Tag Archives: Husband

Our Kitchen Remodel – Phase 1

If you’ve read this blog before, you may remember that we have been remodeling our 60-year old house for the entire (almost) 7 years we’ve lived here. You can read other remodeling stories and reveals here, here and here.

One of the projects I’ve been dreading is what we’re undertaking right now – the kitchen. Kitchens are kinda necessary. Especially when you’ve got kids. So we are doing this kitchen remodel in phases to minimize the impact on all of us. We need appliances, obvi.

When we bought our house, the kitchen was a mess. It needed a total gut. Much like the rest of the house:

Why yes, those cabinets are made of wood paneling. Thanks for asking.

Why yes, those cabinets are made of wood paneling. Thanks for asking.

Since we had to remodel every single room in our house, we did a quickie kitchen remodel. We replaced the cabinets and counters, the flooring and backsplash. We re-painted, got a new sink, and that’s about it. Got a super old stove from my in-laws and of course installed a dishwasher. We went the cheap route, knowing that in the near future we’d do the kitchen remodel we wanted.


Hooray! We just bought an ugly kitchen. Closing day 2007.

Hooray! We just bought an ugly kitchen. Closing day 2007.

So for the last 7 years, this is what our kitchen has looked like. Not bad. Not great. Not an ideal layout.



So that’s why we decided to do this:




We opened up the wall between the kitchen and the living room. Open concept, baby! Well, mostly. It’s going to be more of a pass-thru.



We had to build some soffiting (when I say we, I mean my husband). That bare drywall used to be a window, but we wanted a place for a stove/hood/microwave, so this was the logical place for us to create our kitchen “triangle.” The window had to go, but the extra light from ripping out the wall leading to the living room makes up for it.

So this is the state of our kitchen right now. There’s a laundry basket waiting to be taken downstairs and there are dishes on the counter. This is real life and this is us living through yet another remodeling project. Good thing we’re used to it. And stay tuned.


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Fall Vacay

A few weeks ago we embarked on our second family vacation of the year. We went to Door County in northern Wisconsin. I hadn’t been there since I was a kid, but we got good recommendations for our low-key family trip. Oh, and have I mentioned we were celebrating 8 years of wedded bliss? By vacationing with our two kids? Yes, we are crazy.

Penninsula State Park

Penninsula State Park

In case you didn’t notice, our trip just happened to fall during the peak of the fall colors.


We took this ferry to Washington Island, a small, but lived-on island off of Door County. This ferry is actually bigger than it looks in this picture, but the water was sooo choppy, we were really wondering if we were crazy by getting on this thing. But flat bottom ferries can’t sink, can they? We drove onto it and the cars immediately started rocking back and forth. We put on our parking brake to make sure we didn’t slam into the cars in front or behind us. It was crazy. There’s an observation deck on the top of the boat where you can stand for the 30-minute ride to look around. Since it was in the 40s and super windy, we decided to enjoy the view from inside our car.

Not bad, huh?IMG_7440

Schoolhouse Beach on Washington Island. The whole beach is covered in these flat, white rocks. Apparently, it took hundreds of years for the lake to get the rocks so smooth so there are hefty fines if you take them. I wouldn’t take them anyway. I saw that Brady Bunch episode where Greg took that cursed Hawaiian artifact. I don’t want to be cursed. IMG_7448

We stayed at Little Sister Resort in Sister Bay. It was cute, but very rustic. Which was fine. Except that it had rained that day and they had no dry firewood. Come on! It was 32 degrees outside and all we wanted was a fire in the fireplace after the kids went to bed. Sigh.IMG_7464

Seaquist Orchard was an awesome find in Door County. They have a huge store and offer free samples of EVERYTHING. They had an indoor straw maze for the kids, plus an awesome outdoor play area where Riley and I could pose like a pig and a farmer – a necessity for every mother and son, I say.IMG_7477

Look at our cute little scarecrows!


We decided to climb the 75-foot lookout tower at Penninsula State Park. I carried a 21-pound, squirmy infant the whole way up, but it was so worth it once we got up there and took in the view. IMG_7487

Hello, Lake Michigan!IMG_7488

Hello, fall colors! (Note, my left bicep was crying for mercy).IMG_1116

One of the highlights for the kids was PC Junction, a train-themed restaurant where an electric train delivers your food. We bellied up to the bar and got a great view of all the times the train went around. The kids were practically too distracted to eat their food (and they even offered a veggie burger – hooray for vegetarian options!). We will definitely be back.IMG_7495

The last night, we headed to Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan. Where they have bunk beds. The boy was impressed, I tell you. The other thing they have?

A WATERPARK! I honestly don’t know who in our family had the most fun. I think I may have. I LOVE water slides, even though I haven’t been on one in years. We had so much fun for two days going nuts all over their indoor water park. Highly recommended. Especially because they have lifeguards all over the place. Hooray for safety!IMG_7505

Pure happiness. Also note the tile in front of Riley. Is that really necessary? The “water” there is 0’0″ but you can’t dive in it? In other words, don’t dive head-first onto the concrete. Thanks for the tip, Blue Harbor!IMG_7508


They had an awesome toddler area that Charlotte loved after she figured out what the hell this place was.

While it may seem weird to some to bring your kids on an anniversary trip, I loved every minute of it. I was my normal nervous, worry-wart self before we left, wondering if Charlotte would get her two naps in every day, if the kids would sleep ok in a hotel room and all that stuff. But we had so much fun, just the four of us. And since these kids are in bed by 8:00, my husband and I got to have some fun, just the two of us. 🙂

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Happy Anniversary!

I can’t believe it’s been 8 years since this day.


I hoped our life would be like this – busy with kids, a dog, a house. But happy. Fun. Laughing on the couch after the kids are tucked in bed. THIS is what life is meant to be like. With you.

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Why Single Parenting Doesn’t Agree With Me

Derek was gone for four days on a re-charge camping trip with a friend, so I was on my own with two kids for a solid 4 days. I’m not exaggerating when I say a SOLID 4 days – he left at 6:30 a.m. Thursday and came back at 11:55 p.m. Sunday night.

Single parents, I don’t know how you do it.

I tried to work from home for one day. After a couple nice minutes of productive work, this happened:

photo (4)Notice the blurry baby making a break for it. She can army crawl faster than um…someone in the…army.

I had some good moments: I went grocery shopping with both kids and actually bought food for us to eat. We played outside and got fresh air, even though that fresh air was about 40 degrees. I’m giving you the stink eye, spring in Wisconsin.

However, I had some bad moments as well: Nothing too bad, but there were times that my frustrations got the best of me. In fact, at one point, the dog was whining that she wanted to go out, so I let her out the patio door. A few minutes later I went to check if she was done doing her business, and I find her just sitting on the bottom step. She looked over her doggy shoulder at me as if to say, “Get it together, Broad. Until you do, I’m staying outside.” Duly noted, dog. Thanks.

I was really lonely at times too. Yes, it’s great that the kids are tucked in their beds (usually) snoozing by 8:30, but that’s when I felt really really alone. Like, I could watch some crappy TV, or read a crappy magazine. But I’d rather just have a beer and talk with my husband. Again, single parents – I applaud you.

The absolute worst though was that by Saturday night I was sick. SICK. The kids weren’t sick! How did I get a cold? I’ll tell you how. Those two kids ran me ragged. I was EXHAUSTED. I longed to be one of those celebrities that checks into a fancy hotel type place claiming exhaustion. Except it really would be because I was friggen exhausted, not covering up for a drug addiction.

So by Sunday night, this is how we sat until bedtime.

Everyone's snoozing.

Everyone’s snoozing.

And then from the grown up to the itty bitty baby, we all rejoiced when Daddy came home.



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To My Husband

How do you say happy birthday to the best person you know?

How do you say happy birthday to someone who has allowed you to have the life you always wanted ever since you were a little girl hoping someday to be a mother?

How do you say happy birthday to someone who makes you laugh every single day?

How do you say happy birthday to someone who is so predictable but only because you’ve been together for 13 years?

How do you say happy birthday to someone who does not have the same taste in TV as you do? Finding Bigfoot? REALLY?

How do you say happy birthday to the person who makes you truly happy?

I guess a blog post will have to do…


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Christmas Break

Today starts the first day of our family Christmas break. No work. No school. Woohoo!

I saved up the remainder of my PTO after maternity leave for this week between Christmas and New Year’s. And I’m so so so glad. Derek gave himself off, too. The perks of being your own boss. One of many. So while we won’t be at work, we’ll still be “working.” On our house. Of course.

We are planning to finish the mother of all of our DIY home remodeling projects – our basement. Namely, we are turning this ginormous open, cement-walled space into a media room, laundry room, bar area, office and playroom. In the future there will also be a music room for Derek and we already built our own bathroom and storage room down there.

IMG_5774This is the biggest space in the basement and will be the media room. The little room off the side is the (completed!) laundry room.

IMG_5777I spend a lot of time there. It’s a good thing it’s nice.

If you turn around from the laundry room, you’ll see this wall.

IMG_5779That big spot on the wall above those built in cabinets will someday hold a big TV. A 60″ TV if Derek has his way. I think there will be a compromise in there. On the left is the solid wood door that will lead to his soundproofed music room where he can bang on his drums and write music on his guitar without waking the whole neighborhood.

IMG_5775Around the corner from the basement steps leads to the bathroom, storage room and Derek’s office. Where Riley is standing is going to be the play area, with the bar area tucked into the back.

Sounds like a lot? It is. So by the end of our 9 days off from work, besides having several days of family celebrations for Christmas, we’d like to finish:

  • Hanging drywall
  • Mudding drywall
  • Painting
  • Putting down a wood laminate floor
  • Installing the hung ceiling
  • Sleeping

Does that sound like a lot? To me it does. But my husband is determined, so watch out.

You’ll remember during last year’s Christmas break, we remodeled every bedroom in our house with new flooring, paint, bedding and crown molding. We are overachievers! But still, wish us luck.





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One Week Alone

I just completed one full week alone with a 3-year old, a dog, a full time job, a house and being 33 weeks pregnant. I should get a medal, right? Right.

My husband had a great opportunity to take a long-ago planned camping trip with the guys to Colorado and Utah. He had the best time. He deserved to go. He got to take awesome pictures like this one:

Amazing, right?

Even though when push came to shove, I desperately didn’t want him to leave. I knew I had to suck it up and make it through the 7 days as a single parent. Whilst pregnant. Really pregnant.


While I knew I’d miss Derek horribly, I knew Riley would miss him just as much or more than me. Since Riley and Derek are together all day while I’m at work, I wasn’t sure how the schedule change would affect our little man. Turns out, we’re still dealing with it, and Derek has been home for 5 days.

My parents took turns watching Riley during the day while I worked. The first few days, and the weekend, were fine. We had lots of fun plans, so it was pretty much smooth sailing. However, I couldn’t believe how much more tired I was than usual. Seriously. By 8:30, with Riley tucked in bed, I could barely keep my eyes open.

After 5 days of no daddy and a new schedule, I came home from work to an over-tired, crazy, practically unmanageable little boy. He’d cry at the drop of a hat, and more than anything, he whined like nothing I’ve ever heard before. His favorite whine? “I want my mommy!” Which he would say even while he was clinging to my leg as I made dinner.

But we made it through, and I’m really proud. Riley and I had fun together. We made memories and we enjoyed our time with it being just the two of us (and the dog). He really is my best friend (besides my husband) and my little sidekick. Though now he’s still very clingy to both of us. He now tells me, “I’m glad you came home” when I get home from work. And there’s lots of “I want my mommy”‘s and “I want my daddy”‘s.

Derek came home late on Friday night, while Riley was already sound asleep. The next morning, Riley woke up early and crept into our bedroom. He didn’t notice Daddy under the covers next to me.

“Mommy,” he whispered.

“Riley! Guess who’s home,” I said. He peered over me and squealed, “DADDY!”

It was genuine, heartfelt and something I know Derek will never forget.

And he has already promised that next year’s trip will only be 4 or 5 days. Hallelujah!

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