Thursday, October 30, 2014

Family Photo 2014

You know this one's going over the fireplace!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Time for a Trip

In the middle of all the fixing up and cleaning of our old house to sell and the renovating our new house to move into we had a trip to Spain that had been planned for a while. Austin's mom flew into town to watch the girls and off we went! I felt like it was really bad timing as we had a lot on our plate, and it took me about half the week to relax, but on the plus side we went to Spain! We also got an offer on our house while we were in Spain and I got to practice my Spanish with Austin's old mission companions and families. (Okay, actually I was super nervous about this and it was one of the reasons I was stressed about the trip. I thought it went well though). I fell in love with the Alhambra and Austin and I soaked up the sun on the beaches of Southern Spain while trying to avoid the naked old men also enjoying the beach. As a fun bonus we got lie-flat airplane seats going there and back! I feel like I'm in the Golden Age of airplane travel with those bad boys. Also I'm pretty sure some famous/rising-to-fame band sat in our section on our flight from Madrid back to L.A....only musicians could get away with that hair and those outfits.

Beach day in Spain...they have historic buildings all over the place so we walked out on a causeway from the beach to this old fort.
We stayed for a few days with Austin's old mission companion Israel and his family. (On the left). They were very nice and hopefully our 6-year-olds meet someday! I also got to meet Austin's other companion from Southern Spain, Jose, and his wife and baby.

The Three Amigos
The Alhambra. I'd like to go back sometime.
I wish I could read Arabic.

 And I wish my sister had been there to take some gorgeous pictures. My little point-and-shoot only goes so far.

It's Spain, but it felt kind of like Agrabah from Aladdin.

I think I loved the Alhambra because it was so cool and restful after hot tourist-y activities. (Although obviously still a tourist attraction). There were shady courtyards and fountains and gardens all over the place. Austin actually stepped in one of these fountains...I would have gotten a picture but I was too busy pretending like I didn't know him.
Another successful trip instigated by Austin!

Monday, October 20, 2014

New House Renovating

The new renovation project has been occupying a lot of my thoughts recently, so I'm going to post more pictures. Now if I was going to do flip houses as a thing I wouldn't do any of the work myself, because with Austin gone most of the time and three little girls I didn't have as much time to help out as I thought. I had to put the girls down for naps at my mom's a lot then run down to the new house, paint and stain my little heart out, then run back about the time they woke up. I missed a lot of afternoon naps, which as a pregnant woman made me grouchy because I like/need naps. On the plus side, I did get a lot of sunshine and fresh air and alone time.
Covering up the blue on the wood siding.

Dad putting in new deck.
New garage door

Master bath
Fireplace with old rock off and drywall on top half

Rock going on
Trying to find the perfect beige to paint the whole house

 Kitchen a little more put together and opened up

Friday, October 10, 2014

And Everything Nice

And now for an important part of The Flip House story:

We have three girls who are all so very different but all wonderful. Raising them is hard work sometimes, but I consider them our most worthwhile investment. In February we will be adding another girl to our family, bringing the grand total to four!

New Baby Girl
Usually I just get one ultrasound to check for medical problems and gender, but this time I got an early gender ultrasound before I told people. (And I just went in for my full one today). When I told people I was pregnant with Charlotte I had to endure a lot of annoying comments like, Family member: "Let's hope it's a boy!" Me: WHY, DON'T YOU LIKE GIRLS??? or Family member: "We need a boy!" Me: WHY, DON'T YOU LIKE OUR GIRLS?? I didn't actually yell these responses, although I probably wanted to, but as a pregnant woman I am a little more on edge emotionally and sensitive to things such as gender comments. Earlier this week I saw the first leaves of autumn falling and it sent me into dry-heaving sobbing mode.

Anyway, I figured I'd dodge the annoying comments by just telling people it was a girl at the same time I told them I was pregnant. (Or that it was a boy, but that was always a slim possibility). This wasn't actually 100 percent successful, but it did go better than last time.

I had to wait 4 months to find out the gender so we kept the pregnancy under wraps for awhile. My brother Ammon was actually the first to guess, kind of. We were sitting around chatting talking about clothes sizes for kids I think, when he suddenly joined the conversation, "Wait, are you pregnant?" Me: Ammon! You can't just ask women that! Him: "Oh, I thought you were talking about pregnancy clothes." Me: No! We were talking about kids' clothes! (Or a similar topic, I can't really remember now). Notice how I sneakily didn't answer his question?

Me getting ready to skydive at 4 months pregnant. I was horribly nauseous on the way down because my dumb instructor thought it was cool to do loop-de-loops and flip upside down even after I told him it was making me ill. I didn't tip him. We also had to pull over a couple times so I could puke on the way home. I was denied the satisfaction of sharing this with people at the time so I'm sharing it now.

My pregnancy is an important part of The Flip House story because it's one of the reasons we decided to move out of our cute old house into what shall now be known as the New House. The extra room, (Charlotte can move out of her closet!) absence of stressful problems, (What's going to break next?) and financial wisdom of moving (Good-bye money pit!) are/will be great things about our new place, but I am still really emotionally conflicted about moving out of our old place. I'm pregnant. I can be emotional.

More on that and the After pictures of the Old House later.

A week before I told people about the new baby my sister Charity called to chat and asked me if I was pregnant. (Not sure why? Because we were moving?)  Me: "Charity! You can't just ask women that! A woman's age and if she is pregnant are the two forbidden questions!" Unfortunately sisters are not put off as easily as little brothers...she seemed to think that she could ask me that because she was my sister.... It was nice to finally be able to tell someone the exciting news.

So the upshot of all this is, I still can't tell you if flipping a house is everything I thought it would be, because we are no longer flipping a house. (Austin's devious master plan? He's never really liked our old house...) Now we are redoing it to live in ourselves, which is a different beast entirely. I know this, because guess what I was doing last year at this exact same time? Yes, renovating a house to live in. Aaargh. Can I just live in a house for a while?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

HGTV and The Flip House

One of the big things going on this summer has been The Flip House. I've always wanted to flip a house...ever since I started watching HGTV, that is. Back when I had cable I watched this show called Flip or Flop, (they almost always make a ton of money though, go figure) about a husband and wife who buy foreclosed or underpriced houses in California, have their contractor fix them up, then sell them a couple months later for a big profit. The wife's role seems to consist of dropping their child off with the babysitter, walking around the disgusting house they just bought and going "Ewww," shopping for pretty new flooring and cabinets to put in it, and then looking good for the open house. Sometimes she mops the floor with a Swiffer mop before the open house starts.

I'm sure she is more involved then that, after all it is only a 30 minute tv show, but the point is: I want to be that woman. What she does looks really fun and easy.

Long story short, Austin found a house down the street from my parents that he thought would make a great flip house. (Little did I know about his devious master plan...more on that in a later post.) It has good feng shui, is in a great neighborhood, my parents wanted to go in on it financially with us, and best of all it was a blank slate, totally gutted--a plus after spending a lot of time ripping things out of our charming colonial house. So we bought it and there went my relaxing summer/fall. But I was secretly excited because at last I would get to see what it was like to flip a house!

Not much to look at. Pretty bad actually.
Front entry

Looking into kitchen from entry. Note walls.

Fireplace and ceiling hole.
So the story is, the old-timer guy living here died and some relatives(?) moved in and let a huge leak in the middle of the flat roof develop. The whole house got water in it. The man's son took over the property and put a new roof on, ripped out everything, I mean everything except the fireplace, and ripped off and open pretty much every wall to check for mold. Then I think he ran out of money and it went into foreclosure. That's where we came in.

The kitchen and other side of the fireplace


Master Bathroom

I have a lot more "before" pictures but without walls or fixtures it's really hard to tell what the room is...all the pictures kind of look alike.

Next up will be "during" pictures and a report on if flipping is everything I dreamed it would be.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Bad Hair

Lots to blog about after the summer hiatus! I will start as far back as The Bad Hair.
This summer Cici got a really bad haircut from Sammy. They found forbidden scissors in Grandma's basement, and with Cici's encouragement Sammy gave her this haircut:
Cici didn't care of course, but I gave Sammy the option of getting her hair cut exactly like Cici's or giving Cici the brand new birthday Barbie her best friend gave her. Just to play with, not for keeps. Sammy's obviously smart, since she didn't experiment with her own hair. Guess which one she chose? There was much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth though.
Back to the hair, it's kind of hard to tell with the hair brushed to the side, but Sammy took a big chunk out of the middle of her bangs and some mullet chunks out of the side. I decided I would just bite the bullet and trim Cici's bangs all the same length, resulting in this:
 It's like a bad Tina Turner wig.

I've never been a fan of mullets on girls, so I lived with it for a day then decided I couldn't stand it any longer. We took a mom-daughter trip to Cookie Cutters and got the professional haircut:

Hooray! They couldn't do much with the bangs but they are growing out now and she's about ready to go in for a trim.
Stay tuned for the more important catch-up updates. Big changes have been happening.