Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Cat, the Ipad, and the Beach.

I never thought this day would come, but it did. Last week we brought home a kitten.Evie and William - and to a lesser extent, Sarah and Jason - are over the moon. Evie has wanted a pet for ages, and William has specifically wanted a cat. He's a cat person - takes after his mom that way :)

I grew up always having a cat. Sebastian spent most of his life outside, because my parents got tired of him spraying in the house. The nicest cat you could ask for, but just no manners in the house. He basically lived in the garage and outside, but it didn't seem to bother him. As he got up in years, he was allowed into the basement during the winter, and I think towards the end he was out and about a bit in the house, but I was busy with college at that point and don't really remember. What does stick in my mind is that the neighbors called him 'the big one' - which made me laugh - and your hands would be black after petting him. Oh, and he'd bite you when he didn't want to be bothered anymore.
After Sebastian died, I got Chelsea from a work friend. Brought her home, dumped her with my parents, went to work...came home to find her in a box on the driveway :) Chelsea had fleas. Lovely! Got that taken care of, but it wasn't long before we discovered that Chelsea was a pee cat. I firmly believe that cats are either pee cats, or they aren't. She peed in my dad's briefcase; looked me right in the eye and peed on an afghan I was crocheting; peed on Matt's leather jacket. Off and on, you just couldn't trust her. Later in life, she peed all over our townhouse - vet said something or other about her kidneys. I started feeding her homemade cat food, and the peeing stopped, for the most part, until we finally said goodbye to her almost 9 years ago. We've been cat-less ever since, but I haven't noticed, what with all the babies and such that took up that space.
Last summer, Matt and I came to an accord regarding a pet, that once the kitchen was finished and after his parents visited, we could get a cat. Not that he'd be happy about it, mind you - Chelsea left a strong impression on Matt. So last Thursday, I surprised Evie and William with a trip to the animal shelter, and after looking around a bit, I picked up Sweetie. She snuggled right into my neck, started purring, and I knew we'd found our cat.
Thursday afternoon the kids and I went shopping for pet supplies, and Friday morning we went to pick her up. So far so good, Sweetie's been on her very best behavior and seems to like her new home - although after she clawed her way up my pajama pants Monday morning I promptly bought nail clippers for her - and even having her nails clipped, front and back, didn't faze her.
I'm really hoping this works out, and that she doesn't destroy my curtains or furniture - so far she doesn't have much interest in scratching at anything, and my fingers are crossed. It's nice having a kitty in the house again, and I do think pets can be a great experience for kids - when you think the world hates you and nothing goes your way, your cat won't care and is always up for some scratches and a snuggle, and she won't tell any of your secrets either...
And thankfully, her tummy is white!
 Evie saved her money for months, and had finally gotten enough to buy an iPad back in June. Evie's iPad is now permanently attached to her. She's forever carrying it around the house, earbuds in, listening to some stupid dragon movie or other such nonsense. I finally told her to stop trying to empty the dishwasher/make her bed/yadda yadda while holding her iPad or balancing it precariously on something. Apparently Evie is no dummy, and has invented the iPad Belt, for your wearing pleasure.
Free those hands and carry your iPad no more!! What is it they say? Where there's a will, there's a way? Necessity is the mother of invention? I'm not sure how necessary this is, but I do give her credit for creativity :) Think we can market it and make a mint?? Yeah, I doubt it....
We leave for the beach in a month. Make that, in a month we'll be home from the beach. NO!!!! How is it possible that summer is almost gone? There's something to be said for lazy days at home where you really don't do much of anything - I know William gets frazzled when he has too much going on, I think he might be a bit of an introverted homebody (where he got THAT from, I have NO idea - I don't know anyone like that) - but if you don't get out and DO things, before you know it, summer is gone and won't come around until next year. I like going to the beach at the end of summer because it does give us something to look forward to, but at the same time it signals THE END IS HERE and the kids go back to school three or four days after we get back. Maybe we need TWO beach trips, one right after school lets out and one before they go back!!! Think I can talk Matt into it?? :) Yeah, me neither. Now if we had our own PLACE at the beach...........funny story - Matt had knee surgery 18 months ago - as he was coming out of anesthesia, he told me I could get a house at the beach and he and the kids would visit on weekends - WHY DID I NOT GET THAT RECORDED? OR IN WRITING? Although I think there were witnesses....

And that's all I've got for now. Really hoping I do this blog thing more often, because it's the only place I write anything down :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Bitchin' Kitchen, Finally Finished (Mostly....)

At long last, I'm finally ready to post pictures of our remodeled kitchen. While all the cabinets, counters and appliances were installed by the beginning of May, the devil, as they say, is in the details.I still have some caulking to do and yards of trim to paint - and we really need to get a table for the kitchen - but aside from those minor things, we're finished :) Without further ado, I present my Bitchin' Kitchen:

 A full view, before and after - I cannot get over how much BIGGER my kitchen seems now, even though we only moved things around a bit. Cabinets now run almost to the ceiling, and the refrigerator is no longer on the left wall, taking up a good 9 square feet of floor space. Our good friend saw it for the first time this weekend and commented that our ceilings looked taller now :)
Taking the peninsula out of the room and replacing it with a small island has made a HUGE difference in how our kitchen functions. All the food storage is now on the left side of the kitchen, and I love having the stove on the outside wall now - I can actually talk to people at the table while cooking, instead of having my back to the room.
The wall where the fridge used to sit is now my list-writing, kid-drawing, calendar-keeping chalkboard wall. I LOVE CHALKBOARD PAINT! Matt was worried it would be too much, and wouldn't work well - he's changed his tune and is really loving the convenience of it :) I let the kids have at it for the first few days, but have since confiscated all the chalk. Ok not all of it, and I let them have the lower half of the wall for doodling :)
I was really hoping that by removing the peninsula (which held the dishwasher) and replacing it with an island would improve the functionality of our kitchen, and I'm happy to say that it truly did. Matt's mom and I were both able to work together, each in our own work area, to make dinner while they were visiting, and we each had plenty of counter space and access to the sink. While she prepped veggies and worked on a salad, I used the island to prep some things while working at the stove. HOORAY! Of course - my small people still like to come in and stand with me in between the island and the sink, and at 38" wide it's really not big enough for that - but overall a HUGE improvement over the little corral we had going on way in, one way out.

Lastly, the former 'desk' area and basement stairs. That desk was such a sad, sad unfunctional thing, and it had so much wasted space - a drawer that no longer worked, a knee hole no one sat at, and a counter that just held a lot of clutter. Craptacular.
We now have a message center/organization center/newspaper and mail drop/place for receipts to accumulate that I'm doing my damndest to keep neat and tidy. That wall is also chalkboard paint, but I doubt I'll ever write on it. Maybe. Who knows :) I'm really hoping that the wall pockets and cork board will help me keep on top of things without having piles of things-that-must-be-dealt-with all over the place. Fingers crossed! The buffet is a skinny 12" deep, which fits just perfectly in that spot, and is just what I'd pictured going there - so happy to have found it, and thank God for the internet. If it's not on the internet, it doesn't exist, no?

These are a few of my favorite things.....

Soaps on a little cake plate - thank you Pinterest!
Chalkboard paint!
The pendant light I spent weeks agonizing over, but LOVE LOVE LOVE :)

The lantern over the future kitchen table :)
The plastic buffet table is next on the hit list, but everything else is so pretty!

My organizing area :) Needs some work, but a great, functional start!

The dinner bell. TJ Maxx, $10. No more yelling - I ring it, and the kids come running from wherever they are.

Marble backsplashes make me happy :)

My hidden dishwasher makes me happy :)

Towels hanging on the hidden end of the island makes me happy :)
My ginormous clock - Matt said it was too big before I ordered it - makes me happy :) Love the copper!!
So, that's my remodeled kitchen! Feels like we were on Extreme Makeover Home Edition, except the crew never showed up to help. I have other rooms to share, and lots of other projects to finish, but I'm happy to say the kitchen it pretty much done. Well worth every penny, and every bit of effort we put into it, and Matt is happy to hear me saying 'I love my kitchen! I can't tell you how much I love my kitchen!' instead of 'I HATE THIS (BLEEPING) KITCHEN!!!!!!' :) Now I just need to keep my children from destroying it.......

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