Kitchen: Chapter 2

First, a sweet Mother’s Day pic of my little family! They showered me and it was a special day spending time with my mom and mother-in-law too!

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Well, now we are getting to the fun part of the kitchen renovation. Cabinets, granite, appliances, floor tile, back splash tile, trim work and lighting! So far, Brian and I have been in pretty much identical agreement on design options, which has made the process really fun for us!

First though, since our house is already completely out of control, we decided to mix it up even more and put new recessed lighting throughout the downstairs and replace the big fixture in the foyer. If you are in the Mid-South, I cannot recommend Magnolia Lighting in Hernando enough! They are the best lighting store and have semi-annual sales in April and November. Totally worth the drive! We had our fixture replaced. I am not the best at taking pictures of the inside of my house, but here is an iPhone pic of the new fixture!

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After passing framing, electrical and plumbing inspections and filing the permits needed in the kitchen, the patched up the walls and ceilings.

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Then, they painted the ceilings white throughout the downstairs and the kitchen walls Benjamin Moore Gray Owl. It is the prettiest color! Sometimes it looks gray, sometimes it looks blue, and sometimes it looks green all while being a neutral color.

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They also delivered and installed our cabinets! I am quite impressed with the speed of this remodel. We are planning to finish ahead of the original schedule. Part of that is because we have remained issue-free, and I am so thankful to find a contractor that is as good as ours.

For our cabinets, they are painted Benjamin Moore White Dove, the same color as the trim throughout our house. We went with mostly drawers, since there is nothing more annoying than getting on my hands and knees to dig through bottom cabinets. I’m still working on selecting the hardware.

It should look like this pretty soon!


The 8 ft island layout. Those are BIG drawers for pot and skillet storage, and then a cutting board/tray storage section in between them with double trash pull-outs for regular trash and recycling. I can’t tell you how fun it was to design these cabinets!




We still do not have a pantry in this kitchen, so Brian is rigging one up for us. We bought a solid wood TV cabinet with sliding doors on a local Facebook resale site for $100. Brian built shelving for the inside, sanded and whitewashed it. It will go on the other side of the kitchen and hold our microwave, canned goods and baking supplies.

For the flooring in the kitchen, we selected 12 x 24 dark gray slate tiles from Floor & Decor. They will be laid in a brick pattern. Still trying to determine the backsplash!

Appliances… Thanks to Memorial Day, we should get pretty good prices on these.Β We’re going with a Bosch dishwasher and an LG french door refrigerator. For the stove, we talked about running a gas line in, but it was going to be expensive and not easy, so we opted to keep the electric cooking. However, our contractor called us yesterday and said that while the cabinet guy was installing, he came across a capped off gas line very near the location of the range! We couldn’t believe it! So, we are going through the process of getting the permit to reconnect it, and we should be good to go on cooking with gas. I was so excited over this! We will be going with the LG double oven and convection gas range.

We still have to select granite this week and finalize the window seat we are putting in at the bay window – just across from the island. It will have large pull out drawers for storing small appliances, serveware, linens, etc. He is coming to build it Saturday, and I can’t wait to see all the cabinets with the window seat installed!

We’re making progress, and we’re scheduled to be complete on June 5. Woohoo!


April Showers

April has been a lovely month. Between Grizzlies playoffs (Brian enjoyed a game with a friend)…

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Learning about insects and bugs at school…

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He came home with ladybugs. He also did a “fill in the blank” project at school that is hanging up in the classroom. It says “If I were an insect, I would be _______.” Preston’s says “a cockroach so that I could scare people.” Lovely.

Margo deciding that she suddenly doesn’t love sleep so much anymore at night and would prefer to fall back asleep around 8 a.m. She’s passed out in our bed here, still in pjs at 10 a.m…

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A belated birthday gift from Brian to see Jonny Lang in Tunica. We made a stop at the TN Brewery Revival downtown. I love dates with him!

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Margo turning 18 months old. I am shocked at this. She weighed 24 lbs and was 33 in – Β 90% for height! Preston tagged along to the appt. Mainly because our pediatrician pulls suckers out from behind ears and Preston lives for it.

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Work began in our kitchen! Living without a kitchen isn’t so bad. I have a microwave, electric skillet and frig on our screened porch that is serving us well. We haven’t had to eat out much, and our families have been helping us with meals here and there too. We are still on track with our timeline and cabinets go in the week of May 11. We are waiting until Memorial Day to buy our appliances, but have them picked out. Here is the gutted kitchen with the dining room wall down.

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Interior of the dining room wall. You can see just how small our existing kitchen was!



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Wall down! It was load bearing, so we stabilized it with a large beam in the ceiling. Plumbing is newly routed here. You can see the new lines in the L-shape wall cut outs. New outlets were added. We only had 2 in our entire kitchen! Now we are up to code and have enough for my small appliance needs. πŸ™‚

Β More to come on that.

With all of this, we have been busy!


Easter Weekend: Another Half Marathon

Even though it was several weeks ago, I want to make sure I capture Easter weekend. It was big for us!

I signed up for the Oak Barrel Half Marathon at the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg a while back, and was pretty excited to take on this very STEEP and hilly race. It would be my 3rd half marathon in 6 months. We’ve had awful weather and treadmills aren’t for me, so I had not been training like I should have.

The kids were out of school Friday, and I was running the race Saturday, so we loaded up the family and hit the road! We had a nice drive and saw lots of Tennessee Walking Horse Farms and beautiful green pastures. We arrived in Lynchburg and our first stop was at the Lynchburg Cake and Candy Company. Best stop! We picked up some whiskey cake, chocolate and pecans. He signed the cake for us!


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Then we went to the Jack Daniels visitor center. Brian is a Tennessee Squire, so we checked out the squire room and walked around the area. We walked into the square and checked it out, too.



“Show me your silly faces!” Inside the Visitor Center.




Since it was Good Friday and we needed a meat free meal, we grabbed cheese pizza. We headed to our hotel in Fayetteville, about 15 miles from Lynchburg. Margo was NOT into the hotel and was up most of the night. Another reason I didn’t think I’d have a good race! Preston, however, slept just fine…

Bright and early and ready to go! Representing Memphis runners in my 901 shirt from Breakaway. πŸ™‚

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We got up in the morning early and headed down for breakfast. The room was FULL of runners fueling up for the race. Meanwhile, I was the only crazy person running all over trying to get my kids breakfast. ha! Brian and I were quite the show down there. We loaded up the car and headed into Lynchburg for the race! Brian had to keep the kids entertained for 2 hours while I ran. There was no way to really spectate because of the steep course and rural area, so they hung out at a breakfast place and then a candy store before heading to the finish line to watch the runners come in.

This race is known for its difficult course and its “medals” – they are actually made from the whiskey oak barrels. By far the coolest medal I have from running.



I snapped this with my iPhone just before the race started. Look at all the people!

The race was every bit as challenging as all the reviews say. I surprised myself by finishing in 2 hours and 4 minutes, roughly a 9 and half minute mile pace. I finished 30th out of 114 in my age group. Not a PR for me, but I expected to run this course slower due to the challenge. We were blessed with a beautiful day for running, and I had a lot of fun out on the course. I am still a bit amazed at myself that I can run for 2 hours straight without stopping – I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be able to do it, and now I’ve conquered it 3 times. Because this race was so hilly, it worked out parts of my body I’m not used to, so I did experience soreness in weird places that lasted about a week.

When I ran past the Visitors Center and knew I had a quick turn and the finish line, it was an awesome feeling! Really precious story: Brian and the kids were in the town square when an announcement was made that the winner would be coming in shortly. Preston excitedly asked “Is it Mommy?!?!” Ha! Brian explained that races are not always about finishing first, and doing your best is what matters the most. When I finished, the first words from him were “Mommy, I’m sorry you didn’t win, but you did the best you could!” He is just the sweetest.




Get me a Gatorade and Port-a-potty ASAP!


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We headed home that day and got to celebrate Easter with both of our families. I haven’t had a chance to edit any of these pics, but I’m already a month late so who cares! Margo wore a dress my mother hand smocked for me when I was little and Preston wore one of Brian’s childhood sportscoats.







Britt made a quick trip home from UT for Easter.



Playing with Mal!




Such a fun weekend!

Soccer Star

Preston has been having a lot of fun with soccer! He is slowly getting the hang of it. He has scored a goal the last two scrimmages. We laugh pretty much the whole time they are out there. The kids are just so funny! The stuff they say and do is hysterical. They have lots of questions for the coaches and it’s great to listen in on. We love going and I will be sad when it ends. Margo is also his #1 cheerleader.









After soccer one day, I took P to one of Lowe’s Build & Grow events. I highly recommend them! We had fun hammering our flower box together. He has been talking about wanting to plant things and how to plant things, since they have been learning about that at school. So, he was ready to build! It was a sweet morning for the two of us.




Auction, Soccer & More!

Back in February, we attended the auction that benefits P’s school. It was our first time attending and we got a table with some of the other couples in P’s class. It was really fun! I forgot to mention it back in Feb. I took a couple pictures that night. It was Memphis-themed, and the decorations were super cute. The party was very fun!

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Our whole table!


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In March, P started soccer. He was excited about it leading up to it, but the morning of, he didn’t want to go. We coaxed a little and he agreed. However, he got out there and had the time of his life! Brian took him while I took Margo to the pediatrician for an ear infection. We arrived for the tail end of it, and Preston had the biggest smile on his face and was having a blast. He asked if he could go every Saturday! He was running everywhere, giving his coach high-fives, and chasing after the ball. It’s a great little intro to soccer if you are in Memphis – here’s the link for what we signed him up for. It’s no pressure and fun for the kids! I’ll have pictures soon!

Also, Brian and Matt participated in a rib cook off in Robert’s backyard. πŸ™‚ Even though they didn’t place, they had a good time cooking ribs and tri-tip and the kids had fun running around!

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P with his godfather and buddy, Robert!


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“Where did all the food go?”

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Birthdays have been in full swing around here. We went to Declan’s at the Little Gym and Connor’s at his house where Mr. Joe made a visit!

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Margo sat in the middle and stared at Mr. Joe for quite a while! She didn’t know what to think.


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P with a few of his buddies from school

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She is quite a fan of the Little Gym!


Also, I have to give Preston some props here. His behavior has been absolutely awesome lately. To my friends and family reading this, we are celebrating nightly here at our house. We are knocking it out of the park, getting all of our stickers at school, using much more respectful tones, and learning that it is okay for others to be first and best sometimes. When you are four, life is pretty hard to figure out, especially for strong-willed little guys, and I think things are really clicking with our little guy. We are proud.

Grandparents Day at P’s school was last week. Mimzie (Brian’s mom) and Mook (my dad) were able to make it. From what I hear, P loved having his grandparents there, and they did a cute little song for them on the stage in the gym.

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Margo and Preston continue to be best friends. They always ask for each other and are best playmates. They rarely have problems between the two of them, and are happy to share with one another. The only time we have issues is when they play too rough together and we’re worried about one of them getting hurt (usually Margo) but they are truly the light in each other’s lives and it makes us smile.


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Another year older

On Sunday, I turned 31. My sister-in-law and I are just a few days apart, so my family had a joint party at my parents house to celebrate. We made homemade pierogies and pasta and had an outstanding meal! It is always a good time at my parents house. Margo and Preston had fun seeing all their aunts and uncles on that side, too. It was really fun!

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Pierogi making is serious work

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Ready for the skillet

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Of course, P had to blow out my candle! He also asked if the presents were for him. Ha!

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We gave the kids baths and put them in pajamas over there. After that, they were serenaded a bit by my brothers. The kids were dancing and absolutely loved it! They always beg for live music at my parents house and they almost always get it!

We came home that night, put the kids to sleep, and at around 10 or so I started to not feel so good. A little later, I started throwing up and didn’t stop until morning. It was HORRIBLE. I spent my entire birthday laid out in bed, running back and forth between my bed and the bathroom, staying away from my family. I could not attempt to get out of bed until Sunday night and that was just for more Sprite! It was not the best day, but I am so glad we had Saturday night as the main celebration.

I even had to miss work Monday. Being the sweet guy he is, Brian still tried his best to make it special for me. He surprised me with Moscow Mule copper mugs and tickets to see Jonny Lang in April in Tunica. We saw him a long time ago and had a blast- he is so good! I can’t wait to see him again. Brian really spoiled me this year.

My family had some sweet cards, gifts and surprises for me too. So thankful for all of them! Here’s to the thirties!

Snow day!

We had our first “big” snow day with kids. Big for Memphis is around 4 inches. Just enough to play in, cancel schools, close offices and enjoy! It was so pretty.

We got up, made homemade chocolate chip pancakes, downed some coffee and decided to get the kids dressed to go outside and play. AN HOUR LATER, just kidding but that’s what it felt like getting them all bundled up, we were finally headed outside. We have no snow clothes for our children because why waste the money when we haven’t had a decent snow since they have been born, so we did our best.

Margo was not a fan of the snow. She spent a little while outside, but if I put her down to stand in the snow she cried. Her cheeks were so red and dry and she was begging to go inside. We got a few pics of her just standing there like a statue or crying. πŸ™‚





Preston, on the other hand, spent almost the whole day outside. He loved sledding, jumping in the snow, and playing around the neighborhood. He was quite the daredevil on the sled, and almost gave me a heart attack going down the giant hill in our neighborhood. Let’s just say he could be the next gold medalist in the skeleton event at the Winter Olympics. He was sledding until the sun started to set.Β I made some delicious homemade tomato soup and we all went to bed a little early.


Brian made a quick drive to Mimzie and Bobo’s to borrow a few sleds they had. The kids loved riding on them!




That’s Preston on the green sled going down the hill, and Margo and me in the background.



Playing with Alex and Reed in their front yard


Memories were definitely made and we all had a little fun…. well, everyone except Margo. πŸ™‚ Now, please will schools open again? Our little ones are getting a little stir crazy! πŸ˜‰ I have to admit, I am too. Today, Preston looked at me and said “Mom, are we going somewhere?” I said, “No, why would you ask that?” and he said “Because you are not wearing pajamas.” It’s pretty bad when your four-year-old notices your lack of trying lately! Ha!

No more snow is expected and the weathermen say spring is on it’s way, but we sure did end this cold winter season with a lot of fun!