Family Pictures 2017

I couldn't wait to re-create our Christmas picture from last year so we could compare how much the kids have grown. Hard to imagine that we've owned this house for one year now and this is already our second Christmas picture taken here. I love the warm and moody Autumn day we had that each of these pictures capture, but I especially love all the beautiful smiles and love that I see here. 

Christmas cards will definitely get out early this year since they are already ordered--I can already hear Christmas music playing in my head. I CANNOT wait till Christmas this year! Our first Christmas spent at the farmhouse and I know exactly where I'll put the tree and all my decorations. 

We're on the countdown to get more house projects done, so I'll be posting more pictures of the house soon, but until then...gaze upon these beauties . . . 


Kitchen Updates and a House Tour

We've cranked up the house projects in the past couple of weeks and I'm so excited with the latest accomplishments!

We finally have a sealed cement countertop on our island so our sink and counter is fully usable! 

But perhaps even more exciting is the fact that we have most of the cabinet boxes in so I can finally unpack kitchen items! No wonder I've hated cooking more than usual these past 6 months!

And I can't tell you how nice it is to finally have a kitchen floor! No more plywood covered in sheetrock dust!

My makeshift coffee bar is so great. We had our coffee maker on top of our microwave that was sitting on two upside down buckets before. This is a huge upgrade!

This wall will one day have open shelving on either side of the microwave, and the microwave will be flanked by two narrow wall cabinets. We're also going to put carrera marble subway tile in a herringbone pattern on this wall up to the ceiling. It's going to look A.Mazing! Note, the cabinets still need their face frames and doors, which will all be white.

Space saving storage hacks from IKEA are already making my kitchen so easy to clean and use!

I LOVE my broom cabinet!

I wasn't sure if the open floor plan would be for me, but so far I adore it! I can even turn the TV towards me while I cook and see the kids outside while I watch TV and cook. It's so great!

Finally got my guitar hung. I still haven't finished styling this space - I don't like the white wall behind the white piano, so this wall may become black at some point.

I'm using our old hand-me-down buffet as a console table behind the sofa, but I plan to build a console table with some old rough hewn oak pieces I found in our barn. I plan to varnish the rough hewn piece and attach hairpin legs to it. In the meantime, this buffet will have to work.

Charity has destroyed all of plants I planted in our yard, but I was able to scrounge up some weeds in our field to decorate my Fall wreath with. :-)

We still need trim, paint, and curtains in our family room, but I already love it even though it isn't even finished!

I was desperate for a work space, so I created this makeshift desk in my bedroom for now. I plan to build a desk with copper piping and get a lucite desk chair that I'll put a faux fur on for comfort and texture. Can you picture it?

Our master bathroom and closet is pretty rough right now, but here's a sneak peak:

I seem to say this every time, but we sure do have a long way to go yet, but it's fun to see these latest projects start to take shape. Pretty soon this reno will just be a distant memory. I'm looking forward to that day!

September Birthdays and The First Day of School

September is here and brought with it some of my favorite days. My Mom, my sister Missi, our sister Chelsea, YoonJu, Heidi, my nephew Louie, and my boyfriend (I mean husband) were all born in September. I'm pretty sure it's the greatest month ever besides February. We started September out in Florida and got to celebrate Missi turning one year younger than me. Yep, she's still younger than me - or so she reminds me every year.

We got to give Mom a call and wish her a Happy Birthday together on our sister Birthday date as well!

Two days after we got home from Florida we started school.

 CJ started 5th grade.

Cassi started 1st grade.

Capri started her first year of pre-school.

Thankfully we had a wonderful first day of school and we are feeling empowered to have an awesome school year with having such a great start this month!

The same day we started school, Aunt Lalia came to visit!

 She even gave CJ a violin lesson, and serenaded us a few times. A few days later she auditioned for the Battle Creek symphony and earned a spot in the symphony!

 Only a couple of days after Li left we all got to celebrate Chelsea's Birthday!

The same night that we celebrated Aunt Chelsea, Aunt Missi and her family arrived due to Hurricane Irma. Unfortunately, they were right in Irma's path and had to evacuate. But fortunately for us, their first stop was Ohio!

We had a blast having some of our Florida cousins with us and it was so cool to see the kids bond after having already spent a week together in Florida.

Our first day of co-op started while Missi was with us. I'm teaching a history class for the 1st-2nd graders, as well as a character development class for the high schoolers. Both classes are awesome! Here are some of my 1st graders learning about mummies in my history class:

Missi and her family joined us at co-op and then enjoyed an awesome late afternoon and evening outside with us.

Seeing Crew and Cecily together was especially cute. Crew was only a couple of months old when Cecily was born, and he was actually there with Missi in the birthing room the day Cecily was born. It will be fun to see them bond as they grow older!

My little nephew turned 1 while Missi and Marissa were evacuated. I can't believe little Louie is already 1!! Isn't he perfectly adorable? 

Missi's family stayed for two nights and then drove up to Michigan to visit the rest of the family. I had already planned to be up in Michigan that weekend for a race in Lansing. I had bought Chris and his Dad Michigan tickets for Chris's Birthday, so they were in Ann Arbor, while the kids and I were at Mom's. The cousins were yet again all together again and loving it, except well, maybe Crew! Haha!

I stopped at Papa's gravesite on my way to Mom's. Everything is still so fresh so it was hard to yet again face the fact that he's really gone. I still dream about him and wake up thinking he will be there. I still keep his old shirt, and I still cry when I think about him. It's so hard to be left behind. I know Nani, Aunt Debbie, and Dad feel it even more keenly and I can't imagine how painful it is for them. Papa was so well loved.

Mom's house was full, so the kids stayed at Aunt Vicka's and Uncle GJ's while Li and I drove down to Lansing to spend the night with a friend the night before the race.

 Capri adores her Aunt Vicka and loves it when Vicka serves her tea.

The race started at the Capitol, which was pretty cool. My friend, Lauren, ran the race with her 9 month old son while the rest of us ladies ran solo.

This was Li's first race and she did awesome!

Li ran a 5K and I ran a half marathon. No big deal.

Work is in full swing again and here I am with my team outside of the Lucas County Youth Treatment Center where we ran a Film Camp at the beginning of last month. This photo is from this past week when we went back to reconnect with all of the kids we worked with. I love my job and my team!

And now, finally, you're all caught up with our life. This weekend we celebrated Chris--the love of my life; the man I do not deserve and loves me more every day. His Birthday is really my absolute favorite day because it's the day he was born. I don't know how I could've done life without him. He inspires me, empowers me, befriends me, loves me, respects me, encourages me, teaches me, and pretty much builds, fixes, or creates anything I ask him to. And as of tomorrow morning, he will be as old as me and for a good five months I won't feel so old. Ha!

Chris's Birthday weekend has been perfect so far. It began with a day off of work (because our bosses are the coolest). Chris prepared ribs for dinner and bought us a paddle boat. We had Chris's parents over for dinner for the rib cookout, followed by the rest of the family coming over with presents, cake, and fellowship.

Saturday was mowing day and then we dropped the kids off at Chris's parents, finished up the mowing, floated in the pond, and then had a perfect date. We went to a renowned burger joint and then followed it up with dessert at a nicer restaurant where we listened to live music and watched the Michigan game.

Sunday after church we spent the whole afternoon in the pond with our paddle boat and rafts.

Chris picked out our family movie - Aladdin (his favorite Disney animated film), and I watched the sunset on the front porch while I went through these pictures to post. Tomorrow Chris turns 35 and I have a few surprises for him yet up my sleeve that I can't post here. :-) Along with Chris, my sister-in-law's YoonJu and Heidi also have their Birthdays, making September one of our biggest Birthday months in the family!

September has been a good month full of more summer fun, lots of learning, and even more family fun. September will close with CJ's first performances as young Simba in the community theatre's Lion King Jr.  and quickly followed up by more family in town the first two weeks of October. Life's adventures never slow down over here, but at least when we take the time to float in our pond everything seems to stand still in that moment. 

Hope your summer has been great and the school year has started off with the excitement of Fall in the air!