Monday, March 31, 2014

Kitchen progress

We started working on the kitchen back on February 10th.  It all started with a family friend and contractor coming over to our house and tearing out the wall that separated the kitchen and dining room.  That required a beam to be put in (as it was a load bearing wall), moving our fridge, rewiring some electrical outlets, and relocating the fridge plumbing.  He also moved a section of cabinets and installed two new cabinets.  Ripping out the cabinets created a big hole in our ceiling which meant that our whole ceiling would need to be stripped of popcorn and refinished (because a 30 year old ceiling won't match a new one)... the chain of events seemed endless but he wrapped up his portion of the work in just over a week.
View from the dining room before the wall was down.

The view from the kitchen before the wall was removed.
Once he wrapped up that meant the ball was in our court.  We had great ambitions for an expedient finish to the project but having two under two, full time jobs, Bonnie in grad school, and various other things forced us to be a little more flexible with our timetable

Here is what we have accomplished so far:

  • Paint the ceiling white (after it was redone)
  • Painted the cabinet boxes white
  • Replaced baseboards
  • Installed crown molding
  • Painted existing window trim and door frames white
  • Painted the walls
  • Refitting old cabinet doors to the new cabinets (thanks to some help from the shop teacher at school)
  • Spray painted the dining room light fixture (from gold to black)

View from the dining room

View from the other side of the dining room

View from the kitchen. We love all the natural light we get now!

A shot of the baseboard and quarter round that we installed this past weekend.
We have gotten a ton done and the to do list is finally starting to feel like it is getting shorter.

We still need to:
  • Touch-up baseboards and crown molding (you really learn how not square your house is when you install these things, see below)
  • Replace counter tops (not planned, a major unforeseen expense) which happens Friday!
  • Paint the cabinet doors
  • Install new back splash
We will figure something out here.  A little wood filler and caulk may go a long way.
At times I (Tom) have not handled the stress of the remodel very well.  I really struggle with losing time with my family to work solo on projects like this.  Bonnie has helped a lot but grad school and the boys have kept her really busy too.  I don't like putting a burden on her and I have minimal experience working with stuff like this so there is always a degree of stress that accompanies the unknown of a project.  I'm really glad that we have under taken the project though.  The progress already looks great and we are excited to see the finished project (whenever that manages to get done)!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Small moments to remember

There are so many great yet small memories made with little ones. I too often forget some of the special moments we share so tonight I decided to capture just a few.

Baby Asher had his first green bean ever! We are a family of green bean lovers so it is kind of a big deal. 
Asher also learned the fine art of putting his own pacifier back in! 

Then there is crazy older brother, who for the first time ever pitted mommy against daddy. I told E to take his boots off and his response, "Daddy said I keep boots on."  Then later I said it was bath time and E retorted, "Daddy said bath in twenty minutes."  I feel like this is the beginning of a new parenting chapter. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A visit from Grandma Jean

Sunday we got a special visit from my step-mom, Grandma Jean.  She came in town to support a friend who had just lost a relative.  She brought Everett some new tools for his sandbox and some peeps for Easter!  The boys loved having her around even if it was just for a night.  We went back to school Monday so I had to wake E up an hour earlier than usual (gotta love sleeping in over spring break!).  He wouldn't get up so finally I asked him, "Do you remember grandma is here to eat breakfast with you?" And he popped right out of bed.  Here's some great story time Grandma had with the boys.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Since it has started getting warmer we have been spending more time outside.  Everett's favorite activity by far has been digging in the garden.  Well the garden is pretty dirty so I finally conceded to the fact that we should get a sandbox.  After 20% off and a $25 gift card we got our giant red crab for $16!  E loves it!  I should have listened to Bonnie's urgings a little sooner.

Pet store

Yesterday we needed to make aTarget run.  That can be kind of tough with a two-and-a-half year old.  As an alternative Everett and I headed to PetSmart.  E loved it!  The fish were by far his favorite.

It was hard to keep him still he was so excited to see the fish!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Grandma Bonnie

Growing up I always loved introducing myself. The exchange oftentimes went something like this:   "Hi, I'm Bonnie Robertson."
"Oh, Bonnie...that's unique.  I don't know many Bonnie's."
"Thanks. I'm named after my grandma."

Part of my identity has always been (and always will be) being a part of the legacy of my grandma, Bonnie Johnson.  She was the best definition of a matriarch, and she had the unique ability to make every child or grandchild feel like they were her favorite (although, my brother would tell you that I was the true favorite...haha!).  On Monday evening my grandma passed away.  The loss for our family is significant, but there is so much peace in knowing she is with Jesus and she is healed.  She passed away just shy of her 99th birthday. You can read more about her here, but simply put she was one awesome, classy, strong lady.

My grandma was a classy lady.  She even wore dresses and nice shoes to go fishing.  Here she and I are before a family wedding.

This is my grandma, mom, and me in front of the first house I lived at in St. Joseph, MO.
My brother and I spent so much time with our grandparents growing up.  

Even after we moved to Columbia, MO, when I was in elementary school my grandparents still came to so many of our athletic games and events.  This is my grandma and Grammy Jo cheering me on at a softball game.  They were two great women! 

When I was 17 I wrote a short essay to win a $5,000 scholarship at Mizzou.  My mom has kept it all these years and it seems fitting to share now.

Who is the most influential person in your life?

So far in my life I have been very fortunate to have been blessed with loving parents and amazing mentors and friends.  Numerous people are responsible for helping to mold me into the person I am today; however, none have had a more influential impression on my life than my grandma.

My grandma is my eighty-seven year old hero that has taught me how I want to live the rest of my life.  Society may label her as "elderly" but she has never quite fit the definition.  She drives a large, white pick-up truck so she can go "mudding" (her term for four-wheel driving on her farm) and she loves to fish into the late hours of the night.  My grandma is stubborn and strong willed, qualities that make us so similar, but more importantly she is loving and persistent.  Her inability to age has taught me what it means to be forever young and to love every minute God blesses us with.  However, it is not just her love for life that I find so impressive, it has been her ability to persevere through it that I find so amazing. This pas year my aunt, one of my grandma's three daughters, died of cancer.  At the age of seventeen I'm far from being married and having kids, but even I know that no parent ever wants one of their children to go before them.  The grief my grandma faced was immensely painful.  Her heart was broken.  However, seeing my grandma at her weakest allowed me to see what it means to be strong.  She grievingly faced the pain but eventually found the strength to keep on fishing.  My grandma has taught me that in life we all will face the adversity of our darkest hour, but even through grief we still have the gift of life and it is through the hardest times that we must live the most.

My Grandma has not missed any of the big milestones of my life.  I feel so thankful she was able to meet both of my boys before she passed away.  Here she is with me at my high school graduation. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Back to Work

Now that second semester has begun I am back at work.  I had a glorious maternity leave that was extended thanks to two weeks off for Christmas break, so I was able to stay home with baby Asher for 13 weeks.  It was such a blessing!  That being said, being a stay at home mom is no joke! Raising kids and keeping your house in order is hard work.  Keep up the good work stay at home mom friends!

On our last day of break we went and had a special breakfast at "Big Biscuit," which is a breakfast joint by our house.  So good! 

A lot of people have asked how I am doing with returning to work and I can honestly say I am doing okay.  Yes, of course, there were tears.  Yes, every morning is hard when I have to say goodbye to my boys (Tom included).  But we're all okay and at peace.  I am doing what I need and am supposed to be doing, and I trust that the Lord is taking care of my men while we are a part.
My boys and me before going to school for my first day back.  I was thankful that my first day was a workday and a Friday! It made for an easier transition back. 

The morning of my first day of work I just by chance read this from Oswald Chambers, "When we think seriously about what it will cost others if we obey the call of Jesus, we tell God He doesn't know what our obedience will mean.  Keep to the point--He does know." I trust that God has a plan for me in working right now and, as a result, he has a plan for Everett and Asher.   He knows exactly what they need and He is in this season of being a working mom.
This was waiting for me when I got to school. So sweet.

There are a few of the things that make it possible for me to balance working and being a mom.

  1. Tom. I have an awesome husband who is quick to partner with me in raising the boys and keeping the house in order (let's be honest, he's better at most chores around the house than me).
  2. Miss Patti, our neighbor and daycare provider. She is amazing with the boys. I trust her completely.  She has taught Everett so many things and provided him a variety of experiences that I wouldn't have been able to do on my own.  Having someone you can trust to watch your kids makes all the difference when you're a working parent. 
  3. Loving my job and especially loving the people I work with.  Leaving the boys stinks and it always will, but I do love where I am going most days. 
  4. Getting home around 3pm everyday.  I love that I work full time, but I have a schedule where I can get home early in the day, have weekends off, and have amazingly long winter/summer breaks.  (In full disclosure, now that I am getting home earlier I am working at night after they go to bed on most nights.) 
In summary, we're all doing okay! We're making it and we're excited for a new year and semester to begin.
I share a room with this guy while I have to pump at work.  It startles me everyday.