Saturday, June 28, 2008

Build-A-Bear Birthday Bash!

We survived! Rachel's birthday party was a lot of fun. We had ten friends and family show up to make an animal and I think they all had tons of fun. We all met at the store and they could not wait to choose what animal they were going to take home. Rachel and Rebekah quickly found what they wanted....a bunny. But, they each choose a different bunny! Rachel named her bunny, Quincy Briley, after her friend, Quincy, from school. Rebekah named her bunny, Katie, but after coming home has said her name is Sally!

The party set up at Build-A-Bear is really neat. The party coach takes over and the kids are entertained the entire time. Everything flowed quickly and before we knew it, the party was all over! Here are a few snapshots from the party. This first one is Quincy, Rachel and Evelynne, with their animals.

Here they are getting their party names and playing a few games while we waited for the rest of the guests to arrive.

They gave everyone two red hearts. They hugged, loved and made a wish on the first heart and put it into their own animal. Then, they hugged, loved and made a wish for Rachel on the second heart and everyone put their second heart into Rachel's bunny! In this photo is Rachel's cousins, Courtney and Joshua, Emily, Evelynne, Kathryn, Sarah, Rachel, Quincy, Joseph.

After the party was all over and everyone had stuffed, fluffed, dressed and registered their animal, we headed downstairs to the food court for cake. Rachel chose to open her presents first. She got more clothes for her Build-A-Bear, a doll, Polly Pocket stuff, Littlest Pet Shop stuff, a cool bag with her name on it, money, and lots of craft supplies. And after the presents....comes the cake! Rachel was so surprised to see her cake and see that SHE and her bear, Pink Kiss, were on it! It turned out great. I had a good friend who made it for me and she did a wonderful job. The image on it was an edible image...which all the kids thought was really neat.

When we got home, it was late and definitely past their bedtime. They wanted to have a slumber party with their animals. So, we got out the sleeping bags and made places for everyone. Here is a shot right before lights out. They were so excited, but it didn't take long for them to go to sleep.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Cost of Going Green

Yesterday we spent two hours in Lowe's getting all of our light bulbs picked out. We had a big list to find exactly what our lights required. We needed dimmable can lights, regular 40W CFL's, regular 60W CFL's, decorative CFL, ceiling fan CFL's in both wattages, regular can light, etc. What a mess!!! And for a little less than $500 later, we had all the lights for our house. And, it was nice because when we got out there, we were able to put them in the fixtures! Here are some photos for your enjoyment. Rachel and Rebekah have the same fan in their bedrooms. They are very girly and the pinks matched perfectly.

Here is Nana's fan. This same fan is in the play room and the oil rubbed bronze version of this fan is in the breakfast area.

Here is the fan in the family room. I love how it looks. We didn't put a light on this one because we have eight can lights in there too.

And here is our dining room chandelier. It has nine lights on it and looks great. The light in our entryway is in the same family as the dining room, but only has three lights and they face down. I tried to get a photo of it, but with the plywood in the background, it just didn't look good. You'll have to see it later, once the door gets installed.

And here is the fan in the master bedroom. This fan is sleek looking and came with a remote. Not sure if we will ever use it, but we have one if we need it! I think we would actually use one more in the family room, but that fan didn't come with one.

And last, here is a shot of the kitchen. You can see the pendant lights coming down over the bar and part of the larger light. It is a regular florescent light, but looks like one big fluffy cloud and hugs the ceiling. I really like how the pendants turned out. They have clear, almost flat globes and it keeps your eye moving right through them.

A wonderful surprise...our appliances had been delivered and installed! Well, the dishwasher wasn't, the plumber will do it next week. I am in love with my nice, large oven!!!

So, next week I should have some photos of our plumbing fixtures.

Here's a stupid contractor story for you...

I'm glad we went to the house yesterday. When we got there...the doors were left UNLOCKED and they had left with the "hidden" key. We have $2,500 worth of lighting fixtures and over $2,500 worth of appliances in there now. And, we thought it felt really cool in the house, so we checked the thermostat. It was set to HOLD at 64 degrees!!!! We don't have any insulation in our attic yet and the air would have continually ran forEVER on that setting. And guess who is footing the bill for that? WE ARE!!! So, being the techy man my husband is, he read the instructions to the thermostat and found out that we can lock the keypad and keep everyone from changing/messing with the settings!!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Major Purchase, EIFS, and More

We made another major purchase for the house last night! We bought our refrigerator. We bought a stainless steel french door style Samsung refrigerator. I love it and I'm glad we splurged a little. It will look LOVELY in our kitchen! We purchased it at Best Buy and received a $200 gift card back. Hopefully, we can use that towards the purchase of my new washer and dryer! :-) Here's a photo of the refrigerator. Isn't it pretty?!?!

Betty and I went out to the house this morning. We had to choose a new marble for the bathroom counter tops. This had to be done ASAP. We were also able to pick out the color of our garage door. All of our lighting fixtures had been delivered, so we counted up how many light bulbs we are going to need. We're going to bite the bullet and purchase all CFL bulbs. Not cheap up front, but hopefully will save us a lot on our energy bill. Took a photo of our heat pump. It doesn't look quite as large in the photo. They still have to finish out the wiring.

And the thermostat, well, I didn't take a photo. But you can click here to see a picture of it and read about all the fancy features it has. I did bring home the box and instruction manual for it. I think I will let Jon Paul figure that all out!

And a lovely surprise when we pulled up, the EIFS is all done! Here, take a look!

Sure would look even better with a front door!! Please be in prayer about this. This is the only thing that has our builder worried about closing in mid-July. This thing had to be special ordered because of the transom over the top of the door. They originally said it would take eight weeks....that was about twelve weeks ago. They have given our builder a tentative date of July 2nd. This will make it really tight. The brick, trim, hardwood floor, and sheet rock cannot be finished until the door is installed. Yuck! I just have to remain patient and know it will all work out...just like everything else has. OK, guess that is all for now. We're going back up there tomorrow after we pick up all the light bulbs. The electrician's crew was supposed to start installing the light fixtures this afternoon, so we may have lights by tomorrow! Stay tuned to see...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

More Things Are Happening!

We did make it out to the house last Saturday. The tile was laid and grouted. For the most part, it looked great! There was some problems in Betty's bathroom with some chipped and uneven tiles. Builder Bruce has assured us that it will be fixed. And the EIFS had been started. Did you know that the base of EIFS is Styrofoam? We didn't! Well, it is! You can see it in the photos below.

Here is a photo of the kitchen/breakfast area tile. You can't really see it in this picture, but it is laid in the offset, brick pattern. It's still a bit dirty. And you can't really tell, but they are the 18 inch tiles. I LOVE IT!!!

This is the master bathroom tile. Again, it's the 18 inch tiles, laid in the offset, brick pattern. You can see it better in this photo.

For the half bathroom, the girl's bathroom and Betty's bathroom, we used the same tile, but the 12 inch size. These are much smaller places and it looks really good. Here is a photo of the girl's bathroom.

And now a photo of the EIFS. This first photo was taken on Saturday. They had all of the base part done. It was a stark white - Styro-foam color! The final color will match the siding and windows. The workers were still outside when we were there, so this was the best photo of the outside.

We went back to the house on Monday. Jon Paul wanted to meet with Builder Bruce about the tile and we knew that the kitchen counter tops were installed!! But first, here is another shot of the EIFS. They put this mesh and concrete mixture over parts of it. But it is a better photo of the whole front of the house.

So, like I was saying before, the kitchen counter tops were installed and they are gorgeous. Don't are below! Also, our massive air conditioner was installed that day, actually I think it actually is a heat pump. We didn't even notice it until the counter top man said something about it. Jon Paul checked outside and I checked for the thermostat and yes, it was all there! Didn't get any photos of them. The thermostat, I think you might need a PHD to figure it out. I hope it comes with a book! I'll try to snap a few photos of them the next time we're out there. Now, for the last few photos. Here are the counter tops!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Always and Forever

It was a Monday, nine years ago today, at about this exact time (11:30 am), that I met Jon Paul face to face for the first time. We met at a Chinese restaurant on Cantrell Road in Little Rock, Arkansas. We knew we were meeting each other there. How you say?

Let me tell, for those that don't already know...Jon Paul and I met over the Internet. Yep, we're one of "those people!" We met through a site called ICQ. I had joined so I could talk with my best friend, Ann, who had just gotten married and moved to Mississippi. Well, I started talking online to this guy named Jon Paul around the first of May. We talked almost everyday. Towards the end of the month, we spoke on the phone for the first time.

Then we decided to meet in person. Practicing safety precautions (for reasons that I'm saving for another post!), I requested we meet for lunch during a work day. We would drive separate cars and have to be back to work. If I didn't show up, someone would know! Well, we met, ate lunch, talked and decided to have dinner the next Wednesday. Guess we both saw something we liked!

After that, we saw each other most everyday. It didn't take long for us both to know we were meant for each other. My family knew right away he was the one for me. You see, I never dated much...didn't see the point in it. If a guy stuck around longer than a few weeks, there must be something special about him! I didn't see the reason in dating for the fun of it. I mean, if you know you aren't going to marry the guy, why string him along, wasting your time and his? I would rather just be friends! OK, I'm off my soap box now...

So babe, I'm glad we found each other. You are my soul mate, my best friend, and the love of my life. I hope we share many more years together. You have my heart, always and forever...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

New House Update

As it goes in the contractor business, things never go quite as scheduled. So, here is the update on where we are on our house:

Tile didn't get started until yesterday (Wednesday). They got most of it done and were supposed to finish it up today. They will grout tomorrow. We went by last night and it looks great in the kitchen/breakfast area and master bathroom. I love the offset look of the brick pattern. And I really love the 18" tiles.

Yesterday they started putting the siding on the house, they had the back and both sides done. Hopefully they will finish the front today. And the EIFS man was there today to start putting the EIFS (synthetic stucco) around the windows. I can't wait to see the finished look of the outside of the house. Here is a photo of how we are going to have the EIFS look around our windows (the three large windows in the front) and our arch. In fact, this house is very similar to ours. We have the same shaped windows and archway. This was also the house we used to decided on whether we would get windows with or without lines. When we saw this house and knew ours would be the same shape, we decided we liked it without the it was a little cheaper!

Oh, the front steps were also done yesterday. I didn't take any photos because there was a lot of stuff in the front yard and I decided I would wait until Saturday.

The counter tops are now scheduled for installation on Monday, which means the plumber will come on Tuesday or Wednesday. We also picked out the granite that will go around the fireplace. Here is a picture of it. It's the same granite that was around the mantle we copied!! We didn't realize this until after we chose it in the store.

Come back after this weekend, I'll post all the updated photos after our trip up there on Saturday. Saturday is my niece's birthday also and we're going to her house for a big birthday bash. Happy Birthday Courtney!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Portrait Of Me

Drawn by Rachel for Mother's Day, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New House/Family Update...

Well, we have a driveway, a sidewalk, and a mailbox! Lots going on... Already looks like home with those yard ornaments on the driveway!! The girls LOVED the driveway and I know it will be used a lot. I'm just glad to finally have a flat, smooth driveway. At our old house, it was bumpy and made of rocks and they couldn't hardly ride anything on it.

Yesterday the ceramic tile was supposed to be laid. Today they were supposed to grout. Tomorrow the counter tops are supposed to be installed and Thursday or Friday the plummer is coming to finish his stuff! So, this weekend, we should have a lot more to take pictures of and show you.

On the home front...both of the girls are out of school. Rachel has started her Summer Quest and she loves it. My friend, Sharon, is keeping the girls on Tuesdays and Thursdays for me so I can work. And on most Wednesdays, they are going to their Granna's house.

We have scheduled Rachel's birthday party for 6/27. She has chosen to have it at the Build-A-Bear store. I thought I might have another year or two before we go there, but she has begged to go this year. We explained to her that she wouldn't be able to have near as many friends come because of the cost. She said that was OK. She was able to choose five friends she wanted to invite and then she has six family members (sister and cousins) that will be there. So, eleven kids at Build-A-Bear! Fun!!! I also have a friend who is making her cake for me. It's going to have a picture of her with her Build-A-Bear on it. She is going to be surprised! We still have to come up with something to get her. We're thinking she might get a new bike. We'll see! I can't believe she is almost six years old.

Guess that's it for now...have a great week!

Edited at 8:45pm: I wrote this on Monday night, set to post today (Tuesday). Found out this afternoon that the tile was NOT laid. It will be laid in the morning and grouted on Thursday. Counter tops are now scheduled now for Friday!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Last Day of Kindergarten!

Rachel is officially a First Grader! We finished our Kindergarten year last Thursday. She was so excited and sad at the same time. She is glad to be out of school, but sad to not see her friends everyday. On Monday, they had field day. Her favorite was the three-legged race and getting to eat a snow cone. The rest of the week, they didn't do a whole lot. On Thursday, there were only ten kids in her class. Normally they have nineteen.

Rachel could not wait until the last day because that was when she was going to give Ms. Knutson her gift. I took Rachel to The Painted Pig in Little Rock to paint something for Ms. Knutson. We looked for about ten minutes before she found exactly what she was looking for. She saw this container and the lid had a bone on it. Ms. Knutson had told the class all about the new puppy she got about a month or so ago. Rachel was determined to paint this for her teacher's doggie treats. So, she and I painted it. She lasted for about the first coat and I had to paint the two other coats. Here is a photo of Rachel and Ms. Knutson with her present.

Ms. Knutson LOVED the present. She said she had been wanting one for a long time. She had a friend who had one and has wanted one ever since she saw hers. So, hopefully she will get a lot of use out of this one and think of Rachel every time she sees it.

Rachel was accepted to participate in Summer Quest. It lasts for two weeks and began today. It is a program for gifted students. She will go every weekday for these two weeks, starting at 8:30am and ending at 11:30am. She has two classes. The first hour is a class on Egypt, studying all things Egypt. The second class is "Give My Regards to Broadway." She will learn what it takes to put on a theatrical production. And the production of choice this time? High School Musical. Rachel was disappointed. She wanted Annie or Peter Pan. She has never seen High School Musical. I think it is a bit old for her. But we went and rented it so she could see it would still be fun. She watched it and said she liked all the singing and dancing.

And last, I leave you with this photo. One of these things is NOT like the others...

Rebekah wanted to go with me to take Rachel to school on her last day. We went inside to see her open her present. Rebekah didn't want to leave. So, Rebekah got be a kindergartner for about 30 minutes. After that, she was ready to leave!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

House of Color

Well, the painters are almost done.
We went to the house today because they have laid
out the driveway and will pour the concrete tomorrow!
Our builder wanted us to see it
and make sure it is how we want it.
It looked great!
We're also glad we went because we got to see all the paint
(and found a few mistakes!)
and the beautiful cabinets. So, here you go.
Enjoy the photos!

Here is a shot of the driveway and sidewalk.
We're going to have enough space on
the side of the house to park two cars.

And here are the cubbies.
They look so great.
I just have to find some really cool hooks
to put in there for coats, backpacks, etc.

And here are the kitchen cabinets.
Aren't they gorgeous?!!?!?
Even though they are a bit dusty, I LOVE THEM!

And here is a shot of the fireplace and mantle.
I love how the paint color turned out on the walls. Perfect!

Now take a look at this dining room.
I love how the red turned out.
They haven't painted the red inside the trey,
but they aren't totally done yet.

Rachel loves her pink and purple room.
Again, the colors turned out great.

Rebekah's room is cute.
The green didn't turn out quite like I wanted.
This green has a lot of yellow in it and when the sun
shines through the windows, it looks mostly yellow.
I'm hoping once we move in, have blinds on the
windows and her quilt on her bed, it will look much better.
We'll see. Rebekah even says it is pink and yellow!

Betty's room looks nice, but the color of the paint
wasn't quite what it was supposed to be.
It had too much gold in it. She likes it, so it's staying.

Here is a shot of the black cabinets in our master bathroom.
I love how they turned out.
I can't wait to see it with the mirrors, counter tops, etc.
The master bedroom and master bathroom
was where we found the mistake.
They painted our bedroom the wrong color.
Not only was it the wrong color,
it was the paint that had too much gold in it.
It was supposed to be the same color as the family room.
So, we are having our bedroom and bathroom
repainted to match the family room.
I guess it's not that bad to make one mistake
when we had NINE paint colors to start with!

And here is the green again.
This time it is in the laundry room.
I like the color a little better in here, you don't have
any sunlight in here so it looks more green than yellow.

So there you go.
Lots of color and looking better and better.
It's making us really anxious to get
out of the apartment and into the house!
Our builder said we are right on schedule
with a target closing date of July 14th.
Let's pray we stay on schedule!

By the way, we love our builder.
We like to call him "Builder Bruce" and have
really enjoyed getting to know him and his wife.
They have been a joy to work with and
very helpful with our many questions.
I have to say, this whole process has been great.
Definitely not the horror stories
you hear about building a house.
So, if anyone is in the area and thinking about building,
let me know and I'll give you Builder Bruce's information.
Thanks Bruce and Kary!!!