhere properly in the living room and hallway, leaving crazy splotches everywhere :(.  Additionally, the previous refinisher of those floors had left at least 20 places where they'd allowed the sander to gouge out long strips of the floor. Such a bummer and very disheartening.

We decided to spend one more day re-sanding and staining the bigger splotches

It didn't totally fix the issue, but we didn't know what else to do and knew we just needed to finish it up and move on.

Next came some work in the kitchen - pulling up the cracked/broken/dirty floor tile and refinishing the brown-checked counter top & backsplash ...

I felt a little bad to cover up such perfectly retro tile ... but I just didn't think I wanted to live with it long-term even if I could appreciate how awesomely 50's it was.

Cabinet refinishing to follow ...

After that came lots of wall repairs, priming, painting and always more cleaning.

And, then our two weeks was up and it was time to MOVE. We felt incredibly blessed by six folks from our church who showed up to load/unload and by a break in the snowy/windy/freezing weather.

Everything was IN and we were left wishing that like our last move, we could just take off to Vermont for a week and deal with unpacking later. No deal this time. And while I'm thankful our living room has been transformed from the above picture to the below ... we still have a lot of unpacking, sorting and organizing to do (in addition to completing many, many more projects on the house).

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Watching Luke turn 5!!

Luke turned 5 on Monday and I have to admit, it has felt like a big milestone. For us and for him. He's officially out of the baby/toddler years and that is crazy. We feel so fortunate to have him be part of our lives. We know he is a special gift and we are thankful for him.

I'll admit, I did feel a bit badly as I had very little time to prep for his birthday -- we've been working on our new house for the past two weeks during any/every moment we could, then moved our stuff Friday, cleaned our old home on Saturday, had Easter on Sunday and then his birthday Monday. Whew! It was quite a blur.

We felt really glad that in spite of the start to some more terrible weather ...

... Luke still had 7 of his friends come out for a playdate to celebrate him. Another special gift, the Outdoor Campus (which has a wonderful indoor area for kids) was closed on Monday, but the security guard had been given clearance to have it open and let us all in!! So so thankful for that kind man.

After seeing pictures of a "rainbow cake," Luke had requested the same for his birthday. My attempt was very last minute. It's not the colors of a rainbow, but it's a layer cake with different colors. Pretty good I think considering we're still in the midst of unpacking.