Sunday, October 23, 2016

Ending summer in Thompson Falls, Montana

Before we knew what a stressful event getting our house painted would be, we'd planned a weekend getaway to a random destination within a 4 hour drive (a sane distance for weekend travel with 2 kids) to Thompson Falls, Montana -- a place we hadn't yet explored together. I'd found what appeared to be a fabulous place to stay on airbnb (& it was fabulous -- our accommodations were in the walk-out basement apartment at this spectacular location!).

Pict from here

After the stress and utter exhaustion of our getting our house prepped and painted, we were so so so glad to have a getaway booked so that we didn't have to look at (or think) about our house for a couple days.

Thompson Falls is not really a "destination," which was perfect. It's beautiful and great for exploring but you don't feel like you're going to miss something important if you just hang out and relax. Truly perfect for where we're at.

We had the added bonus of a beautiful drive.

Our accommodations were set up with tons of space to roam and lots of fun activities to entertain the kids with.

For those of us who miss having an outhouse (which after 3 years of using one, we DO actually miss them), there was even a super cute outhouse ready for use :)

Thompson Falls had water, mountains and trees. Super pretty and extremely refreshing after spending our summer in the rather vanilla Moscow.

Smoke from some area wildfires made a rather eerie landscape at times.

We visited the beautiful Ross Creek Cedar Forest where some of the Cedar trees are 1000 years old.

AND went blueberry picking - one of our favorite northwest summer activities. YUM!

Lastly, we'd found a hike above the Clark Fork River to do on our way back to Moscow. Another beautiful day.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Bathroom makeover - part 1

Last Monday I had a really, really rough day with Luke. On a daily basis his actions remind me of how quickly and easily he will hurt Mabel, on purpose and without provocation. Last Monday we nearly ended up at the hospital; all because I stepped away from him to put a bagel in the toaster.

Of course parenting can be very exhausting - the constant-ness of it and how little ever seems to be accomplished. After that particularly stressful & draining day, I needed to do something where I could actually SEE results and I took on our bathroom :)

We are super happy to have a fully functioning bathroom - hot, running water and a flush toilet are things we have lived without in the past and we know we are blessed with these luxuries. That being said ... pictures of our bathroom weren't even part of the real estate listing when we bought our house. It was/is a bit sad looking.

When my Mom stayed with us after Mabel was born, she graciously sanded and painted the window trim, the door and the vanity cabinet. Afterwards, she re-grouted the vanity tile-top and scraped all the black gunge from around each the floor squares. What a trooper!

Shortly after, we even got a door knob for the door and were feeling very fancy :)

My project focused just on one wall to begin with ... getting rid of the crazy tile (that does a full loop around the bathroom!) and applying paint. Seemed simple enough. Of course in this house nothing is really simple.

The tile was hiding some very interesting wall repair work ... not something I have the skills to fix properly. What do you do when part of your wall sticks out a half inch farther than the rest??

After I got some sample paint up, I realized that similar to our bedroom painting fiasco the paint was peeling off in huge sheets and the wall would need to be scraped, sanded, primered and then finally painted. Lovely.

After nearly a full week of working on just this one wall during every free moment I had from the kids, here's the result. Exciting to see what it can look like, but also pretty daunting considering how much is still left to do.

(color = Whirlpool with Dover White)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A house, painted.

A picture of our house pre-purchase. Even before we made an offer on it, I really wanted to give it a face lift. The colors just didn't seem to work. And while I don't know if we really nailed the new color or not, I know that at least it's an improvement :)

Unfortunately, the week prior to paint day was absolutely horrendous.  A crew of volunteers was scheduled to do the prep work the weekend before (which had been a huge relief to us as there was SO SO much peeling paint to be scraped and sanded), but it was as if they too realized what hard work it would be and decided to just not do it.  Instead things were done which we had to turn around and spend time un-doing.  Unbelievably disappointing, frustrating and incredibly stressful. 

We didn't want the paint we'd purchased to be applied to unprepped surfaces so we spent the week frantically completing the prep ourselves -- at all hours of the day and into the night. We had friends from our small group come help and Jason's parents came down for a day as well. Collectively, we must have put over 70 hours into it just during that week. Thankfully, it was also Jason's first week of school so he did not have much homework yet and no long lab classes, and his student job hadn't started yet ... so he had more time that he would the rest of the year. It felt a bit like we were being tortured, but we got it done.

Over 150 volunteers worked on our house. The day before paint day, we had the U of I track team helping us finish the prep work and on paint day volunteers came in groups of 20-30 for a couple hours each; both groups were diligent, hard workers with great attitudes. In spite of the incredible stress from the week before, we continue feel overwhelming grateful to the students who spent their time making our home look a little prettier. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Being a "Happy Girl"

This past weekend I got to run a 10k race in Spokane with some of my Moscow mom-friends ... several who also had babies in the past year.  I had heard about the Happy Girls Run last year and was immediately interested in this fun, women's only, trail run. I also knew that if I was going to get back into running I would need to commit to a race. This seemed like the perfect opportunity. Jason in his usual fashion, wholeheartedly supported me (meaning, three times a week for the past 4 months, he's been pushing the double jog stroller with the kids while I ran alongside).

Once the race began and the nerves calmed, it was a really fun day ... beautiful, beautiful course, alongside a river with the trees in their fall splendor for part of the way. Mid-way through I realized that perhaps this was my 40th birthday present to myself, a few weeks belated. A great gift to physically be able to do something like this.


Post-race ... not too worse for the wear, but definitely glad to be DONE!