House Remodel: Floors and cabinets

Only my 4th post in 4 days, I'm not overdoing it am I?  Like I said, I have a lot of time on my hands right now...
I just HAD to share this because I am so giddy with excitement and texting my mom and Kevin just didn't do it.  Like my dad would say...there have been 'big doings' upstairs this week.  Floors have been put in and sanded down.  The 'old' floors match the new ones almost perfectly (yes!).  And today I came home from a trip to the city to find...CABINETS!!!!  Real, big, beautiful, alder, not yet stained cabinets.  The guys are working upstairs as I speak (they got to experience my excitement as well) and I snapped a few pictures to illustrate the astounding progress this week.

The sanded floors coming up the stairs.

This is a bedroom that had blue carpet.  Kevin burned the blue carpet yesterday
and the floors will be refinished!  YAY!


Where the refrigerator will eventually go

Corner bench

The rest of the process, as I understand it, is after they get the cabinets in, they will stain them, then stain the doors.  We still have hardware to pick out along with a faucet and light fixtures for the dining room and entry way.  I'm sure there are some things that I'm not thinking of right now, but it's probably because my mind is clouded by the thought that this could be done in the next 4 weeks (fingers crossed)...HORRAY!  
Cheers to an incredible 2012!
(And GO HAWKS!!!! and Cyclones!)


My heart's desire

I understand that I have been posting a lot lately.  It might be because there's a lot to post about, but mostly it's because I have a lot of time to post.  Christmas break is one of my favorite times of the year and I am trying to take full advantage of all the free time I have to do whatever my heart desires.  Yesterday my heart desired to laugh and spend some time with friends, and laugh.  
So, I made the short trip to Sioux City to visit some girlfriends from college.  These are girls I know well.  We played basketball together, lived together (one time in a very pink bedroom), and camped out for concert tickets together.  I love these girls, I really do.  The day trip was great and we got to chat about what is going on in our very different lives, but it wasn't long enough and never is.  Although I brought my camera, I didn't take any pictures, so I dug some up to post.  These made me smile.
Jill, Kayla, and I in Okoboji last summer (I visited Jill in Omaha on my way home.)

BI, Kayla, BR, and I: A past visit to Sioux City
There are a few other girls I wish I was able to see more as well, but they no longer live in the area.  I'm looking forward to seeing them at the reunion in a few short months!


My family is a circus without the tent!

My friend Paige always finds the coolest things online.  She introduced me to Etsy, along with Pinterest.  I am addicted to both and I totally blame her for the hours I spend on these sites.  It must be because she is a fantastic mom or works with lots of women, or something, that she finds these things.  Anyways, one November day she phones me (on my cell phone because I was in the city) and tells me she found this great Christmas gift for my mom.  She goes on to explain that she got this frame that says...

She asks if my mom will think it's funny and I say YES (I think she will?)!  I told Paige she has to get it, and if she doesn't, that I will.  Paige did get it and gave it to my mom over Christmas and I'm so happy she did, because it gave us a chance to reflect and laugh about our Christmas, not to mention it totally describes our family.  Don't get me wrong, I love my family and I wouldn't trade them for anything, but it definitely IS a circus.
The whirlwind started Christmas morning with church at 10:00 with my family.  We all managed to get ready and walk through the church doors 5 minutes early.  For anyone that knows my family, that was a Christmas miracle. Then we headed home to open presents with my immediate family.  It was fun watching the kids open their presents (and ours) and I also enjoyed uninterrupted time holding little Jakobi.  The circus was just getting started as we headed to my grandparents.  Christmas at my grandparents consists of about 30 aunts, uncles, cousins, cousins' significant others, and kids.  We start about 3:00 in the afternoon, which means 4:00-4:15 for most of the family, and go until, well, until it's over.  We eat, open presents (one by one), and then play a girl's game and guy's game.  My dad decided to add one more thing to the list this year and asked my cousin, Laci, her husband, and another of my cousin's boyfriends to sing some songs.  My grandma LOVED this idea, she loved it so much that she would not let anyone open presents until we sang one ENTIRE song.  So we started with Christmas carols, but couldn't remember any song beginning to end.  Lucky for us, my cousin's boyfriend knew some Johnny Cash and did a great rendition of Folsom Prison Blues.  The presents then got opened and we played the girl and guys game later.  We all went home with a food hangover, Johnny Cash playing in our heads, and a few more incredible memories from another Christmas.
I have been going to my grandparents house every Christmas for as long as I can remember and I feel SO AMAZINGLY blessed to still be going to their house and seeing them both so happy to be surrounded by their family.  But, as magical and amazing as Christmas is with my family...it still IS a circus.

My brother's not so little family
Xavier and Mae
Little Jakobi 
Singing songs 
Dad and Brandon with Grandma's new 'purse' from Grandpa
My grandma and grandpa enjoying a laugh
A non-circus moment



Everyone has their Christmas traditions.  Some families go ice skating, or sing Christmas carols, other families watch classic Christmas movies or choose one present to open on Christmas Eve.  The Forristall family tradition is slightly different.  Kevin and I along with Kevin's sister, Hillary, her husband, John, and Kevin's parents Gary and Diane, all sit down to play....CASHFLOW!  This tradition started, well, I don't know when exactly it started, but it is definitely a tradition worth carrying on year to year.  Cashflow is a board game that is intended to teach it's players about investing.  Each player starts by drawing a profession and then tries to get out of the 'rat race' by drawing opportunities and buying or declining the opportunities.  To some it might sound uninspiring, but that is what makes every tradition unique to each family.  I love traditions, especially Christmas ones, and, as quirky as it is, I look forward to Cashflow every year!
The tradition

Not only did we play Cashflow, but we also had the chance to break in Gary and Diane's new house.  This was their first Christmas on 350th Street and Diane had the house decorated beautifully for the season.  We tried some of Kevin's home brew, ate some of Diane's amazing food (it was especially amazing since it was a change from the frozen dinners we have been microwaving lately!), experimented with my new camera, enjoyed some great wine, and exchanged gifts.
Hillary and John

Exchanging gifts

Gary and Diane in front of the fireplace.
Using the new kitchen

Bacchus-one of my favorite pics with the new camera!

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!!!


House Remodel: Progress and shopping

It's hard to believe that Christmas is just a week away, especially when there is no snow on the ground and the sun is shining!  I'm secretly hoping for a dusting of snow on Friday or Saturday this week, but the weather channel is not as hopeful.  We may not have a white Christmas, but it will be Christmas nonetheless and I love this time of year snow or not!
Our house has been hopping this past week.  There have been so many people here working and it is exciting how far they have come in just a week.  The windows and insulation were put in early this past week and the dry wallers started on Friday.  They have been here all weekend and promise they will be done today (I love them!).  Workers have also been busy putting on new shingles this week and they are here today working as well.  I don't think these guys ever take a break...they are fantastic!
The windows on the north wall with insulation.

Dry wall!

The windows on the north wall with dry wall!

Since the workers have been working so hard this weekend, Kevin and I thought we needed to get some work done as well.  Yesterday we went countertop shopping.  I have never done this before and neither has Kevin, so we had absolutely no idea what we were doing.  That was okay because we were excited and motivated and apparently we didn't need to know what we were doing because it's a pretty simple process.  We pick out what we want at the warehouse, they fax it to the fabricator who quotes us a price, we okay the price, and then the contractor purchases the slabs for us and puts them in our new kitchen.  Ta-daa!  That's it.    So, we had two different warehouses in Omaha to check out.  The first one we were overwhelmed with the selection of slabs, so we just started wandering.  They were all beautiful, but none of them were jumping out at us.  Kevin liked the dark pieces with lots of movement and I liked the lighter pieces with lots of movement.  As I was sipping on my coffee and Kevin was getting tired from crutching around, I didn't know how we were going to agree on one, which is pretty typical when Kevin and I shop together.  You see, Kevin is one of those guys who has an opinion about this kind of stuff, which is something I LOVE about him...but sometimes something that makes decisions like this a lot harder.  As Kevin was giving his argument on why we should go with a darker slab, there it was...THE slab that jumped out at us, THE slab that made light and dark not matter!  Bordeaux River!  It is this amazing piece that has intricate movement and great colors that could go with countless color schemes.  I absolutely love it and so does Kevin.  YES!  Now, we did go look at the other warehouse, but didn't find anything that could stand up against our top pick.
It was a great shopping day and we are so excited that we found a piece we love.
THE winner!

Kevin thought this was a better picture.

The piece Kevin still likes a lot, but not THE one.
To reward ourselves for all our hard work (haha), we went to Annie and Drew's house for a cookie party.  Annie and Drew are an amazing couple from our Journey Group, which we started a year and a half ago through Christ Community Church.  Annie had everything ready to make yummy gift baskets for our friends and neighbors, which was so exciting because currently I don't have a kitchen!  It was incredible how organized and prepared she was for this party.
There were a total of six women there and we spent the afternoon making cookies and packaging them in neat little Christmas wrappings, while the guys watched football in the basement.  We had a great time talking about Pinterest, Christmas, and kidos.  I went home with way too many packages, as Annie tossed more in my arms on the way out the door.  I know my neighbors and friends will be grateful that Annie had that cookie party, and so am I.
All of the goodies!


Beautiful Things

This past week a song has been following me.  My morning and evening commutes have been  filled with the song, Beautiful Things, by Gungor.  I love the simplicity of the lyrics and the power they possess.  If you haven't heard it, check it out on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR7VOKQ0xJY
I was reminded of this song this weekend when Kevin and I visited our new nephew Jakobi Jeffrey in Ottumwa.  He is a week old today and is unbelievably precious, but I may be just a teensy bit bias.  He came to us a delicate 6 pounds and 10 ounces.  As I held him for the first time, I realized how I had forgotten what a newborn feels like in my arms.  I remembered very quickly and I didn't forget all day, as he was in MY arms all day (thank you Brandon and Shamica).  I did let Kevin steal him for a few minutes here and there, but I enjoyed, and took advantage of, a complete day with my brand new little nephew.  There was lots of kisses, rocking, whispering I love yous, and TONS of pictures.  Kevin, being the amazing husband that he is, gave me my Christmas present early just because of little Jakobi's arrival.  I am the proud owner of a new Canon T2i camera and it was just perfect to capture the moments of the weekend.  Here are some of those moments:
One of those few minutes Kevin held Jakobi.

Jakobi doing what he does best...taking a snooze!

Kevin taking a picture since I had my arms full.

Sweet little fingers...only God could create this beautiful little miracle!


Trail Triumph #1

I know that life in the country warrants some less than wonderful events every once in awhile.  Today I had one of those and I am going to tag it my Trail Triumph #1.  If you have a weak stomach, please refrain from reading the rest of this post.  This is about dead animals.  Today there were two, um, 'pests' that fell into a container in the garage.  Kevin would normally deal with this, but he is currently unable to get very far from his recliner.  So...it was all me.  I, all by myself, took the container, along with the 'pests', to a place far, far away.  I felt really good about this triumph, but I'm hoping I don't have to repeat it, well, ever.


Things I LOVE and LOVE NOT (so far) about life on the trail

Okay, so I have day-dreamed and spent hours wishing I lived in the country.  I longed for the vacant gravel roads, the bright, starry nights, and the quiet evenings spent drinking Pinot Noir on the patio or (because it's December) by the fire.  The moment has finally arrived and I have driven on those icy gravel roads, stared blankly at the starry nights and enjoyed a glass of Pinot Noir...in a plastic cup.  So you've probably guessed, I'm starting with the LOVE NOTs.  Sitting here in the basement, eating off paper plates and drinking wine out of plastic cups is not quite what I have envisioned when I decided that life on the farm was for me.  I know these days will quickly go by and that we will look back and chuckle at life in our basement apartment, but today is not that day and those days have not yet gone by.  If I'm being honest, those things are trivial and I'm not really THAT upset about the temporary inconveniences, but there is 1 thing that I LOVE NOT about life on the trail.
All of you that live or have lived in the country know exactly what I'm talking about.  For example, last night I was trying to order an appliance for our kitchen remodel over the phone because our card wasn't working online.  I had to stand in this exact spot in our master bedroom upstairs sitting halfway on a desk with my hand holding the phone to my ear, right above my chin, but not dropping any lower than a spot on my cheekbone.  I had many, many visions (or nightmares) of moving the phone an inch and having to spell my full name phonetically again.  Cell phone reception is not one of the country's strong selling points.  It's just not.  That being said, my husband, the problem solver, told me to stop being mad and start using the land line.  Um...land line?  That's right, I am currently using a phone that is connected to a wall.  Tonight I will be sending out a text to my friends and family, giving out my brand new, LAND LINE, phone number.  Tonight I talked to my mom on my brand new land line.  I absolutely, positively, undoubtedly LOVE my brand new land line.  I might LOVE NOT the cell phone reception, but I LOVE our brand new land line.
Okay, now for some remodel talk.  I have taken a few days off to be home with Kevin after his surgery, which has given us ample time to dig into remodel specifics.  Today, we had our electrical walk through to discuss, well, everything electrical.  Our contractor, along with his electrician, walked us through where every single outlet, light, and light switch would be in our new kitchen, family room, and dining room.  Kevin crutched through it and was a trooper.  We are looking forward to the electricians getting their work completed and the drywall getting hung later this week.
I do LOVE NOT the cell phone reception on the trail, but I also know it is a very small price to pay for all the things I LOVE about our new home, like, say, our land line, and the vacant gravel roads, starry nights, and quiet evenings with a glass of Pinot Noir...even if it is in a plastic cup.


Another LOVE...with a knee brace and ice pack.



Although Thanksgiving is past and we are in the midst of a winter storm, I feel the need to share the things I am thankful for today.
Last week my family was here and I am thankful I was able to share Thanksgiving dinner with them and a few games of Apples to Apples.  My seven year old nephew, Landon, was very skeptical of the farm.  He stated this summer that he liked the house in Omaha better.  Kevin was sure he could change his mind.  He took him on many four wheeler rides to look for beaver dams and to explore the creek that is near the house.  He also played with many of Kevin's old toys, including Michaelangelo and Splinter from his Ninja turtles suitcase.  As Landon was leaving we asked him about which home he likes better, and reluctantly, he answered the farm.  He still says we live in Omaha, but we have lots of time to work on Ma-ce-don-ia.
Here are some pictures of our Thanksgiving last weekend.

Kevin and Landon going on a ride.

Rachael, Landon, and our first turkey!

Playing Apples to Apples.

I am also thankful for Kevin's health today.  He underwent ACL surgery on his left knee yesterday and is doing well.  His pain is moderate and he is staying positive.  Going into surgery, the doctor was unsure of whether he would be able to use Kevin's old screws from his last surgery or not.  Unfortunately, the screws were not aligned and he will have to undergo another surgery next fall to fix his ACL.  He is hoping after this second surgery that he will be able to live a more active lifestyle.  He wouldn't let me take a picture of him, but when he is up and at 'em I will definitely snap a few.  We are hunkered down for a few days to let Kevin heal, so.....LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW!
P.S. There was not a lot of progress on the house renovation this week.  We are hoping the electricians will be here next week!


Gobble, Gobble

Happy Turkey Day!!  We have just finished absolutely, positively ALL the painting!  The hallway and closets are complete and we are organized for a winter in the basement.  Although, it doesn't feel much like winter today.  It is about 60 degrees and sunny in Macedonia and we are ready to celebrate!  Here are some pictures of the renovation upstairs.
The outside of the house with the new addition

The great room and kitchen

One of the most exciting things about our renovation...the PANTRY!!!
Here are some pictures of our efforts downstairs and our basement apartment in the country.
Our makeshift kitchen: Notice the crutches in the back for Kevin's upcoming surgery!

Our downstairs living room

Mom and I after toasting the completion of painting

Today, we are thankful for freshly painted walls and time to enjoy this beautiful day!  Now it is time for some home brew (Kevin's specialty) and some champagne for Mom and I, and maybe a little turkey!  
I'm going to end with a picture of where we will be spending a lot of our time next spring.  The beautiful weather today makes me want to grab a glass of Pinot Gris and sit in the sun all afternoon.  Maybe in May...
This picture is for you Gary...HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!


House Remodel: The beginning

IT HAS BEGUN!!!  The kitchen and great room remodel is underway and I couldn't be happier.  They have put up the new walls and torn down the existing walls and enclosed the new space.  I can't believe they have made this much progress in just a few short days!  We are so thankful to have the guys working so hard on this project.
The new walls 
The existing kitchen with appliances removed

Not only is the crew hard at work, but we are, too.  We have been painting bedrooms, bathrooms, and the two basement rooms.  My mom has been amazing and has been working her tail off!  She has pulled down wallpaper, trimmed out every room, and painted two bathrooms on her own.  THANK YOU MOM!  Kevin's dad, Gary, has also been around to help with odds and ends around the house.  We have accomplished so much, but still have a lot to do in the next few days.  Thanksgiving will be a day filled with painting closets and organizing rooms, and of course turkey and apple pie (Kevin's favorite).  
Painting the master bedroom

Mom painting the master bedroom
We have moved out of our Old Market apartment and are living in the basement until the remodel is complete.  The basement 'apartment' is quite bigger than our loft and it is nice to have the extra space.  Our most exciting event in the past few days happened today in that we have internet!!!  I went through withdrawal this weekend and am so glad to be connected again.  I will post some pictures of our living space soon.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
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