Monday, September 25, 2006

Pulling all of our resources

The weekend was quick, but we got an amazing amount done. Jacob and Jonah went camping with Pappa Doug and their Aunt Stacy and Uncle Tom. They played with their cousins, rode bikes, made smor's, saw salmon spawning, and slept out under the stars. They came home tired and dirty with a lot of stories from the weekend. It was great because through all of this remodel, the kids have been very patient with mom and dad. This weekend was about them and the really had a great time. To say the least, they were in bed and asleep by 0730 Sunday night. Noah got to go over to my cousins house and play with his cousins. He was the center of attention and loved every minute of it. We were grateful for all the help this past weekend. As a result, we accomplished a lot.

On Saturday, Reba and her mom started the tile project for the kitchen counters. They have tiled before and have always done a great job. Sue took point on the tile saw and Reba began laying things out. In the meantime, I had the glorious job of painting all the window trim and base boards, all of which aren't done yet. Hannah, Reba's sister came over that morning also and picked up a brush. Everyone was working hard and they were making good headway on the tile. In the middle of the day, Reba figured they needed more tile so Hannah and I hopped in the car and headed back over to Seattle to get more tile before the store closed at 4:30. We ran to Bainbridge, picking up Noah along the way, and barely made the last ferry. We picked up the tile and drove back around (the things we do for the right tile). Sue and Reba had continued to work and were making good progress so we stopped for dinner and then hit it hard after that. Tiling is the type of project that you know is going to be hard, but you don't realize how much time it will really take. We worked on it until 2:30 in the morning because the next day we had to grout. We had to finish completely. Plus, who wants to clean up the mess just to then start again in the morning. The next morning, we hit it hard again and we did finally finish last night around 10 p.m. Sarah and Josh came by with lunch, which was a great break. We didn't have time to go out because we had to keep working. During the day when the ladies told me to get out of the way, I painted closet doors and continued on with the base boards. Needless to say, the tile looks incredible. It turned out great. The cabinets, cool floors, and tile. We had to get all of this done this weekend because the electrician and plumber was coming this morning to hook up the sink, faucet, fridge etc. Just under the wire. If we figured out what we paid Sue per hour by the lunch we bought her, it comes out to twenty-two cents an hour. Can't beat slave, I mean, family labor prices. We really appreciated everyone's help this weekend from those who helped with the kids to those who brought lunch and finally, those who gave their swear and grime.

It looks like they will be getting done this week, which means we get to have our house back. Don't get excited though, it is still not safe to come out of your houses. We still have little projects we may be recruiting for. Lots of painting base boards and finish work. We also will try to paint he house if we have another great weekend like last weekend. We also still have to carpet the bedrooms sometime in the next two weeks, but don't worry, we will contract out for that. Tonight, the order of the business is..................Nothing, I'm pooped.


Friday, September 22, 2006

Weekend Warriors

Another weekend closes in which means one of two things. We relax and enjoy the last few rays of sun before fall/winter take over or we work like dogs trying to get more things done before our contractor comes back on Monday. Tonight, Reba has a class, Jacob and Jonah are going camping for the weekend with Pappa Doug, Stacy, Tom, Isabelle, Nolan and Sophia, which leaves myself and Sue to start painting were needed. Tomorrow, Reba and her mom are tiling the kitchen and around the fireplace so that it will be ready for the workers to trim in on Monday. We have closet doors to paint and put up, and a lot of painting of the base boards. All this means is that we are getting closer to the end goal. Tomorrow, Noah is getting to go play with my cousin, Marcy and her two daughters, which Noah will love. That means we have a good amount of uninterrupted time to work and get things done. Or, just catch up on sleep. The week has been one of the most stressful of our lives, but the good news is that we are coming out on the end of the week still alive. One thing we always have to remind ourselves is that one stressful day does eventually end. The hope is that the next day improves.

Our good friend Sheri came over today to deliver a dog crate for us, because we are getting the dog on Sunday, and we were able to walk her around the house. When you get to show someone around, you do start to realize how much work you have really done. In this case, the work has turned out great. It was a good feeling to show her what we had done and what he have left to do. More pictures will be coming as things are completed. For now, I am off to have a 5 minute power nap before we are off and running.

As you prabably know, the picture up top is the view from our top floor balcony of our Master bedroom. I know, it is beautiful, but only the best for us. Actually it is a picture off the hard drive of the cumputer. Boy are we delusional. Have a great weekend.

Robb and Reba

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Too bad the LeRoy boys are deprived of Love from their Aunts

Jacob and Jonah wanted to see more pictures of their Aunts because, as Jonah says, "They are the best." Reba and I only provide food and shelter to the boys where their aunts are fun, energetic, and funny. We are so exhausted by the end of the day that the energy rarely flows from these bodies. Their Aunt Sarah moved up here from Colorado to be close to the boys growing up and I believe that was a great decision. When she first moved here almost two years ago, they kept asking her when she was flying home because they weren't used to her showing up for birthdays and an occasional night for dinner. If Jonah had a cell phone, her number would be on his permanent speed dial. Since Jonah will never have a cell phone, using ours will have to do. The kids out of nowhere will ask to call Sarah at work because they have something they want to only ask her and not us. So, it has already started, Sarah will be the one bailing them out of situations and we will have no idea.

No Hannah finally got on board this family train and has just moved here from New York to be closer to her boys and also a job in the area. She is a Youth Director and is now only an hour away. The kids have been quickly adjusting to her being able to pop over for the weekend or to attend a birthday celebration. She was able to come to Jonah soccer game last weekend and he couldn't have been more thrilled. Noah loves to play around with Hannah and in fact asked the other night why she was putting him to bed instead of me. They get so attached so quickly. Jacob and Jonah were able to see Hannah new apartment and now they want to share an apartment next door to Hannah. They said, "Don't worry, if we need any help, Hannah will be there to take care of us. If we get scared in the night, we will climb in bed with her." So there you go Hannah, looks like you will be having new neighbors.

Reba and I really appreciate all of the support from Hannah and Sarah. They love our children and we love that they are a part of their lives. We have also enjoyed having them close and are really getting used to them being around.

Robb and Reba

Soccer Mania!!

It has been about a week since last blogging which should say something--not enough time. One of the great things that we all got to do last weekend was go to Jonah's first soccer game on Saturday and then another one on Sunday. He had a lot of family cheering him on both days with grandparents, cousins, and aunts. The first game, Jonah was wondering whey everyone was doing so much yelling while he was playing. During half-time, Reba told him that we were yelling for him and his team to do well. He said he didn't like that too much--Only in Jonah' style. Saturday, the other team was touch and they lost, but Sunday, they won, which was a great feeling. Jonah loves soccer practice and when practice is canceled (like last night), he is always really bummed out. He said, "Why can't we just play in the rain? It is probably the adults who don't want to get wet. It is fun to see Jonah enjoying something so much these past couple weeks. Watching the games are hilarious because all the kids really just run in a group, trying to take the ball away, even from their own teem members. Oh to be 5 again. He is exhausted at night between soccer and Kindergarten. He is really enjoying school and is comparing his class to Jacob's class he was in last year with the same teacher.

The other night at dinner, the subject of kissing at school came up between Jacob and Jonah. Jacob said that there was a rumor at school that someone was kissing someone else on the playground. He said, "I didn't see it myself, but I am sure that happened". Noah pipes in with "EEuuuuuuu, that is gross". Jonah thinks for a minutes and says, "I want to get kissed on the playground." Perfect. Now thirty years ago, it was no big deal for a boy to kiss a girl in elementary school, but now you could be taken to court or something. So, we had to have the conversation with Jonah, and all the kids, about how we shouldn't be kissing other girls on the playground, especially if they haven't been asked. Like we have always said, Jonah is the one we worry about more and will be praying for constantly to make good choices. He is intrigued by a lot more than Jacob is. Jacob is into the rules and how to follow them where Jonah is into how to break them or gently nudge them. Like I said, a lot of prayer needs to be coming this way. Start a prayer group soon for this boy.

Hope everyone is enjoying their day. Look to a child to make you think and give you perspective on your life. You will be surprised how smart they really are.

Jonah sayings: "Chill out dad, it's not a problem" I wish I were 5 again.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Which way is up?

Just a picture of Jacob's Birthday I stole from Sarah's Computer

Well, the remodel is in full swing. We are now to the point in the remodel where we can't stay in the house comfortably. There is dust everywhere and the workers are great about showing up early. Sarah, Reba's sister, is in New York this week so she has graciously offered her house out to the homeless. We have been here the past few nights and it is nice to make dinner or heat something up and sit on a couch. The kids are to the point now where they ask us where we are sleeping each night. It is a little bit disorienting, even for Reba and I.

Yesterday was Reba's 32nd Birthday and she was not necesarily thrilled about the timing, becuase things are just a bit overwhelming at the time. Each day, she is in charge of getting the kids up and out of the house for school, checking in with the contractor, meeting him at Home Depot when needed, and all the phone calls that go a long with managing a remodel. You may ask what I am doing, and the answer is "Just working." Reba can meet with people throughout the day, so most of this has fallen in her lap. She wasn't looking forward to the day, because it was going to be another sprint from morning until night. We won't go into details, but let's just say that her birthday didn't go down in the books as the best ever. It was overwhelming and it was a bit too much. The evening ended well with Birthday dinner at her parent's home and a nice evening of relaxing. Mark and Sue extended Reba's gift by allowing the kids to stay the night since they were already to bed. It was great to go back to Sarah's house and have a good night sleep. This morning was actually relaxing which gave us time to have coffee and talk about where we are in all of this remodeling experience. We decided to keep going since we are half way through the project. Good for both the contractor as well as us. Today is another day and although busy, the birthday experience is behind her and she has a wh0le 364 days to get ready for the next one. Maybe next year we can make her a cake in our kitchen and have a party instead.

Constrtuction update:
*Tomorrow our kitchen cabinets come in between the hours of 0800-1200-we all know this really means 11 p.m.
*They are done taping and mudding the walls and ceilings so they are going to texturize the walls and ceiling tomorrow.
*They have molded out all the windows on the outside and inside and have finished the moldings on the dooors.
*The front door is on and new hardware has been added by Reba
*Fireplace has been cut out and you can see through to the other side where the living room is.
*Tomorrow we are off to get our kitchen tile and shelf that will be built-in near the entry way.
*This weekend we will be painting closet doors, window molding, and touch ups on the walls.

Have a great day and remember to enjoy the couch you are sitting on and the oven you are cooking in. Happy days!


Thursday, September 07, 2006

A contractor can make or break your day

The whole process of looking for property or a house has been exhausting the past year. Now that we are finally in the house and getting work done, there are always new headaches. Since our contractor, Eric, came on Tuesday with his crew, things have actually been working out well. They are nice guys who watch out for the kids and make sure they are safe. They always clean up at the end of the day. And to our surprise, they have shown up on time everyday and done what they said they would. I know this sounds strange for a contractor, but so far, we have been pleasantly surprised.

We have had many conversations with Eric this week that have been true answers to prayer. Since we are on a tight budget, we are always looking for a good deal balancing this with a good quality product. Eric pulled new windows out of another house because the owner wanted state of the art ones. As a result, Eric is practically giving them to us. All in all, it saves us thousands of dollars just on this. He also had a brand new front door that we were going to have to buy. He gave it to us for $100. Then he said that he has plantation blinds, the kind we wanted to buy, and he said he would give them to us for free. After all of these "gifts", Rebecca immediately asked them what kind of coffee they drink and what kind of cookies they eat. To starbuck's we will go. Needless to say, Eric has made our day today. That is hard to do in the midst of a very busy, hard week. We do have to remind ourselves that things are working out. Even though we are in the middle of a black hole, there is still light at the end of the tunnel.

One thing that you don't think about when workers are around is how much privacy you lose. Reba and I were on the computer in the office and one of the workers popped his head in the window and asked us if we wouldn't mind unplugging his extension cord. Granted, there was nothing there but a hole where the window would go, but it is amazing what can become normal around the house. I also went in my room to change after work and mid way through changing, two guys walk in, set their tools up, and begin to saw away. They didn't even see me. I just grabbed my shorts and walked into the hall where I would have more privacy. No complaints though, because they are getting a lot of things done in a short amount of time. Next Friday we should get our kitchen cabinets delivered and then the floors should be going in. This weekend we should be hanging the last door for the office and painting the closet doors. Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

What a BIG Day!

Today was a big day at the LeRoy household. Jacob and Jonah started school at Brownsville elementary today. Jacob started first grade and Jonah had his Kindergarten open house. They both wanted to ride the bus, but luckily for Reba's sake, she had to drive them because Jacob was bringing cupcakes for his birthday today. All at the same time, our contractors showed up this morning at 0730 to start on things. When it rains it pours. All of these things were great, it is just that it seems to be so many new starts for everyone. Jacob had a great day at school learning all the rules and coming home sharing these with us. Jonah had a great day at his open house and we think he is on board for tomorrow...But you never know. Noah is waiting patiently for to start his school on Thursday. It was a great day that we ended out to pizza with all of Jacobs family who live in the area. Jacob is now thoroughly exhausted and there are no sounds coming from his room. That is always a good sign. So, now the year is off and running. More pictures to come. Have a great day everyone.

Robb and Reba

Monday, September 04, 2006

September 4, 2006--A day of Rest is needed

Labor Day weekend has just been that. The amount we have accomplished in three days is staggering. Last night, Reba and I painted and got all of that done because we knew that things would be busy today. We had six people coming to help with the work today (Family) and two who were taking the kids for the day. We were primed and ready to go. It was amazing at how much we got done in one day. We pulled down all the studs in the kitchen, pulled up the kitchen and entry way floor down to the sub-floor, and hung all the remaining doors in the house. Everyone worked like dogs to get things done. To our surprise, Reba's grandma came over with subway sandwiches and cookies so we could take a well needed break. So as it stands, we seem to be ready for the contractor and his crew to come tomorrow and start their job. We are exhausted and sore, but it was all worth it in the end seeing how much we have done on our own.

Marna and Aunt Hannah took the kids to see the movie, "How to eat fried worms". They all had a great time. The kids start school tomorrow which is still very exciting around our house because Jacob is starting first grade and Jonah is starting K. Jacob was very excited tonight to make his lunch and set his clothes out. It will be a whole new experience. It is also Jacobs' birthday tomorrow, so it is a double whammy. Anyway, Thanks to all of you who helped out today, we couldn't have done it without all of your help--Mark, Marna, Hannah, Doug, Sarah, and Josh. Don't worry, we will at least wait another week before we call again.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

To scrape or not to scrape, that is the question

Most people would jump at the chance to go out and have a nice dinner and see a movie when the kids go away for a night. Not us. We rather enjoy tearing up carpet, moving more furniture into the garage, taping, and scraping popcorn ceiling until 2 a.m. We realize we have a twisted view of dating, but that is what our life has turned into. Notice the hole in the ceiling to the left of Reba's head. This is out kitchen. We are proud of the hole, but are looking forward to it getting filled next week. So instead of a night out until 2 a.m. at a bar somewhere, we were home sweating through our face masks. We are on a mission this Labor Day weekend and that mission is to step up to the standard of what Labor Day is. A day, or in our case, three days of Labor. We have our contractor coming on Tuesday and the more demolition and scraping we do now, the faster he can do his work and the more money we save.

Once we took our advil and went to bed, our bodies were burning, from the 16 hour day or from the heavy asbestos fumes we were breathing in. The next morning we did wake without children in the home, but we lay there with eyes open, staring at the ceiling, not wanting to move a muscle. It was only the mention of Starbuck's that pulled us out of bed. We made it to pick up the kids from my parents', and came home to a day of buying and painting doors for the house. Oh, that's right, another goal by Tuesday is for us to have the doors painted (2 coats) and put up in the house. So, while we were painting out in the driveway, one of our children was napping, one was playing legos and the other had filled up a tub with water and went in fully clothed. He was happy, as were we. We got a lot done again today, but we were wipe out at the end. With the kitchen still in shambles and no family room, we did what any normal person would do...out to eat and a movie with the kids. We had a great night and laughed a lot with the kids...Just what the doctor ordered. Now, it is off to bed. Good night.