Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Topping It Off

In continuation of our kitchen project (which we've talked about here and here) our next step was cabinet fronts and countertops. Believe me when I say that there is nothing simple about the initial process of building the cabinets. Now of course, it's doable with patience but it's not simple. Thankfully, Ikea gives some relief towards the end and makes the process of hanging and installing fronts very simple. It's almost a click-in system, with few screws for support, which at this point in the project was very welcome. Nothing like an easy finish. 

You can see above where we were after the first day of installation. By the end of the next working day we had closing doors and drawers. We waited to put the pulls on for quite a while because we couldn't decide exactly where we wanted them, decisions decisions. 

The next step was the countertop. It was a bit scary to start cutting because we had a certain amount of space to cover and only so much countertop. At first we were going to join the corner by butting one piece up to another. My Dad mentioned that because of the wood grain we wouldn't be pleased with that and so we changed our minds to the angled corner cut you can see below. In order to make sure we did everything correctly, we used some 1/4" plywood to create templates that we could lay on top of the cabinets to ensure we were making correct cuts! Way better to make a mistake on a $10 slice of plywood than a $100 slice of butcher block. Practice makes perfect after all. 


Hunter and I watched through the window with Star Wars characters cheering on my Dad and Rob as they made the scary cuts. Always best for me to stay away during these moments, I tend to be a gasper when things can go wrong. Of course they made all the right measurements with the help of their template. With all the pieces cut, they were laid out, screwed in from the underneath and glued together at seams.


Once all the counters were secured we moved onto giving them a finish. We did quite a bit of research about this. We had to decide if we wanted this to be a true working butcher block or just in appearance alone. We liked the idea of a full seal which would remove our ability to stain or make water rings on our new surface but a lot of the products that we found and read about weren't food safe. While that might work for some people, we were not comfortable with a non-food-safe surface in the kitchen especially when the kiddos are involved. We ended up conditioning our butcher block counters instead of sealing them; this is something that we have to do once in a while but it's no harder than applying lotion after a shower. It makes the counters resistant and water pools on top instead of soaking right in BUT rings and marks do form. Thankfully most of those marks are easily removed with a light hand sand (read: wiping counters with sandpaper) and another coat of conditioner. While making our choice we read that wood, because it is porous, will eventually "fill up" with the conditioner and actually become waterproof like butcher blocks in butcher shops used to! We liked the idea that it wouldn't be such virgin wood forever and it wouldn't only get prettier as the time went on. 

At this point we were so pleased to have a most of a kitchen again. We still had finishing touches on the cabinets in the form of finishing sides (above cooktop and in corner) and adding pulls but the overall feeling was beginning to come together. It was so nice to have a sink on the main floor again - it's amazing how much you can miss that! 

My Dad was so helpful during the countertop process, he's awesome and teaches us so much! Hunter also LOVES when my Dad comes over - he gets to have a bit of play time in his work truck and spend time with his Buppa!

Up next is flooring! Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

life as a family of four

On January 25th our family grew, we changed, and our hearts expanded. We met our #littleray at 11:39am. Our not-so-little guy is a joy and we are so thankful for him. His arrival via c-section is not what we hoped for but knowing that the Lord is completely in control gave us peace no matter the method of our son's arrival. 

The most wonderful sight so far has been seeing Hunter be a big brother to Jax. He was so excited when he met his little brother at the hospital and now, a month later, he is so sweet and helpful! As a mom, I wondered how he would react, I cried about him not being my little boy anymore and worried that splitting the time between them would be so hard. I wish I had known that all of that would fade almost immediately. My joy as a mom has never been greater and though our time together has changed, it hasn't lessened or been diminished at all. 

Our dynamic as a whole family hasn't changed as much as we anticipated. We have heard so many versions of the story that starts "the hardest transition is..." with people varying between first child, second, etc. Mostly, people agreed that the transition to two was the hardest but Rob and I have to (kindly) disagree. Switching from life as a couple to life with a baby was startling, wonderful in many many ways, but certainly a change from the life we were used to. We went from living life with very little schedule or second thought of starting a DIY project or going to dinner, to living between naps and playtime and enjoying life as a family! When we brought Jax home, we were already totally adjusted to life with a kiddo but we proceeded warily for the first couple days with the thought on our minds, "remember what everyone said." Other than the discomfort of recovery paired with an on-the-run two-year-old, life didn't veer too far off course. Thankfully. Within a week it felt like Jax had always been here with us. Yes, we are sleeping less and changing more diapers but we weren't startled this time around; our norm isn't so glaringly different. 

One of the most interesting things we've discovered about having two kids is how completely different they can be. It seems almost impossible at times that these boys are both ours and I'm sure we will be surprised more and more as they grow up. We feel blessed that both our boys were super laid back in this infant stage but Jax is a whole different kind of chill. While he likes to be held (what baby doesn't) he's really cool with everything - he sleeps through Hunter's playful banter and dinosaur stomps, he eats more easily than Hunter ever did at this age and he lives life with eyes wide open - seriously, the kid naps far less than most infants. We also don't think they look alike. We saw ourselves in Hunter from the beginning but are just starting to see glimpses here and there with Jax. Overall, the resemblance is slight. Hunter never sported the grumpy old man baby face but Jax wore it often in the first couple weeks which honestly charmed us to no end. Their habits are different, their personalities are different, their faces are different but they are brothers through and through and we can't wait to see them grow together! 

This life is a blessing. Everyday is a gift and we are so thankful for this family of ours.


We love to hear what others have to say about their experiences!
What would you say your hardest transition was?
Any parenthood pointers you'd like to share?