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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Building a mother in laws quarters part 4 (Act One,,,)

We spent a very hot... humid.... sweaty.... Memorial Day weekend at the property.  When we are at the property and need to go into town, we say "we're going to town".  Literally, we have to drive 7-10 minutes to get to town!  Trust me, "the town" is very exciting when all you have are trees, bugs and wild animals surround you.  Walmart has never been so exciting for me (and I'm a total Target girl!).

Anyways, since I'm splitting this post up into two days worth (today is about the cabin, tomorrow is what we find to do to stay busy....) here is the story so far:

We arrive at the cabin LATE (early in the morning?) at night -- and we go to bed immediately in the pop up camper (air conditioning is so awesome when you are camping!).  The next morning, Mike shows us the cabin.  He warns me "listen, this is going to be MUCH bigger than you think!"  Well, imagine my surprise that I think it's much SMALLER than I thought!  But, it's OK, it's just a small cabin -- and it's totally doable to stay in for short periods of time.  I'm not spoiled.

The girls and I start by gathering all the sticks & branches that are lying around the ground.  Mike mows the grass all around.  By this time, I can't wait to burn the dead branches and smell the delicious smell of smoke burning.  Odd, I know.  Mike starts to work on the bottom part of the house.

After picking up branches & wood, I notice a big pile of wood off to a section of the land that we can toss into the burning pile, and yell for Maddie to help me.  We have our gloves on, grab some wood and away we go.  All of a sudden I glance down and see all these red ants moving around on the wood, realize they were fire ants -- RAN to the fire to throw it in, and yelled at Maddie to drop her piles of wood.  Maddie holds her wood close to her body, not away from the body like I do.  Just as I screamed at her to drop her wood, she starts screaming and throws down her branches.  The fire ants were ALL over her little arms and shirt.  I start swatting at them, trying to brush them off her arms, realizing that my gloves are covered w/ the darn ants as well.  Yank my gloves off, yank her gloves off -- and tried to get her to take her shirt off.  Miss Maddie is so modest, that she can't think of taking her shirt off, but I yank it off her anyways.  Eighteen bites later (it is actually 19 b/c I saw one on her neck this morning) -- she was given hydrocortisone & a Benadryl to ward off a possible allergic reaction. 

By this time, Mike is almost done w/ the bottom part of the house (sheathing?  is that what it's called?) -- so he gives Katie & I a job to caulk.  I caulk, Katie wipes with a rag.  We do a darn good job. Other than holding up pieces of plywood for Mike and sweeping dead bugs, this is the only thing I help Mike out on.  So, he's totally a one man on the job worker here this weekend.  Oh, and I made sure he drank water & Gatorade as well -- so that's a few things I helped out while there.  I'm so important....  {rolling eyes}


By now, Mike's ready to start placing plywood on the walls.  This was his first sheet he put up.  Notice the bug zapper on the right?  We had a huge mountain of dead insects by the time we left.  It covers up to 1 1/2 acres .... thank goodness for bug zappers!



And here is the finished look as we left it yesterday.  Notice Katie sitting on her butt in the chair?  I'll be sharing more stories of how the girls entertained themselves in my next post. 


So now all is left is to put up the rest of the plywood, the roof, then wrap some kind of paper around it all to keep the moisture out.  I'd call it Saran Wrap, but I'm 100% positive I'm wrong.  Not sure what it's called.  Like usual, goes in one ear, out the other, but I get the basic idea:  needs to keep the moisture out.  After that, the siding goes up on the outside.  We still need to pick out a siding. 


Oh, and news flash on the color!  I think we're going with YELLOW!! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Building a mother in laws quarters part 3

Mike came back from a very busy weekend last weekend... he was busy "going vertical."  That means, he put the frame up on the cabin!!  Wahoo!  Now I have a vision (kind of) of what it's going to look like!  I can never visualize anything when it comes to buildings or decorating -- Mike's the total dreamer in the family when it comes to that.  I just make my demands (window on all four sides, big porch, bathroom is a must, and I get to pick out the color of paint) He does the rest.

Sidenote:  I think I lost out on picking the color of paint too.... bummer. I wanted yellow, Katie wanted purple, Maddie said pink, and Mike said "Yeah, right....NO!" 

If you're following the progress of our cabin -- starting with the mother in law's quarters -- then let's pick up where we left off.

Mike spent all day on Friday & Saturday framing the cabin.  This is what it now looks like:


It's going to be 16 x 19 (or is it 18? I can't remember.....).  It will have a bathroom, a loft where two queen beds will be placed upstairs, laundry room, small kitchen & a living room area.  In the above picture, Mike keeps telling me that we are looking at the back of the cabin, but to me that's just stupid b/c it should really be the front of the cabin regardless of where it falls on the land.  My front door shouldn't be looking straight into a forest.  But, that's just my point of view...  He says/she says... tomato/tomatoh.... wash/warsh.... you get it.


This picture shows our pop up camper ==  we will be staying in this baby the next time we go up.  Mike tells me a very good night of sleep can be found in this baby.  I hope he's right.  Last weekend I slept on the floor at a museum, and a good night of sleep was NOT to be found.  I looked everywhere for it...  ;D


Mike told me what this thing is, but I just can't remember.  I'm sure it does something very important.


This is looking at our bathroom and laundry room.  The laundry room is going to be a closet (you can see the wood coming out a bit).  Our Jacuzzi tub is already waiting to be hooked up.  We have to get water on the land first... and a septic tank.  Ewww!  I'm so glad Mike & his buddy took the tub up b/c now I don't have to argue and say mean things at my husband as we try to haul it in the cabin.  Mike said it was HEAVY!  (remember my post on placing that telephone pole for electricity?  Yeah...)


Now, these things, I can tell you about!  Between the roof/wood -- those silver things are hurricane something.  OK, so I forgot the actual word, but I know the word hurricane is in the description.  Basically, it's to reinforce the wood together, so in hurricane type of winds, the wood won't fall apart (fly away?).

Sidenote:  I told Mike to blog about these projects, but he said "I don't blog."  So, you get me..... With me so far?  I barely am!


My beautiful Jacuzzi tub (with tires on it.... so redneck) .... the night before Mike left, he called me leaving the store telling me to come down and look at this Jacuzzi tub that was on the damaged racks (had a break in the side which was totally fixable) -- marked down to $200!!  (From $898).  He was on a job site and didn't want to buy it w/out me looking at it, so I drove down, looked at it, and bought it.  Told all the employees that my husband would be down the next morning to get it.  They put a SOLD sticker on it w/ his name ... and away I went.  The next morning, Mike showed up to pick it up, only to find that it was SOLD! and GONE!!  He was a little ticked ... but he walked away with a brand new Jacuzzi tub that morning.  Pretty happy about that!


This is looking up to the roof.  Mike made it a little higher, so that we could easily do two levels if we wanted to, but I really like the idea of a loft... so we're sticking with a loft.  Score one for Amy!

Stay tuned for more "building stories as understood by Amy" to come!!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

National Junior Honor Society

A few weeks ago Katie received an application to fill out for the National Junior Honor Society.  We were pretty excited for her, so we (I) filled out the paperwork and waited to find out if she was accepted -- which she was!  (somehow, I think all kids who fill out the application are accepted?).

Here are my very bad photos from that night.  (talked to another mom who took pictures and she said her photos were horrible as well -- not sure what exactly happened!)






One of these days I will capture a great picture from Mike...


After it was all said and done, Katie chose Applebees to eat dinner....  Yumm!

Way to go Katie!  Super proud of you!


I'm so late in this review.... probably because of my misunderstanding with the entire process for this company!  I was given the opportunity to order 5 packs of gum from MyExtraGum courtesy of BSM Media & Extra gum.  I finally had a chance to sit down this morning since my deadline was coming up and FAST!  However, I thought I had to create FIVE different designs so I could get five packs of gum.  WRONG!  I just wasted an hour of my day (which I don't have) coming up with designs and trying to find pictures .... only to realize when I went to my cart to finalize, that ONE order is five packs of gum.  ::thud::

So, this is my review of MyExtraGum .  I think the idea in general is a very good idea, however, for one set of five packs of gum, it will run you $24.95 + a $6.95 shipping fee.  Pretty pricey for gum, in my opinion.  The price does go down for more gum that you buy .... but really, I don't know who would still pay $3 for a pack of gum to give away at a Corporate event, or for party/wedding favors.  But then again, I can be pretty "cheap" or even frugal and have to say I wouldn't do this again.

The process of creating a design is relatively easy itself.  You can upload from your computer, Facebook or even Flickr.  My only beef (well, a few beefs, I guess) is that the Browse button to upload from your computer stopped working.  Not sure if that was because it was something w/ my computer or something w/ the website?  I could upload from my computer fine elsewhere.  When I tried to take pictures from my Facebook account, it only went halfway through my albums.  So, I only got half of my pictures to choose from -- which made me mad, so I finally uploaded pictures to Flickr from my computer in order to get the pictures I wanted.  Took a LONG time when you consider I was doing five different designs.

Now, when you add a picture, you can change the size, change the color of the picture (which I thought was totally cool and my favorite part of this whole process) -- you could do a Hipster, '70's, desaturation, B&W, etc ... or you could "leave alone".  Since I do my own editing, I did not use this feature, but it was a cool add.  You have a bunch of colors to choose from, as well as fonts to use for your wording.

Would I use this site again?  No .. probably not.  Simply because it was too expensive.  If I had all the money in the world and I could do anything I want with it -- then sure!  I'd use it again!  But, given my frustration with the system (which was slow at times), and the adding pictures ... that might also make me not want to try it out again.  However, knowing what I know now, it might be much easier to use next time.

When I get my five packs of gum (in the same design...), I will take a picture and show everyone.  :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

my daughter... the great actress

Yesterday I was at the computer when Katie came home from school.  I noticed immediately that her shirt was backwards, and her tag from her shirt was hanging out.

This was our conversation:

Me:  "Hi Katie!  Uh... did you know you have your shirt on backwards?"

Katie:  "huh?"  looks down at her shirt, then gasps

Me:  "Did you wear your shirt like that ALL day long?"

Katie:  "uh... yeah."  still in disbelief that she wore her shirt backwards

Me:  "do you even have friends to tell you that your shirt is on backwards?!!!"  silently thinking that my child has no friends

Katie:  "nope!  No one said a word!  Man!!  How embarrassing!!"  

several long seconds pass and I'm staring at her like she's from outer space.  My daughter... the blonde.

Katie:  starts laughing.... "mom, I knew it was backwards!"

Me:  "Seriously?  Well.. why would you do something like that?!"

Katie:  "oh, don't worry, I just changed my shirt from the front to the back on the bus b/c we were talking about that quote that was on my shirt -- my friends said to leave my shirt backwards and to see if you noticed"

Me:  "Katie, I notice everything...."

Katie:  "yep, you sure do!"

What killed me at this point was that she TOTALLY played her part perfectly.  Completely serious when she needed to be, laughing at the right time.  She's an actress, I'll tell ya!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Saying goodbye to Grandpa

Last November Grandpa passed away on Thanksgiving Day.  It was a devastating blow to the entire family.  However, I count my many blessings that I was able to be there in the hospital room with him as he took his last breaths.  We had a memorial service several days later.  Grandpa was cremated -- but the family needed some time before we buried him.  We knew exactly where we were going to bury him, but it was winter, cold ... and I had to return home.  When I went home for my cousin's wedding, we all agreed it was the perfect time to bury him.


Most of the family gathered together on Sunday morning  -- Mother's Day -- to head out to my my dad's & Grandpa's hunting grounds, over an hour and a half away.  Twenty-two years ago (I might be off by a few years), my dad and grandpa went knocking door to door in the country, trying to find a place to hunt.  They happened upon this couple and became great friends with them over the years.  They said it would be an honor for them -- to have grandpa's ashes buried on their land.

So we arrived at their home to let them know we arrived, and lo & behold.... there are hummingbirds flying all over the place.  My grandparents have hummingbird feeders outside their house as well, but there were at least FIVE hummingbirds at one time eating!!  It was the neatest thing ever.  Hummingbirds always caught my grandparents attention and awe.


Then we drove to the part of the land in which this couple will soon build their new home.  My dad tells me this area of the meadow is where Mike has gotten many a deer -- so has Grandpa and I can't remember who else.

My cousin Herschel walks Grandma down to the site.


After we decide on the area which would be perfect, he and my aunt start digging. 


It becomes apparent that it is very hard, and full of rocks... so time to bring out the big tools!!


Everyone watches as Herschel & others took turns shoveling.


Even my brother takes a turn ..... He's wearing Grandpa's favorite hat.  
My grandpa loves the Royals (a baseball team in Kansas City) -- 
he'd sit in his chair every time a game played and cheered his beloved team on.


After a good amount of dirt was dug, it was time for our little service. 
My aunt read a poem written by my dad night/morning of. 


I told my parents that I wanted to find a metal box to put little mementos inside.  My grandma had some things she wanted to put with the urn, but I thought a metal box would do the trick.  Imagine my surprise on Saturday morning when I went to the garage sale across the street from my parents house, and I found the exact metal box I wanted to try to find......

Here my dad is explaining what we all put inside the box.  My grandpa's business card from back in the day.


A used gun shell -- my grandpa loved to hunt, and was happiest hunting.


My aunt holding up another Royals hat.


We put a picture of his beloved dog Buddy.  He loved that dog. 
We also wrote letters and put them inside the box as well.
We added a small plane because he was a pilot -- and a paper airplane as well.



Scattering dirt on my Grandpa's urn -- (I picked out the urn, which was given to us by my father & mother in law -- however, it wasn't big enough, so some of the ashes are in its original container).


We placed logs on his site, so that one day we could come back if we ever wanted to, 
and know where it was at. 


Saying goodbye.


At this point, I wanted to document the fact that I was there as well... 
so you can see me and my grandpa's burial site in the corner.


From left to right:  My cousin Herschel, his dad, my uncle Darwin, the man who owns this land, my dad and my brother Mike.


A picture of the family who came (and the two friends who owned the land)



I think my grandpa would be happy with his final resting place.


It's an incredibly beautiful area. 


On the way out, my dad took us to see one of my grandpa's stands when he went hunting.  They had quite a few scattered around the land.  My brother braved the tall grass (and snakes, ticks) to bring us this picture because we couldn't quite see anything.


On the way out, he snapped this picture of us waiting for him by the road.

Goodbye Grandpa.
You are missed sorely.
A void in our heart, really.
Till we meet again.....

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Isn't it ironic?

This afternoon on the way to church Katie said "look at my legs".

So, I looked at her legs. 

They were a tad bit hairy.  She apparently hasn't shaved for maybe a few months?  Maybe weeks?

She begged me and begged me to let her shave her legs when she was in sixth grade .... and now she won't even shave her legs.  She said "it's such a pain to shave...."

Isn't it ironic?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Plaza ... in Kansas City

Kansas City is known for several things.  The first question I always get asked is "oh, Kansas?" and I have to respond with "no, Missouri".  It is true that Kansas City exists in both Missouri and Kansas -- but predominantly more in Missouri.

Kansas City is known for their BBQ!!  Hands down, they have the best BBQ ever!  If you travel through this city, a must stop place is a BBQ place:  Oklahoma Joe's, Smokehouse BBQ, Gates BBQ are a few great places.

We have the Royals (baseball team), the Chiefs (football team) -- and both are located right next to each other.  We have religious sites -- especially in Independence -- and of course, who can't forget our history lesson about Independence?  Gateway to the West!!

However, there is one spot in KC that is a must see.  The Plaza.  The Plaza is a beautiful area in which we claim to have the second most amount of fountains in the world (besides Rome).  The architecture is .. well, I'm not an architecture gal ... but so beautiful!  The expensive, trendy stores lie in the Plaza -- and you can take a carriage ride through the city and admire the sites.  On Thanksgiving, the entire city watches the Plaza light up, and you can see lights at night which make it ultra breathtaking.  Don't forget about the amazing places to eat .... Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Changs, Houstons are a few places to eat.  ALL are exceptionally delicious!

On my last day in KC, my parents asked if I wanted to go to the Plaza.  Uh.... YES!!  I love going to the Plaza.  For almost 2 years, I worked a block away from the Plaza before we moved to Texas.... it's a beautiful area.  So, we headed to the Plaza, with my camera attached to my hip.

Here are a few pictures of the buildings, fountains ..... and my parents. :)




This totally cracked me up ... a Doggie Bar?!!  A lot of stores had doggy bowls outside their stores because so many people bring their dogs to walk around ....

This also cracked me up too ... 
I think the boy is supposed to be peeing on the frog, but the water is going the opposite way!








It wasn't until we were walking to our car, that my mom pointed out to me that she never knew those vases on top of this next building had flowers in it!  Albeit ... metal flowers, but still flowers!  The detail is amazing!


and finally a picture of my parents when we were eating at Cheesecake Factory.  I highly recommend the BBQ Chicken salad for anyone who's interested.... very yummy!

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