Sunday, July 26, 2015

I'm good at this

Sometimes a week goes by without any major problems and I think "Man! I'm good at this!" That was this week. Granted Gwenny was a special sort of darling, so that helps. She is usually kind, loving, playful anyway, but this week she hardly got upset at all. I think one of the tricks is that I'm learning to give her a heads up. I let her know 10 more minutes, then 5, then 1, or that after we do this, we'll have quiet time, and it's making life really nice.

Every time I come up for air I just think, "This is so much fun!" I love love love these little people! Gwen runs through the house after a ball with, "I got it!" Now maybe that means Jeff doesn't get that nap I wanted for him, but we're managing. Beckett sleeps more and more and it's just wonderful.

This week she started saying, "Uhhh, Daddy?" and "Uhhh, Mommy?" and "You can do it!" "Good job, Mommy!" But we haven't heard "A-go-ah ________" in a while, and we miss it. But now there is Fight Song!!! She loves it and can recognize it in the car even when I'm flipping through stations fast. She can match the intensity changes and sings the last word of each phrase. The last "explosion" is the cutest!!

I love when I vacuum and she walks across it and I can see her little footprints. And when she follows me around with her Minnie vacuum. She can put her pink sandals on all by herself, too. 

Beckett is smiling and laughing so much! I love him more and more every day. He's just so cute!!

Jeff has a Young Men's campout coming up, so we'll see how 60 hours straight by myself goes.... But then I get to go to a Relief Society retreat, so we'll be even ;)

If I can get me a nice Safety Suit/One Republic/Keane/Imagine Dragons run in, I'll be fine.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Baby Beckett Boy and our Gorgeous Gwenny Girl

This week Jeff and I were talking about some things Gwen used to do. Remember when she was learning to crawl? If a toy or something was in her way, she'd grab it and throw it behind her. I had completely forgotten! I just don't journal. I don't. But I really, really want to. So today I thought I'd try typing it out. I type so much faster than I can write, and I might do it more if I could do it faster. 

Anyway, that thing Gwen did makes so much sense now that her personality is really starting to take shape. DE.TER.MINED. I mean wow. Three times she has tumbled down stairs at friends' houses--FOUR! at the church! and each time she took about 10 seconds to cry and be held, then got really mad at us for holding her, pushed herself off and went right back to the stairs to do it again. 

I love her so much I can't even see straight. Right now she's learning so many new words. Well, maybe I shouldn't say learning, she's saying them. She's been stocking them up for a year now, and all of a sudden they're all tumbling out. It's the cutest thing. Everything is the cutest thing your kids do, right?

And she is amazing with Beckett. She sees him and says "Baby Beckett Boy!" then gets up next to him and laughs at something he does. When he cries she says, "S'matter, Baby Beckett?" She gently puts her hand on his cheek or head, and she makes sure she gets to kiss him goodnight after her prayer. She kisses daddy every morning when he leaves for work and gives him a hug, then comes and does the same for me. 

She has a measure of compassion that is very apparent. Even a year ago, she was only 17 or 18 months, I was a little teary after hearing some bad news and she hugged me and patted my shoulder, and now she shows the same love to Beckett. 

And Jeff gave Beckett his priesthood baby blessing today. It was beautiful and I am so excited to watch this little man grow up. I love our little life and what we get to create every day. This home and these experiences, the feeling and spirit I want to have here, and the blessings that are granted in order to do it.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


I've wanted to list all the names we're looking at, but not on FB. Why not here? :) You can totally vote, and we're just going to see what he looks like. The middle name is Jeffrey.

Gordon Green

Simon Green

Vincent Green

Ian Green

Joshua Green

Preston Green

Liam Green

Logan Green

Owen Green

Landon Green

Leo Green

Bennett Green

Beckett Green

Edmund Green

Emmett Green

Simon Gordon Jeffrey Green

We really went the rounds on Simon and Gordon. I LOVE Simon but Jeff doesn't want him to suffer "Simon Says" teasing, and Jeff LOVES Gordon but I don't want Gordy or Gordo to happen. Ever. I do like Gordon though. So I tried to see if four names could work because Jeffrey is solid, and it would give us a compromise, but I don't think we'll do it.

We gravitate to the grandparent's generation of names, classic but a little different from what is trendy right now.

I've always loved Joshua, and Edmund in the second Chronicles of Narnia just warms my heart. But it's so formal. And I don't like Ed. Then Emmett, EMMETT!!! I heard it just a few weeks ago and I LOVE it! But Jeff can't get into it. :(

Over conference Jeff got on a huge Liam kick, but it was number 1 for 2014, and I just can't do that. Right now I'm pretty into Ian. Leo can be reserved for someone in my family who mentioned it. My friend's little brother is Preston, and I LOVE his happy personality. He's just a great guy, all grown up now.

Beckett makes my heart so happy, but I still want to see if it fits him. I've had that one in mind since my happy time in Chicago in 2004 (along with Gwen, actually).

So yeah, that's our crazy long list. We'll just see what he looks like :)

Sunday, April 19, 2015


I have this little fear that's creeping up beside me (name that song). I'm actually very scared and very sad at the possibility and probability that this baby will change my relationship with Gwen. I'm so excited to be done being pregnant again, but I'm going to miss it just being me and my little munchkin. 

I know every stage will change us anyway, but there's a real sadness there that she would ever feel left out or like she couldn't count on me. And all of a sudden there is so much to do, so much I took on, trying to get it done before baby boy gets here but forgetting that that would mean less time connecting with Gwen in the precious few weeks we have left where it's just me and her. 

Lots of prayers, lots of wrestling with this. I just needed to get it out to keep it from bottling up inside, and in case someone has a great story to counter how I'm feeling. (Not that I'll be able to draw attention to this post — I'm embarrassed I'm not more excited.)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

I could not have been a pioneer.

It's 4:16 a.m. and I'm up, again. I felt so stupid voicing this to my visiting teacher a few weeks ago. She just had a baby, and the baby had to go to Primary Children's for a bit.

But I promise I don't voice it in a complainy way. The pregnancy is totally fine and I'm tiny, so I say it just to give people something.

So I don't sleep. Meh. It's either just practice or just really cruel. But I have learned to function, I've even learned to be happy those 5 of 7 days when I slept 4 hours, which means if it was mean practice, it's working. This morning I thought, hey, why not blog.

This house is kicking our trash. Holy cow. So we haven't done much since the master bathroom redo in December because I get really lazy when I'm pregnant and because Jeff was getting ready for a half-Ironman which means he runs, bikes, or swims M–F and about 4 hours + recovery on Saturday. We said it was perfect timing because he could do his half and then we'd have about a month to knock out a few projects before baby comes. So we've been at it two weeks and we want to move. Buy the big house in Lehi or Midway and be done with this little experiment.

He goes to tear out the main bathroom last Saturday, finishes on Monday and there's water under the flooring. It's coming from the water heater on the other side of the wall. It's been leaking fooooor... 3 weeks maybe? We turn off the hot water. It's too late to call a reasonably priced plumbing entity, so we wait til Tuesday morning then call back and forth to Home Depot and Lowe's because each promises on their website if you call before noon you can have a new water heater installed that day. We get everything squared away and paid for with Lowe's (always our second choice, but it just worked out that way) but they can't do it until Wednesday morning. But your site says same day... sorry, new Utah rules means we only have one installer. 


Ok, whatever. Tomorrow, 8 a.m. $1007 for the water heater and install.

Two more people call from Lowe's that day to confirm — their lack of communication is amazing. Then the contract company calls to say between 8 and 12. But Lowe's said we could be at 8? They don't have our schedule, they can't promise you that. Okaaaaaaay.

The contract company shows up at 9, goes into our crawl space to check things out, comes up and says Lowe's won't do the installation because we have polybutylene pipes. But my company will do it for twice as much. Or we can have the piping switched out and then pay Lowe's to install the water heater. We'll charge you $3300 to switch out the piping.

We've known we had polybutylene pipes since December when we had someone switch out our shower valve. (Lowe's, why didn't you mention a few reasons an install would be impossible 24 hours ago?) Apparently polybutylene is evil and must be eradicated. And costs a few thousand to switch out with pex piping. And home inspectors are supposed to tell you if it's in the home you're considering purchasing. Ours said, "This door doesn't shut nicely."

So I call Jeff and we decide to see if another plumber can do the switch out for less. I find two companies who can stop by and give me a quote that day and we go with one that said $2200 for the pipes, and then we can do the water heater install for $1000, but if we're doing them the same day, we can do it for $700. And we can do it tomorrow.

Done. And we got to fire Lowe's which felt very good.

Thursday comes and by the end of a very boring day where the munchkin watched way too much TV and we drew pictures on the driveway because we couldn't really leave the house but didn't really want to stay in the house because I hate contractors in our house, we have hot water and pipes that won't explode on a whim. Jeff comes home from work an hour early and I'm able to go to an editing meeting (still haven't showered since Monday) and then I run to get some badly needed groceries and leave Jeff with a very hungry little girl. I'm home by 7 and Gwen burns through a full carton of raspberries, and then is fine. By the way, thank you, dear neighbor Saren for letting me use your restroom a few times. :)

(In that paragraph I talked about editing right after a huge run-on sentence. Forgive me?)

Thursday night I got to shower and wake up the next morning at 3:00 again.

Now it's Saturday morning and we get new windows today. The existing windows sweat when Jeff looks at me, let alone when the shower is running or water is boiling. The front one has a hole in it and Baby Boy's room freezes at night, even with the heater on.

We've had quotes with infuriating salesmen starting at $10,000 for 8 windows until we almost went with Home Depot for $5000, then found a company who does 10 for $3700 or our 8 for $3100. If everything goes well today, I will totally recommend them: Intermountain West Contractors. They were the only ones who would give me a quote over the phone and not demand to come to my house for a 2-hour presentation trying to upsell me on the best window options. I've already told you I want to buy windows, just give me a price range. May Sears forever burn.

After this we just need the main bath tiled and then in another few years, the roof re-shingled. I'm going to hope it will end up still being worth it, but I'm starting to think it might not be. Either way, we have learned so much more than we thought we would, and if this info is helpful in any way to anyone else, that's a good thing.

By the way, they stopped using polybutylene in houses in 1995. And yes, ours was built in 1994. :/

Now I'm hearing the birds wake up and it's making me really happy. Early mornings aren't so bad. :)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Entryway and Light Fixtures

Until the bathrooms get done, the other projects are more furniture/decorating things and not so much tearing stuff out or bringing down walls. So this one is about the entry.

There are so many fun, beautiful, functional things you can do with an entryway. I thought about the rack of coat hooks with art or a mirror above. 
And the more "me" version without art. I can't do gallery walls 'cause they stress me out. Looking at them, there's just a little too much going on for me, and making one and trying to get it to all "go" would kill me.
Of course the pretty-only, pretty non-functional console table. This is fun to decorate, but only if I had another place to put coats and scarves and boots, which I don't.
And the coveted locker/cubby system. I love it, but we don't need something like this yet, and I'm pretty sure I can make it work next to the garage door in a few years when the kids are actually in school. And really, the garage door is where they'll mostly come in anyway, I think.
In the end, this was the one I gravitated toward the most. I needed a bench for older family members to sit down to take their shoes off. I liked the mirror because I thought it would open that wall up and because it's nice to be able to take one last look before you walk out the door. But it didn't have coat hooks and I couldn't think of what to do about it, so I did nothing for months.

Until I found these.

 I bought two and spray painted them "hammered pewter."

This was the bench I finally landed on. It looked so substantial in the pics, and it is. I love it. I didn't want it to take away from the entryway light fixture, so I painted it white to make it less "there." I don't know if that was the best decision.

This light was the first thing I bought for the house. I was SO EXCITED to choose my own lights. I did a little happy dance when I got to throw away the boob lights. Sorry, I got that term from someone I can't remember and it's the only thing I can think to call them. And I'm really sorry if I just ruined it for anyone who has them, which is probably a lot of people because they're everywhere. It's just that lights can have so much personality!! So I like to go find the ones that make a difference.

When we were deciding between this light (above) and this second option (below), Jeff voted for the top one because it looked like something out of Middle Earth. At first I thought, hey, if you love something that I do, you can use whatever reason you want. Now when we make certain aesthetic decision we think of the White City of Gondor and Rivendell. I know, we're geeks. It might never really look like that's what our goal was, and maybe that's a good thing, but it's fun to keep in mind, and helpful because of the options it eliminates.

I ended up getting both and putting the second in the dining area.

You see both of these lights at the same time and I love that they don't match. Here's the one I got for the hall, since we're on the subject:

And two of these pendents over the island:

I can't decide if I should leave them as is or paint them the same hammered pewter as the coat hooks. I think I'm going to paint them. Stop me if you think I'm wrong.

Anyway, back to the entryway. This was a $35 mirror we got from Home Depot when we were staging our townhome to sell. I painted the frame a stainless steel color, but now I'm thinking I should have done the pewter. Maybe in the spring...

It had to be centered where it made sense no matter where the studs were, so we got these drywall anchors.

And voila! I thought I had taken a clear picture but I hadn't. Sorry. And yes, the hooks look like spiders, but now they have coats on them so it's ok :)

I love love love the functionality of it, but something about it is just... off. I can't figure out if it's the white of the bench or the color of the frame, and even if I could, I don't know what the solution would be. Maybe it will dawn on me in a few months. In any case, we have somewhere to put stuff this winter! Happy day!

And just for fun and because we all love baby bums, this is something I found looking for pictures of this project: Gwenny getting into downward dog. I love when she does yoga.

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Don't you hate it when you're looking for avocado recipes and the website has thumbnails of junk? Ugh. Anyway, I totally borrowed this because I didn't want to send my friend to a yucky link via pinterest. I kept all the credits, so I'm ok right?

Jeff and I are a little obsessed with avocados. And beets. But this is just about the avocados.

Photo by Macey Foronda, Type by Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed

For all of these recipes, use a super-ripe avocado and a big spoon.

You might want to chop things a little smaller than we did for some of these photos. Before you pile on any toppings, take a small scoop out of the middle of your avocado (bonus: eat that extra avocado immediately), then maybe even cross-hatch the flesh of the avocado with a paring knife. This will make the snacks easier to eat.
All recipes by Rebekah Peppler

1. Coconut Oil + Shredded Coconut + Macadamia Nuts + Mango

Photo by Macey Foronda, Type by Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed
Coat avocado halves with a little bit of coconut oil. Grill avocado halves, flesh side down, until charred, about 2 minutes. In a medium mixing bowl, combine 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut, 2 tablespoons chopped macadamia nuts, and 1 cup coarsely chopped mango. Drizzle an additional teaspoon of coconut oil on each grilled half, then spoon the coconut-mango mixture on top.

2. Tequila + Grapefruit + Jicama + Sugar

Photo by Macey Foronda, Type by Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed
In a medium mixing bowl, combine 1 tablespoon tequila, zest and segmented flesh of 1 large grapefruit, 1 medium jicama* (peeled and thinly sliced), and a pinch of sugar. Toss everything together, and spoon over the avocado halves to serve.
*sub daikon or regular radish for jicama if you can’t find it.

3. Tuna Salad + Cheddar + Chives

Photo by Macey Foronda, Type by Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed
Drain one 5-ounce can of tuna and in a medium mixing bowl, combine tuna, 1 stalk minced celery, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, and salt and pepper. Spread over halved avocados and sprinkle with 2 ounces shredded cheddar. Broil until the cheddar is melted and starting to brown, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with chives and serve.

4. Black Beans + Queso Fresco + Scallion + Corn

Photo by Macey Foronda, Type by Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed
In a medium mixing bowl, combine 3/4 cup black beans, 2 ounces thinly sliced queso fresco, 4 sliced scallions, and 1/2 cup corn kernels. Season with salt and pepper, and divide the mixture between the two avocado halves.

5. Egg + Za’atar + Toast

Photo by Macey Foronda, Type by Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed
Put avocado halves, flesh side up, in a large baking dish. Crack an egg in each avocado half and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon za’atar, sea salt and pepper. Bake in a 350°F oven until the egg whites are set but the yolk is runny, about 10 minutes. Toast 1-2 slices of bread, then cut it in strips, serve, and dip toast soldiers into the runny yolk.

6. Iceberg Lettuce + Bacon + Blue Cheese Dressing

Photo by Macey Foronda, Type by Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed
Cook 4 slices of bacon until crispy, then crumble it into large pieces. Coarsely chop 4 large leaves iceberg lettuce and toss with chopped bacon and 2 tablespoons blue cheese dressing. Spoon on top of halved avocados and serve.

7. Radish + Feta + Mint + Peas + Lime

Photo by Macey Foronda, Type by Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed
Thinly slice 4 small radishes into rounds. In a medium mixing bowl,, toss sliced radish with 1 ounce crumbled feta, 4 thinly sliced mint leaves, 1/4 cup peas, and the juice of 1 lime. Season with salt and pepper and serve on top of avocado halves.

8. Cilantro + Parsley + Chives + Sour Cream + Tortilla Chips

Photo by Macey Foronda, Type by Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed
Scoop out about half of the flesh from the halved avocados. In a medium mixing bowl, mash the scooped-out avocado flesh with 1 tablespoon each chopped cilantro, parsley and chives, 1/2 cup sour cream, salt and pepper. Spoon back into the avocado shells and serve with a handful of tortilla chips, for dipping.

9. Lump Crabmeat + Chives + Olive Oil + Lemon

Photo by Macey Foronda, Type by Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed
In a medium mixing bowl, toss together one 6-ounce can lump crab meat, 1 tablespoon minced chives , 1 tablespoon olive oil, and the juice and zest of 1 lemon. Season with salt and pepper, and divide the crab salad between the two avocado halves.

10. Soy Sauce + Rice Vinegar + Brown Rice + Sesame Seeds

Photo by Macey Foronda, Type by Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together 1 teaspoon soy sauce and 1 teaspoon rice vinegar. Add 1 cup cooked brown rice and mix to coat the rice with the sauce. Divide between the avocado halves, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sesame seeds.

11. Mango + Cilantro + Cayenne + Peanuts

Photo by Macey Foronda, Type by Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed
In a medium mixing bowl, combine 1 small, thinly sliced mango, 1 tablespoon roughly chopped cilantro, and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Spoon over halved avocados and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon peanuts and a pinch of salt.

12. Quinoa + Edamame + Parsley + Sea Salt

Photo by Macey Foronda, Type by Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed
In a medium mixing bowl, toss together 1 cup cooked quinoa, 1/2 cup shelled edamame, and 2 tablespoons chopped parsley. Spoon over avocado halves; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

13. Tomato + Mozzarella + Basil + Balsamic

Photo by Macey Foronda, Type by Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed
Coarsely chop 1 large beefsteak tomato and 4 ounces fresh mozzarella. In a medium mixing bowl, toss together tomato, mozzarella, 6 roughly torn basil leaves, salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Spoon the mixture on the avocado halves, and drizzle with 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar.

14. Hard-Boiled Egg + Dijon Mustard + Celery + Parsley

Photo by Macey Foronda, Type by Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed
In a medium mixing bowl, combine 2 roughly chopped hard-boiled eggs, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 stalk minced celery, and 2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley leaves. Season with salt and pepper, and divide between the avocado halves.

15. Carrot + Cumin + Lemon + Pistachios

Photo by Macey Foronda, Type by Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed
Shave 1 medium carrot with a vegetable peeler into long strips. In a medium bowl whisk together 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, juice and zest of 1 lemon, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the shaved carrot, season with salt and pepper, toss to coat, and divide the shaved carrot between the halved avocados. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon chopped pistachios.

16. Orange + Fish Sauce + Lime + Scallion + Peanuts

Photo by Macey Foronda, Type by Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the segments of 1 large orange, 1 teaspoon fish sauce, the juice of 1 lime, 2 sliced scallions, and 2 tablespoons peanuts. Toss everything together, and spoon over the avocado halves to serve.

17. Cucumber + Sun-Dried Tomato + Olives

Photo by Macey Foronda, Type by Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed
Chop half a medium English cucumber into rough 1/4-inch pieces. In a medium mixing bowl, combine chopped cucumber, 3 tablespoons roughly chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and 3 tablespoons roughly chopped kalamata olives. Divide between the avocado halves.

All recipes by Rebekah Peppler.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The fireplace project

I've looked and looked and I can't find the fireplace project pictures anywhere. I have the original, first before:

and the middle:

and the after:

In this one, the brass bar is painted with high-heat black paint. And the TV, I know, it bugs me too. I'll figure out how to make it work.

The other pictures I can't find were just of all the tape and plastic around the mantel so I wouldn't mess up and get it on the wall or brick.

I love the white, of course, but I was surprised how much I loved it with the brick. It brings out the white bits. I'm so happy there is brick in the house. I mentioned how with all the white I'm afraid of the house becoming too clean and too plastic; the brick breaks it up, makes it a little more real, relaxed.

Mostly I followed this blog:  She does fantastic work. Oh that I were a perfectionist and could make things look that good. I'm a 90% perfectionist, which means I'm not at all. I get excited about a project and drive through it until I'm tired or frustrated and figure, meh, it looks good enough. 

In the before picture, do you see those grooves on the post? I emailed that blogger and asked her about the best way to fill them in and she said I shouldn't because it would give it dimension. But it adds to the visual busy-ness factor which I just don't do. If we had stairs with posts and railing, or anything at all in the house to relate to the three lines down each side, I would have kept them. Even my dad gasped when I told him I'd filled them in, but I love it. It's simple and perfect for me. 

Our master-of-everything-fix-it friend Steve said to make sure I sanded the edges of the grooves really well so that the wood filler would get onto the sides, otherwise it would shrink and leave rims when it dried. That worked really well, though I still did 3 or 4 applications of the wood filler, sanding and filling in again because the surface kept sinking in making a little hollow. Then I did about 3 coats of primer to fill in the oak pores and then 2 coats of paint. It's been 4 months and I still haven't done the furniture wax coat... Just how important is that anyway? See? 90%. *Sigh*

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bathroom decisions

Hey, I need some help. I need to decide on the bathroom tile and I'm waaaaay overthinking it. Right now I have a carrara tile for the bathtub surrounds and a wood-look porcelain for the floors. The closest picture I can find to show the two together is this:

The surround: Neutral without being boring and flat, right? These would be in 10x14 tiles.

The floors: I just need more wood in the house. I love these. And it does have gray in it, yes.

I WANT these two to work. I love them both. But do they work together? Keep in mind our bathrooms are tiny, just 5'x10'. I look at the picture above and think, So what, we'll have dance practice in there? 

The tub is your basic tub/shower deal with a curtain. This is the master bathroom vanity, just to give you everything:


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Kitchen Part 2

Taking 3-4 weeks to put up the cabinets makes us sound so slow. Jeff put together maybe 1 cabinet a night, one Castle episode at a time. Then we placed them. He had to build up the base of the island with a few 2x4s. I don't know, it just takes so long. Full time job, training for a triathlon, I watch Gwen, should we have moved along faster? I don't know.

Sometime in May, though, Jeff said, "Jena, I think we should just pay to have the bathrooms done." I've never loved him more. After 4 months of this we just realized there was more we wanted to do with our weeks than work on a house. So we slowed down even more. 

Anyway, back to the kitchen. I had to wait until everything was placed to get the countertops ordered. I love LOVE Bianco Antico granite with the colors we have going on. Especially with our appliance finish.

And if I could justify dropping that much I would have. But I just couldn't. And you have to seal it every year?! No thank you. It's not a fancy house and we have no idea how long we'll be here, so we went with a Formica Laminate counter that Home Depot installed. 

I ordered it before they finished their 10% off sale, but had to keep pushing the measure back while we finished figuring out the island. See, this house is one level, no cold storage, and the garage wasn't insulated so it gets cold in winter and hot in summer. You can't store food out there. I really really really wanted 12-inch cabinets on the back of the regular 24-inch ones that would serve as that long-term food storage because they'd be kind of inaccessible in front of the stools. At least not regularly accessible. But it made the hangover of the countertop too far into the walkway and I had to let it go. I'd been wishy washy on the 12-inch deep pantry cabinets versus the 24-inch deep ones, and that was one of the reasons we went with the 24-inch deep. 

After having the whole place be so empty for so long, putting these in was completely overwhelming. They were monsters. I freaked out and called a few friends, especially Cyleste. I knew she'd give me the most down-to-earth, no-nonsense response, and she did: you need storage space. Get em.

With those decided we went ahead with the countertop order. My thoughts on Formica, now that we've had it for a few months: eh. But really, $1700 vs. $6000 for the granite? And that might sound steep even for granite, but granite comes in grades, and the ugliest are the cheapest. They give you their 6 most brown options that are the most popular (why?!) because they can get them en masse, and they make the pretty ones more expensive. :( I couldn't do it. So the laminate is.... ok. It's pretty, I do like the pattern, and if someone is going to design something like that I want to acknowledge that it's really cool, but whoever glued the end pieces on didn't do it as tight as the advertisements say. And they made the corners really pointy!! It totally freaks me out for when Gwen gets taller and starts running around the house. They had a corner option like this:

Flat for 3 inches, see? But I didn't know about it. There's only so much research I can do! I wish the measurer would have told me about it. But that's why I'm here, right? I tell you all of my mistakes so you don't make the same ones.

We accidentally got some caulk on the countertop a few days ago and when we wiped it off, a bit got in the seam. It disguised the black line so I need to look into whether we can do that to keep water out of it. Or will the caulk expand and mess up the edge piece?

Moving on...

This is the sink and faucet:

I LOVE this sink and I love this faucet even more. The sink is a Blanco White Diamond Single Basin Silgranite 33 1/2" x 22". I learned that sinks are the same price on Amazon, FaucetDirect, or at the Standard Plumbing Supply Co. down the road. Kind of nice. I was going to go with just a nicer grade stainless steel, but I needed something a little more fun. Plus, when Jeff said yes to this faucet (*squeal*!!!!) I realized it looked a lot better on white than it would on another gray metal. The sink was more expensive than a builder-grade stainless steel sink the same size, but less expensive than a decent-grade one. I'll take it! Oh yeah, one more reason: our appliances.

These are from the slate line that GE makes. I've been lusting after them ever since they came out 3ish years ago. In fact they're a big part of the reason we did white cabinets. I think they look great with them. You should know I love wood, and I have the wood I want to use in our next house picked out, but I knew how to put this look together right now. Plus after three years in our non-endunit townhome, we needed light! bright! white! happy! So, white cabinets.

Wanna see the wood cabinets I love?

Isn't that gorgeous?! I promise I'm not crazy, but yes, I would redo a house three times a year if someone let me. There are so many beautiful things out there to do.

Ok, back to the appliances. They're a matte finish (I've heard nobody likes that stainless steel can't hide finger prints) and they're warmer than the stainless. And, well, not everybody and their mother has them. Sorry, I'm like that. They work PERFECTLY with the flooring. And my KitchenAid mixer and toaster! That's either very cool or I just really like that color. Oh my goodness so pretty.

So I didn't want the stainless steel sink because that's just one more color -- a big block of color -- to have to try to work with. I like my neutrals, and I like few of them. (Have I ever told you my wedding color was taupe? Hmm, maybe I'm the boring one.) But the more colors you have the busier it seems, and most of the time I don't like things visually busy. It kind of stresses me out. Maybe it wouldn't if I was good at it, but I'll figure that out later. All of this is of course personal preference. It's just me.

They do have a slate finish in a Pfister faucet that was made to work with the GE appliances, but I don't like the profile. I heard Moen was good so I started looking at theirs and found this spot-resist stainless finish. I kind of thought it'd be a nice perk, but didn't really think they could pull it off. Wrong. It is AWESOME! I love this thing! It really does resist spots. I have to remind myself to wipe it down every once in a while so it doesn't start getting buildup like everything is bound to do, but for the day-to-day, it is gorgeous.

And I love the profile. Less pronounced than the big arching ones that are popular right now, but not stick straight like some lower ones. The horizontal reach makes it so I don't have to lean over the sink, I can just stand up straight and wash, and it's not so high that the water seems to splash everywhere. Plus it's just pretty!! It's like a subtly fancy bracelet that my kitchen wears. Sigh.

Last but not least (for now: we still need to install the lights which might not happen til next year): the backsplash.

I've never had real backsplash before, not growing up or anything I mean (I've been married a whopping 4 years, I know) just the little 4-inch lip on all the laminate countertops. They say backsplash is the last thing you put in a kitchen so that you make sure it works with everything. They also say to be careful because backsplash can be so trendy and so personal that it can be a real turn-off to buyers, if you're not sure this is going to be your home for a really long time. They recommend doing what you want if it's your forever home, and going conservative if it's not.

I naturally gravitate toward conservative anyway, but I hate boring. Everyone seems to recommend classic white subway tile with darker grout so it doesn't get dirty.

But then it ALWAYS looks dirty. I think this look fits really well with an industrial feel, but that's not our house, and it's not even that kitchen.

White grout is better for this style, but yes, it's going to be annoying to seal and keep clean and all that. Spaghetti sauce WILL splatter on my stove. I'm terrible with keeping the heat where it needs to be.

This I love. It's subway, but at least it's something other than white. But for me, I was nervous about trying to make a color work with the appliances.

I knew I wanted a little mini brick, a 2"x4" tile, neutral, but not boring. The house was taking on a little too "clean" of a style, a little too sleek and stuffy. It needed something not flat, not single-color to soften it a bit, make it feel more comfortable. Maybe metal? Maybe a wood look? I knew what I didn't want it to be, but it was hard to nail down what I did want until I saw it.

I was in a hurry because the countertops were open in the back, so if water got down the wall and into the wood, it could warp. Finally, I was looking through Houzz pictures (that's where those last few are from by the way) and saw this:

Perfect!!! It's a 2x4 tile, it's light, and it has some variation. It looks natural, not tight. Yay!! But my guys at the flooring place couldn't get it. So one day I'm walking down the Home Depot tile section and there it is!! And the edges are beveled, too!!!

At that point it didn't matter that this natural-looking tile IS natural. It's marble, so it needed to be sealed, which is exactly what I was trying to avoid with the counters. But! That meant that I'd be sealing the grout anyway, so I could go with a lighter one without any extra work! The bottom line is it just goes, so I learned how to seal.

So this is the kitchen. I swore I'd never have cabinets that didn't go to the ceiling (remember me and dust?) but with a vaulted ceiling I didn't have a choice. And the vault is nice. Who doesn't like a little more height?

One of the best parts? The island is huge. And the other side?

All drawers :D :D :D. A 24-inch, a 30-inch, and another 24-inch. They fit so much stuff!

I'm hoping for the slate oven for Christmas or my birthday, and we still need to do the little top molding strips, the lights, and some front island work. And the stools are just garage-sale place holders. I'm sorry but they just don't go. But it works and it's pretty and I love it. Cooking in it is so much fun!! Totally worth the two months without. And the $2800 in our pockets doing it ourselves. And the pride. Jeff is AWESOME. We totally can't express how cool we feel having done this. And by we I mean mostly Jeff.