Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Here are some cute pictures that seemed to showcase the various facets of Sophie's personality...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Ace of Cakes

For my birthday, I got the best cake ever, specially made by a 3.5 year old baker, who did everything but break the eggs and ice the sides of the cake.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

For you, Mama.

(I'm feeling a little guilty about this post's title. I don't want to misrepresent. What I actually said to Sophie was, "Can I see your flower?" It's not exactly like she picked it just for me. -Kathy)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Whispering Hills Update

We're nearing the end of the Whispering Hills project. Here are some (mostly) interior pictures:

The master bedroom
The master bath, which has a garden tub with separate shower and a walkin closet attached
The upstairs family room
Will in the downstairs bath
One of the two bedrooms downstairs

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A New Car!

Unfortunately, it's not for me!

Grandpa Jim visited last week. We had a nice visit and he bought the kids some pretty incredible gifts:

Monday, May 12, 2008


New Camera has this incredible "continuous" shooting mode where it will take a picture every 1/2 second while you hold down the button. I LOVE continuous shooting mode, since I can immediately delete all the extra pictures, but I am bound to get a good one here and there. It's almost like having a video of all the most monumental events, like Sophie eating a sugar cookie.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

My new friend!

For my birthday, I decided it was time to get a really nice digital camera. After much research and confusion (since I don't know anything about photography), I decided to blindly follow the advice of the Wolf Camera employee and picked out a Nikon D40.

I've had it for almost 24 hours and so far, I am pretty smitten although I'm still figuring a lot of things out. Here are two of my first pictures (as you can see, I'm enjoying experimenting with color effects. You will probably be sick of them soon):

(These shoes are a totally random, silly subject. I locked myself in my closet this morning to read the manual, so when I was practicing taking pictures, they were the first thing I could find.)

Outdoor Fun

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Lincoln Log Bonanza

As I've mentioned, we do a lot of Lincoln Log construction at our house. In fact, most any day you can find a huge "building yard" of Lincoln Logs upstairs in the hallway, just waiting for inspiration to strike (or someone to step on them... ouch!).

A few weeks ago, Will and Grandma got carried away and built an entire Lincoln Log village. Grandma sets the bar way too high for me in so many ways...

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A Cherry On Top!

Last week we went to Jack In The Box one evening for a quick dinner. On their sign outside, they have a picture of a big strawberry shake. Will announced upon arrival that he wanted "One Of Those!"

We explained that if he ate his chicken, we'd get him a shake and he complied. Excited about his purchase, he came with me to the register.

"What kind of shake do you want?" I asked.

"What kind has that red thing in it?" he asked, looking at the cherry on top of the whipped cream in the picture outside.

I explained that I thought those came in every flavor, but he chose strawberry just to make sure the cherry was part of the package as pictured.

As he ate the cherry with relish, he exclaimed, "Mama, this tastes just like Ibuprofen!!!"

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Oak Hill Manor Compound (Think Pink!)

Introducing our latest project property, which Andy has christened Oak Hill Manor. We closed on it on April 22. Bear with the pictures, there is a lot to show. As you will see later, there are actually two houses on the property.

If you are thinking, "Man, that yard looks steep!", it is every bit a bad as it looks.

This is the back view of the house. Here you can see where the previous tenant of the smaller "Treehouse" - which is shown below - was evicted due to the Codes Department declaring the Treehouse "Unfit for Human Habitation." Unfit, Schmunfit, we say.

Another view of the driveway around back. You can see the Treehouse here. If it were fall, all that firewood might be of some value to someone, instead of being dumpster-bound.

Closer view of the Treehouse. While the name "Treehouse" evokes lighthearted, whimsical feelings and appropriately reflects the house's high elevation, it actually was chosen due to the large tree that is growing slammed up against the side of the house, crushing the side gutter and probably cracking the foundation.

With a whole lot of work, this place actually has the potential to be a very small and modest two or three bedroom, two bath home. The houses share a common driveway; you drive around the back of the main house and this house sits near the far back corner of the property. According to Codes, we have until Feb '09 to make the repairs they've deemed necessary; otherwise, the Treehouse will be condemned. The repair list actually looks completely reasonable and is basically only a small part of everything we would be planning to improve anyway.

I don't have interior pictures of the Treehouse, and since I managed to lose every single key associated with the entire property (which numbered about 10), I can't actually access it until Andy helps me break in. Thankfully, he was good-natured about having to drill through the deadbolt of the main house and replace it on Day 4 of our ownership.

Here is the junkiest bedroom, as it was on the day we closed.

Here is the same room after my attempt at organizing it and throwing away all the trash. We are going to try to have an estate/garage sale at the house as soon as we can get it all somewhat organized, although I suspect that we will be left with a lot of stuff to throw away. Notice the pink bedspread and carpet. You'll soon detect a theme.

Here is the tremendously long, skinny living room/dining room combo. That huge pile of material you see near the door represents a portion of all the linens in the house. There is a truly shocking and incredible quantity of linens here.

Here is the second bedroom, after I cleaned it up and Andy sold the bed, along with a sectional sofa, for $50. I applaud this and hope many more sales will follow this first one.

Here's the smaller bathroom. See some pink?

Here's the third bedroom, after I had tried to clean it out and organize it.

Here's the master bath, complete with its pink double vanity. A double vanity in a house built in 1960, I would think, is pretty rare. This house was definitely the recipient of some other pretty groovy upgrades, like the partial wall of decorative shelving in the living room.

This is the family room, adjacent to the kitchen and breakfast nook. As I write this on 5/1, it is still untouched. I am slowly working my way through the house, throwing away trash and organizing. Since we don't have the budget for two remodels at once, we have to finish Whispering Hills before we start this one (these two!) in earnest. Therefore, Andy's time is spent at Whispering Hills, while the kids and I putter around at OHM making slow progress. Since we aren't ready to put the pedal to the medal on this job, the pace isn't a big concern yet.

Another view of the family room.

Here's the kitchen. It too is pretty much untouched since we closed, but I'll get there...

Another super-groovy upgrade was this sweet wall fridge. Apparently it was a 50's invention that didn't exactly take off. Alas, the fridge is inoperable and has been more recently used as regular cabinet storage. We're hoping it may find a good home, though.

Here's the little breakfast nook. Again, an unusual element in an older ranch like this, I would think, to have two separate eating areas.

I'm not sure what purpose on earth this strange, L-shaped room would ever have, but I'm sure Andy will come up with a workable floorplan. This, along with the primitive laundry room shown below, is a filled-in carport.
So there you have it, a first glimpse at the new project(s).