Tuesday, October 14, 2014


I thought I'd open with some pictures of my absolute favorite kiddos! 

Mark and I tackled the last of our house projects. First up, the kitchen cabinets went from fake wood to white and we added hardware. This picture has really bad lighting and I don't have a before picture but, you get the idea. 

Much better lighting. Oh! the open cabinet is the previous color. In real life it looks really good compared to what we started with. The cabinets are very cheap;y made and have a glued on wood grain that was peeling off in places. 

Next up, we painted the 2 bathrooms the same tan color as the living areas and replaced the toilet in the master bath. We also replaced the lighting, shower curtain rod, bowl holders and toilet paper holder in both bathrooms. The cabinets got painted white. 

After that, we replaced the carpet in the 3 bedrooms. Mark and I moved all the furniture out and R & v slept on the kitchen floor.

Mark and I removed the old purple/maroon carpet but left the pad. It was in good shape so we had the new stuff installed on top.

Ta Da! I love neutral carpet!!!!

Remember when the outside looked like this?

And this HUGE tree was in the righthand corner of the picture blocking our house and our neighbors house and making our house look even smaller.

After Mark took the tree down, he laid a pathway out of busted up concrete from the driveway. Then he made beds on each side of the stairs and I went to the nursery and picked out bushes (that was actually very stressful!!) to flank the stairs.


The winner! They are very pretty in the fall. Their leaves turn a bight red.

Lastly, we had the gravel pushed over to the driveway, had dirt brought in and leveled and planted grass. The end result. Our grass grew sooo fast. For about 21/2 weeks we had perfect grass growing weather with lots of rain. Everyone in WI was miserable except for us. We walked around with smiles all day thinking "I don't have to water the grass today!".

Towards the end of Sept we headed to IL for the barbershop IL district competition. Uncle Dean has always wanted to sing in a competition with his sons, Tim (who also sings in an incredible barbershop group called After Hours) and Greg, and Mark. Greg does not enjoy singing in public so U Dean, Mark, Tim and a friend of Tim's entered the competition. That did a great job and placed. I had fun watching the competition and being kid free for much of the day. Mom and Dad Sauder got some time in with the kids and were so sweet to watch them for us! 

Headed to IL.

U Dean, Mark and Tim

Cousins and very good friends

I got to hang out with some incredible ladies. I only got a picture with Katie and Stephanie but, I also got to be with A Karen quite a bit and loved getting to chat with her.

Guys performing.

Sunday morning

My mom was able to come Sat evening and spend time wit the kids. It was great to see her in person and catch up a bit.

My Vienna

We've been having lots of evening fires. It's getting crisp in the evenings and it's perfect for sitting by the fire and eating marshmallows. 

This girl is growing up so fast. She's 9 months old this month. Tonight the big kids (R & V) were roaring like lions…as they so often do. All of the sudden there was this little roar joining in. Our baby girl was roaring like her siblings and it was SO FUNNY! I love her. :)

Reubs loves arts and crafts.

Reuben turned 4 on Oct 3rd. 

I took more video then pictures. :( The picture taking kinda got away from me because it was such a busy weekend. Here's a picture of one of his gifts though. A singing fish. He wanted one so badly. :) Thanks Papa.

I think this is funny. Mark is using his Leatherman multitool to open a baby food package.

Sunday morning pictures of the cuties.

Attacking the grocery bag.

That's all folks. :)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Time for a New Ride

I scheduled our van to go into JJs (our local auto repair guys) for an oil change right after we got back from our IA trip. I was leaving the next Friday to drive to Chicago and then Quincy (total of 8-9 hours of driving) and I wanted the van to be ready to go. JJs picked our van up on the designated morning and I knew something was up when one of the owners dropped it back off that evening.

Our van has had an oil leak, since we'd bought it 4 years ago, the AC hasn't worked for 2 years, the sway bar link under the drivers side has been in the process of breaking for a while…you get the idea. There's enough stuff to do that costs about what we'd like to spend on a new van. However, the killer whale (as it's referred to by our children) just kept running, so we just kept driving it. 

Anyway, back to that evening. John explained to me that the sway bar link had indeed broken and he wouldn't drive it very far anymore (sign…there was 1 1/2 days left till I went to Quincy). He then brought me around to the front and showed me a hole in the radiator that was leaking coolant out. Literally, it was splashed all over everything under the hood. Also, our ominous oil leak was really leaking now and should probably be addressed. Basically, he wanted to make it clear to us (the ever procrastinating procrastinators!) that we needed to buy a different van or fix this one or crash and possibly die. :) He was much more polite though. **Side note: Just a couple weeks before, my Bro-in-law Tim was teasing Mark about still having our van.  Mark laughed and said, "it keeps running so we may have it a while"….oops.  With so little time left before my trip we ended up renting me a car. Mark was homebound with the kids for 3 days and our search for a van started Monday. We really wanted to stick with a Sienna. I did all of my normal searches and came up with a couple options. These options didn't work out and I was feeling kind of down about the whole process. I don't like being in the position that I have to buy something now. I went back to searching and ended up with one more option that had just been posted on craigslist. The next day was Thursday; after Mark got off work, we loaded into Mark's truck and drove 50 minutes to Oshkosh to buy this van. The pictures in the van were terrible because they'd been taken at night. You couldn't even tell what color the van was. However, the van ended up being in better condition then anything we'd looked at and significantly cheaper as well. I don't think we would have looked at it if we hadn't been needing something today and I believe God provided the opportunity. Anyway we bought it and Reuben and Vienna drove home with me. Not knowing about AC (and that the van could be cooled without the windows down) the kids automatically asked me to open the windows. The passenger windows on the side roll down (at this point they were still a little skeptical of this different van that would be replacing their beloved killer whale van) and as I pushed the button I watched their faces in the rear view mirror. They watched the large windows roll down and Vienna shrieked with delight and said "I like it mom!" That moment won over their approval and we proceeded to name this van the "hotdog" van (think long brown things). I was holding out for "french fry" but there are two of them and one of me so…hotdog it is. Anyway, it's been nice to have AC. Mark loves it, I freeze and mutter something about keeping a blanket in the car!! No joke.
Without further Ado, goodbye "Killer whale" van and welcome "Hotdog" van.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Pictures from August

We've been busy working on our house. We're trying to finish the magority of our projects this summer and the end is in sight! I think, in general, both Mark and I like working on projects so we'll probably always have something in the works. All of the things we wanted to do to have the house ready to sell will be completed though. It'll be nice to enjoy the house too. :) I don't have that many pictures of what we're working on but the few I did have and some random ones are included.
I picked up this table a month after Victoria was born (a Craigslist find) and kept it in the garage all winter. It was a project for Reuben and I. We painted the top with chalkboard paint and refinished the legs and sides. There are two drawers located on the sides of the table. The kids keep their chalk in these drawers. Below is Reuban and some of the neighbor kids coloring. 

Mark and Reuben staining the deck. They did a fantastic job. It's fun seeing them work on projects together.

Vienna had to get in on the oversized shirt action!

Can I just say that this girl is growing up WAY TO FAST! Tonight she was laying on the floor holding her own bottle....she's FEEDING HERSELF! Craziness! 

This is Reuben's first drawing that actually made sense to me. He loves to "color" and "draw" in general. He brought me this picture and said "look mom, it's an angry cucumber.". I love him. :)

Sweet girl loves her cozy blanket.

Movie/nacho night. Our kids loved supper that evening!

Playing in the mud puddle...right after this Reuben laid down in it and rolled. Who needs a dog...I have Reuben.

Daddy reading after supper.


More to come soon! :)