House Remodel: Siding and Cabinet Doors

A few posts back I wrote about mud.  I was a tad bit angry at the time, mostly because I had spent a number of hours trying to get rid of the mud that covered, what felt like, everything in the house.  In that specific post I might have hinted that I wanted the warm weather to disappear.  It has definitely not disappeared and I am taking that comment back...right...now.  It was a more than pleasant 67 degrees out today, on January 30, in Iowa.  It might have been a big tease (Punxsutawney Phil will let us know on Thursday), but I enjoyed every ray of sun that landed on my very pale skin.  There is still some wet, gooey spots in our yard, but for the most part it is dry, dry, dry!  

When I got home from school I tried to take full advantage of the gorgeousness, so Abel and I went for a lengthy walk and I was able to get some pictures of the outside of the house.  The guys have been working hard and the siding is mostly finished.  It matches the rest of the house well and looks terrific with the large windows in back.

The painters also finished varnishing our cabinet doors this afternoon.  It was perfect timing with the beautiful weather, we opened up all the windows and there was barely a scent of the awful varnish smell when we got home tonight.  I am not too sure what is going to go on this week with the remodel, but we think and hope the chalkboard will be painted tomorrow along with the trim around the kitchen window.  

It sounds like we're going to have some more unbelievable weather the rest of the week, and you will not catch me posting about the warm weather disappearing again.  I promise.

The view from the kitchen

The addition!

Cabinet doors!

We decided to go with a simple front on the doors.


God is good

I just wanted to thank all the friends and family that prayed for my nephew, Jakobi, this past week.  He developed RSV and was flown via helicopter to Iowa City hospitals on Monday.  Almost a week later, he is still in intensive care, but was able to get his feeding tube out today and off the ventilator.  Kevin and I made the trip to Iowa City today and were able to spend some time with the little guy and my brother, Shamica, and my mom.  The doctors are hoping to move him out of intensive care within the next few days and hopefully home this week.  Again, thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers.  God is good!

My brother's family
Sweet little Jakobi



I am anal.  I like clean floors, shiny faucets, unsoiled countertops and hairless couches, chairs, blankets, towels, clothes...you get the point.

I know this about myself.  I accept it.  I surrender to it almost daily, and I am not proud of it.  What I didn't know was that being anal on the farm makes life a little, hmmm...harder.  Abel definitely doesn't help my condition either, but he's cute and cuddly and is ecstatic to see me after a mere eight hours.  He doesn't figure into this equation...that much.

So being anal on the farm isn't exactly the most ideal situation, especially this past week.  Thick, chocolate, messy mud has swallowed up the gravel roads, paths, and any layer of ground that is not paved, which is pretty much every layer of ground.

Today we moved back down to our house, where there is carpet in the basement.  I believe I will be utilizing the vacuum more than usual until the weird warm weather disappears, along with the chocolate, thick mess that comes with it.  

Mud+Abel+Me being anal=Disaster


Simple Sundays

When I think of Sunday afternoons I think pleasant thoughts...cuddles on the couch with a good book (or Pinterest), catching up on shows, baking (when I had a kitchen) and play time with our newest little addition, Abel.  This afternoon was one of those simple Sundays and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Kevin and I are currently staying at Kevin's parent's house and are enjoying all the amenities of a fully furnished house that includes a kitchen!  I did not want to waste this opportunity, so I decided to try out one of my new-found recipes from Pinterest: s'more cookies.  They seemed easy enough and I set out to bake them while chatting with my friend Betsy on the phone.  I think I am really good at multi-tasking, when in reality I am not good at all...sigh.  I mostly talked to Betsy (who I miss so much!) and then started on the cookies.  I didn't have all of my 'tools' at the house on the hill, but I used what I had and it brought back memories of college when I was living in the big house with the girls, Betsy included, and we made cookies with a bowl and a spoon.  Ahhh...the days of the bullet and smelly salmon!  ANYWAY, the s'more cookies turned out pretty good, I mean anything that has Hershey bars and chocolate chips and butter and and brown sugar and marshmallows cannot be bad.  I am munching on one as I write this and all I can think is....when is summer going to be here so I can make real s'mores?!

The ingredients...as you can see all of my items are budget friendly!

Not as pretty as I would have liked, but still yummy!

After chatting with Betsy and getting the s'more cookies done, it was time to play with Abel!  He loves to play with his ball and rope and being at home gives him ample time to burn off all of his energy.  The little guy even got a bath today because he is going to meet Kevin's sister, Hillary, tonight.  Let's hope he's Abel and not Cain.  

Loving his ball

Cuddle time with Kevin


House Remodel: Paint

Our painters, Mark and Rick, were here all week painting basically everything Mom, Kevin, and I didn't paint when we first moved to Pioneer Trail.  They painted the remodel along with the hallway, 'piano' room (we currently don't own a piano, but that's what it's been called forever), and stairway.  We chose a beige (I know, surprise surprise) that's called sand dollar for a majority of the rooms and then a soft blue (sleepy blue) for the living room.  I was definitely wanting to go ALL sand dollar, because I am just boring like that (some of you know this about me), but Kevin wanted a little color, hence the blue.  Kevin thought the blue on the walls would tie in the blue/gray back splash we chose for the kitchen.
Well, Mark and Rick were finished on Thursday and I went down to look at it and take some pictures and I think the sand dollar looks splendid.  Well, as splendid as sand dollar, or beige, can look.
And then there's the sleepy blue, which is, um, it's okay.  I     just     don't    love it, AT ALL.  It reminds me a lot of our bedroom color at our house on Bauman....which we painted over because it reminded us of a baby boy's room.  I think it will look better once we have furniture in the room and things up on the walls and the spring/summer landscape coming through the windows and our t.v. covering up a lot of it.  I'm kidding, sort of, but I am glad Kevin made me step out of my comfort zone and hopefully once all of those things mentioned above happen, I will love it.  I guess we will know in about 4 weeks, hopefully (I hope my contractor is reading this).

The wine bar.  A chalk board will be painted behind it this week, along with the doors being stained.

The pantry!

Part of the kitchen and dining room with sand dollar.

The kitchen.  Catch sleepy blue on the left side of the where the refrigerator will go.

The view from the dining room


1 Year

Kevin and I have been members of Christ Community Church in Omaha for about 4 years now.  After going to merely one service, we were hooked.  We love their contemporary services and the journey group we are a part of on a weekly basis.  Our journey group consists of 5 couples all about our age (we miss the 3 couples that moved away!) and we convene on Tuesday evenings to read and discuss Christian books and scripture.  Since moving to Pioneer Trail, it has been a little more difficult to make it into town on Tuesday evenings, so we adjusted our meeting date to Sunday, which definitely will help us make it there more often.  YAY!  I miss these people!

A picture of part of our journey group from last Thanksgiving.
On January 1, our church started Project 4:4, which is an initiative to read the Bible chronologically in one year.  Through this initiative, Christ Community provides a daily reading plan and then offers daily insights through an online video or written transcript from Pastor Mark.  Kevin and I have kept up with the readings so far (I sometimes have to read 2-3 in one day because I get behind, OOPS), and we are loving it.  The thing that is great about this whole initiative is that the messages on Sunday along with our journey group meetings are all about the readings.  It is all linked, and being a teacher, I love when everything is connected and goes together!  The links to the Project 4:4 page are below if anyone is interested in starting in on this initiative in 2012.


This is a link Kevin and I use to read scriptures online.  It is an awesome tool, you just type in the verses and it pulls it right up for you.  Amazing.


We are in Genesis right now and I understand a little better all those scriptures about descendants: you know the ones that say this person bore this person a son and these are the names of the sons, and this is where they lived.  Definitely used to skip over those,  but now I am able to appreciate and understand all of those funky names and who they are in the 'big picture' story of the Bible.
Thanks Pastor Mark!


Shopping Saturday

My mom and sister, Rachael, made the 3 hour trip to Macedonia for the long weekend.  We spent our time shopping for the house and chatting about life, work, and Rachael's son (my favorite first nephew), Landon.  They arrived on Friday night and we spent the night at Diane and Gary's because of the varnishing going on at our house.  On Saturday we didn't waste any time and were out the door by 10 to shop.  Kevin and I shopped for cabinet hardware, along with a faucet for the sink.  Thankfully, we knew what we wanted.  Unfortunately, there was no one to help us at either place we went to for these items.  We got item numbers and pictures, and are going to order online.  I have never ordered more things online in my life since moving out to Pioneer Trail, and I love it!

Cup pulls for the cabinet drawers.




Handle for the pantry

This is the tile we chose for our backsplash about a week ago.

Faucet for the kitchen

As lunch time approached, Kevin went home and Mom, Rach, and I continued to shop.  We went to Nebraska Furniture Mart to look for bar stools for the kitchen, and were lucky enough to find some, AND pick them up the same day.  At this point I am having a hard time picturing everything in the new space and envisioning what all the colors will look like together. And Kevin is at the point where "looks good" comes out of his mouth quite often (I am right with him, I am so thankful we didn't build a whole house!).  We chose black bar stools to tie in the blackboard that will be above the wine bar, the black hardware on the cabinets, and the black wood burning stove in the dining room.  (Kevin okayed them from Macedonia via a phone picture.)
The bar stool

After the shopping hangover, Kevin cooked some steaks and potatoes on the grill and we relaxed and discussed getting in the hot tub, but never made it quite that far...we were too tuckered out.  It was a successful weekend and I miss Mom and Rach already and am looking forward to President's Day when they are able to make the trip again.

It was amazing we made it through the entire weekend without Grandma giving Abel people food!

Mom with her blonde and brunette

Uncle Bacchus

The stainers finished varnishing the cabinets on Friday afternoon, which definitely helps our ability to breathe in the house (they look great by the way!)  We opted to stay at Gary and Diane's house on Thursday and Friday to stay clear of the toxic fumes.  Abel, of course, made the transition to the house on the hill as well, and got to spend some quality time with Uncle Bacchus.  Abel found Bacchus irresistible, but the feelings definitely were NOT mutual.  He is very patient with Abel, but knows when he needs to put him in his place, which is often.  Abel loves to jump on Bacchus, lick Bacchus, walk under Bacchus, and most importantly, eat his food.
My mom and sister made the trip to Macedonia on Friday evening to spend the weekend with us  and we stayed down at our house Saturday night.  I'm pretty sure Bacchus wasn't too sad to see us go.

Big puppy, little puppy.

Can you find Abel?  Abel loves sleeping in his bed with his black blanket.

A full moon view from the house on the hill.


House Remodel: The stainers are here!

The stainers are here, the stainers are here!  Today, with the floor and windows covered, our cabinets started transforming from a primitive, pale tan to a deep, dark, beautiful brown.  They are looking amazing and I am loving the color so far.  Our stainer, Mark, helped us choose a color after we told him what we were looking for and he absolutely nailed it!
As for the smell from the stain, well, it's not so hot.  Lucky for us, Iowa is having some abnormally crazy weather, as in 56 degrees, so we opened up all the windows and it's alleviating some of the not so pleasant smell.  I really don't mind, because the stainers are here and we're getting closer and closer to a beautiful kitchen AND dinners that don't come in a plastic bag!  YAY!

The island and kitchen
The future wine bar

The corner bench

Life lesson via Abel

I would consider myself gullible at times.  I tend to believe what people tell me, especially if I want to believe it.  It might be rubbing off on Kevin...
Last night we went to get Abel's shots at Kevin's aunt and uncle's house.  His uncle is a vet and his aunt is a dog training guru (they have been great at answering any and all questions that we have about being new dog owners).  They both took one look at him and said, "The guy told you he was a lab?"  Um, yep, he sure did.  As Abel went through the docket of check-ups and shots, it became more apparent that they both didn't think there was a whole lot of lab in him.  They think there is definitely some terrier and probably something else with a teensy bit of lab in there somewhere.  Bottom line, 'the guy' told us he was a lab and we believed him and 'the guy' was wrong whether he meant to be or not (I guess we need to study up on breeds next time we randomly get a dog).  So, lesson learned via Abel: don't acquire a dog (or anything) from an eager guy in front of the gas station with a sign and a puppy, even if I really want to believe what he says.  Kevin agrees.
The truth is...lab or no lab, it doesn't make me love Abel any less and I'm certainly not regretting that we got him.  He has already taught us a life lesson and he's only been ours for a week.  Love him so much.

Cuddling with Kevin...Have I mentioned that Kevin is his favorite?  Grrr....


Trail Triumph #2

Our new addition has initiated some new routines on Pioneer Trail this past week, including frequent potty breaks, long walks around the farm, and playtime inside.  We have decided to kennel Abel during the day, so we try and give him as much play time as possible in the morning and after work.  In order to do that, I get up to walk/run with Abel at about 5:40 each morning.  I don't mind (yet) getting up to see our cute little guy that early, but there was a small thing that had me worried.  The dark.  At 5:40 it is completely black on Pioneer Trail, so in order to see anything I carry a flashlight.  It definitely helps, but I am still a little timid because at that time in the morning the random noises on the farm seem to be totally magnified.  Abel, nor I, am used to those sounds yet, but every morning we reluctantly head out into the cold, black darkness with a flashlight to guide us.  We have not encountered anything yet (and Kevin says we won't).  I sure hope he's right and whatever is making those intimidating noises stays far, far away from us during our early morning routine.

Abel on a walk this morning.  Weekend walks are better because there is light!

Being frisky

Taking his first bath this morning.

Pretty view from a walk last evening.


House Remodel: WHOA

As I awoke this morning about 7:30 to take care of the cutest puppy on Pioneer Trail, I heard something.  Something loud, very loud.  The carpenters were here, at 7:30, getting started with the day.  Impressive.  The carpenter's loudness continued until about noon and then there was absolute silence.  Abel and I were out for a walk and discovered the carpenters' truck was gone, so we decided to take a peek and...WHOA.  It looks like a kitchen, a real kitchen, so I just had to share some pics before I go back to school and reality sets in with that day job thing.

The wine bar

The corner bench

The island and kitchen

I had to add some pics of Abel!

Abel loves his walks...and eating anything on the ground when I'm not looking!


Thank you Netflix

We do not have cable, or dish, or direct t.v.  We have Netflix.  Just Netflix.  Only Netflix.  Because of this, we can't watch all the bowl games at home.  We have to go somewhere to watch them.  Also, we get really excited when Netflix gets a new season of a show we watch.  Netflix recently got the third season of Sons of Anarchy.  Although we don't admit it to a lot of people, we watch this show and are anxious to get into the third season.  Let's fast forward and come back to this later.
Yesterday Kevin and I went shopping for our kitchen backsplash and were planning on meeting up with some of Kevin's friends to watch some bowl games, since we only have Netflix.  We were on a roll as we picked out the backsplash in about 30 minutes and were heading to Barley's, where we were meeting to watch the game.  This is when things got interesting.  I spotted a man on the side of the road with a sign for a puppy.  I wasn't planning on getting a puppy and either was Kevin, but we pulled over to take a look.  A minute later this beautiful black lab puppy was bounding towards me.  After lots of puppy kisses and play time, Kevin tells the guy that we will take him...............um, WHAT?!  I am sitting there playing with this cute little black ball of energy and Kevin hands this guy our freedom after 5 minutes of play time.  Trying to be rational, I said we needed to talk about it.  We proceed to discuss it, analyze it, debate it, and ask friends and family for help over the next hour or two, because that's what we do.  We were doing all this, while watching the bowl games with Kevin's friends.  The decision was made when we were discussing the long ride home with the puppy, I told Kevin, "He will probably pee in the car on the way home."  (We have a semi-new car and didn't really want it broken-in quite in that fashion.)  Kevin proceeded to say, "If it's a problem, I will let him pee in my lap."  Well, then, okay.  I couldn't say no if Kevin wants him THAT bad...so I said yes and we have a brand new 10 week old black lab.  He is adorable and I love him and I have spent all day cuddling with him and taking him for walks on the farm, which he absolutely loves.  So, Netflix caused us to go out yesterday to watch the games and Netflix ended up helping us name our new puppy.  For those of you that have seen Sons of Anarchy, you know that Abel is Jax's son on the show.  Welcome to life on the trail Abel!

Sweet little guy

Exploring the farm today

Choo choo!

Kids go through phases.  I don't have any children of my own, but have 23 little ones I get to see everyday at school and if I've learned anything, it's that kids like certain things at certain times of their lives....phases.  Most of my kids at school right now are 'into' BeyBlades or Justin Bieber or these trading cards that I haven't quite figured out yet.  Well, my little godson, Cooper, is also in a phase.  He is almost 2 (can't believe it!) and is 'into' so many fun things!  Kevin and I were able to visit him on our way back from Cedar Rapids on Sunday and had so much fun finding out what he is 'into' these days.  The first thing we HAD to see when we got there were his stars!  Paige, Cooper's mommy, put up stars in his bedroom and he is absolutely enamored with them.  We went into his bedroom, turned off the light, and looked at the stars.  I felt like I was in our basement, as we have stars that are still stuck up there from when Kevin was a kid.  Cooper also loves Elmo.  He has a big Elmo that he sleeps with and also has many other Elmos throughout the house.  My favorite Elmo was the one that fell over laughing when you pushed his belly.  It was so funny...and a little creepy.  The most amusing thing that Cooper is into right now is CHOO CHOO trains!  Cooper has a couple different trains and loves making them go around the tracks, or on the floor, or anywhere.  It's so great to watch him do it, because he pushes the train from behind instead of pulling them forward.  He loves to say choo choo as he is doing it, which just makes it so darn cute!  I love little Cooper and all the things he is 'into' right now.  And I can wait for the next phases to come, I want him to stay little Cooper for just a little while longer.


Another thing Coop is 'into' - his pillow pet!

Big breakthrough...Coop isn't scared of Kevin anymore!


New Year, exciting beginnings

2011 was definitely a year of change for Kevin and I.  We sold our house in Omaha, moved twice and made the decision to live on the farm.  It was a busy year and I'm glad those decisions are behind us.  Now that we're on the farm, I feel like there are exciting beginnings going on everyday.  Most of it is because of our remodel, but it's also because I'm experiencing new things on a daily basis.  Like, solving a mystery that involved teeth marks in a breadstick (don't worry it was just Gary and Diane's cat), or coming home to a cold house because the propane was out.  I know these new beginnings are only the beginning, but it's definitely keeping me on my toes and keeping life exciting.
We are not the only ones in the Forristall family with exciting beginnings.  We rang in 2012 in Cedar Rapids with Kevin's family.  Kevin's sister, Hillary, and her husband, John, live there and we have gone to celebrate the New Year with them for two years now.  On Saturday we had the privilege to check out their new property that they are going to build on someday.  It was a gorgeous day for December and we looked at the beautiful, old barn, explored the creek, and the boys had some fun on the gator.  Kevin even took me on a (too) fast ride around the place.    They have already done so much work out there and I know their place will be incredible when it's finished.  You see, Hillary is a master at mixing old and new things and has an eye for making pieces look like they were meant to be together.  (I have solicited her help for many of the remodel decisions.)  I can't wait to see how everything develops and the beautiful home they build together.  Cheers to 2012 and all the exciting beginnings that are to come!

The old barn

Going to explore

Old knobs in the barn

Hillary and John going down by the creek.

Hillary and John

Ringing in 2012!
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