Kari and Jonathan looked forward to celebrating their ten year anniversary this summer and wanted to do something awesome for it - and preferably out of the country! Kari found a cool AirBNB in the Bahamas on some island we had never heard of and couldn't pronounce, and it seemed perfect! The less-than-perfect bit is the boredom than can set in being alone for a week (plus the stress of traveling with someone you're not afraid to yell at), so they generously invited us along! Needless to say, we took them up on that!! Twe planned for over a year for this, and the week finally arrived ... BAHAMAS TIIIIIIIME!
Even tinier airport
Glass Window Bridge
The days were gorgeous with perfect beaches and cool stops along the way (like that bridge) and plenty of restaurants where we spent our children's inheritance for a club sandwich and a Coke, but let's be honest - we also partied far into the nights! Like here, the first night, where we didn't find the AirBNB until after 10 p.m. SUPER party-animals ;)
Although 12 is not as auspicious of an anniversary as 10, it was a celebration that will go down in our history as Best. Anniversary. Ever.
Joe was offered the chance to buy this li'l road stallion from one of the office VPs at FCI (his new job), and although it was only $200 Joe made sure I was okay with the purchase before he officially said yes. He picked it up on Sunday, and we spent the afternoon riding around these dirt hills behind our neighborhood. It was perfect! Just about everyone got to drive - some of the smaller kids couldn't reach the pedals, but they all happily rode alongside dads, cousins, and even me!
Woohoo! Time to jam in a quick summary of our last 4 months into a few photos and maybe a paragraph or two.
Winter: We skied! It was so fun, we went lots of times and I found some extra gear at Goodwill (helmets, tiny ski poles, a set of skis and boots for me) so we were really pretty ready to go whenever we wanted. We got up on the mountain 4 times in 2 months! I thought that was pretty impressive. Next year we hope to go as much, if not more, especially since my last trip to Goodwill awarded me a kid-sized SNOWBOARD (with bindings!). The boys have been practicing in their room, strapped in with winter boots.
Spring: The house has really come together! We have many trees that blossomed and lots of flowers in the front yard - the previous owners had some lovely landscape, we just need to keep up with watering and weeding. I love the cutesy decorating we have done where we have done inside, and we both look forward to a few more serious projects, like bringing out bathrooms into the 21st century. Joe has been hard at work with the sprinklers - he declared it his second full-time job.
Friends: All the kids have made friends fast and furious - Patrick has gone to a birthday and a Moab hike with his friend Weston, Ethan practically lives at Ray's house (the neighbor over our back fence), Caroline asked to have a "live-over" with her cousins instead of a sleepover, and Eli gets along really well with his cousin Espen and they love playing soccer and football together. The chaos of it all is lovely and even better than we had hoped for.
As for Joe and I, our friends are pretty much Kari and Jonathan; I hang out with my mom a lot, and sometimes go golfing with my dad.
The Nut House: It sold! We went under contract FOUR TIMES, but finally it stuck and we closed 2 weeks ago. That was the craziest thing we've ever done! So now of course we want to do it again.
School: Kids are doing great! Patrick and Eli were recognized by their teachers and peers as Student of the Month for Perseverance and Persistence. As well as being a STEAM school, students also participate in Project-Based Learning: Patrick's grade focused on food waste and how we can help to minimize it; Caroline's grade has been working on the Crayon Initiative - recycling crayons instead of having them to go the landfill; I really have no idea what Eli's class has been up to, but I bet it's great; and Ethan is all signed up for Kindergarten next year and has begun reading to me at home. There are only 7 more days of school until summer! This has been a short school year for them - Olympia school start in September (late) and Grand Junction schools get out in May (early) so they got the best of both worlds, without actually changing the length of any of their summer breaks.
Summer: We have many camps and classes the kids are signed up for! The first week of summer they get a free pass - give them a chance to get bored before we give a little bit more structure! Then Caroline is staying with her cousins's Grandma for a week in Pueblo and the boys will spend their mornings that week at a golf camp. Grandpa Gustavson (aka King John, as he likes to be called) is thrilled to have up-and-coming golfing buddies, so this will help them hone their skills.
The next week Caroline begins an Equestrian Vaulting class that goes once a week for a month - it combines her love of gymnastics with her love of horses. I have no idea why she loves horses so much, I have not encouraged her at all! But I discouraged gymnastics for years and she was STILL persistent (SHE should have been recognized as that student of the month!) so I finally gave in, and she not only loves it, she is progressing quickly and can do pull-overs and the splits. Tennis lessons for all 4 kids begin shortly after, then swimming lessons after that. For many of these activities their cousins are signed up as well, including Kalena and Will coming in from Kansas City for 2 weeks and joining in swim lessons! It will be an epic June and July, I'll tell you what. On top of that, we have about 100 neighbors and friends who have pools so we are making it a point to pool-hop and try to hit them all, plus hopefully travel a few fun places out of town for some swim excursions (Glenwood? Ouray? The wave pool in Craig?).
(Ethan with his best friend Ray)
So I lied, that was 5 paragraphs. But there you have it!
We finally slept off our 100 years of sleep debt (not sure how we achieved the mathematically impossible, but it sure feels good!) and have commenced living our regular lives. Part of that regularity for the moment is many, many phone calls in relation to the flip. It IS under contract, for full asking price of $240! But of course inspection brings up unanticipated items and it IS a pain in the butt to get things taken care of when you're not even in that state. We have been super blessed to have a dear friend's brother fill in as our handy man, cause how else are you going to convince someone to step in and shop for curtains, hang blinds, and dig out deck posts in one day? You're pretty much NOT going to convince someone. So, shout out to Ryan Morgan! Having 3 other specialty scopes for bids and contracts is decidedly less fun, and I've determined the stress butterflies will only ever go away when the house has been closed on for at least 10 years and there is no way something is coming to bite us in the butt. THEN I can sleep easy. Short of that, I will accept sleeping BETTER after we close April 4th.
Meanwhile, life goes on! The kids are in their new school- my OLD school! Tope Elementary, home of the eagles; now home of STEAM curriculum (science, tech, engineering, art, and math) which is new and very awesome for the school. When I was there all the kids were shuffled onto the field to create a giant "50" for Tope's 50th anniversary; I was informed they celebrated 75 a few years ago now.
The kids enjoy playing with cousins every single day. It is so awesome! Here are the 10 cousins in our neighborhood (we're missing our 4 awesome cousins in Kansas City), ages from left to right: 10, 9, 8, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 4, and 2.
The backyard has some fun toys for climbing!
And writing, apparently.
Personally, Joe and I prefer hanging out with Kari and Jonathan! Here we are with my parents at a Vocal Point concert - it was so fun!
We also do lots more banal things - errands, dinners (LOTS of dinners!), and puzzles.
We are so much fun, see???
(Kari's going to kill me for that photo, so it's time to go!)
Life stayed nuts to the bitter end, as we stayed up til 2 a.m. Sunday night, woke at 8 to load kids and remaining items into the 2 cars, signed closing papers at 9, and hit the road at 10 a.m. to begin our drive to Colorado.
We were helped SO MUCH along the way, and I love photos and didn't get nearly enough of everything and everyone I wanted!
When we hit last-minute project frenzy these helpful and handy men stepped in and moved rock, installed sinks and a water heater, and drilled and put in every single knob and pull in the entire kitchen. They also brought donuts and lots of inappropriate humor and we laughed the night away, and it was amazing. Thank you Ian, Nathan, and Chris!!
This sweetie sent boxes, then brought herself with more boxes, then went on a wild goose chase for boxes, then helped me LOAD those boxes, and THEN MADE US DINNER. Much sanity was saved thanks to Stephanie Crook! She deserved this smooch plus many more
Jamie and Stephanie are two of the greatest leaders and friends a girl could ever hope to work with, I was so blessed to be called into Young women and get to know them (and all the leaders, I think everyone else was gone this day though! But they appear elsewhere). Jamie deserved many smooches too as she gifted me (ok, the kids) with a giant package of fun things to do in the car, plus snacks.
The poor kids got dragged to the construction site nearly every day, so as people were asking how they could help I honestly said, "if you could take my kids, that would help!" One neighbor in particular took that very seriously and had Eli over the dinners, playdates, 2 sleepovers, and out the Menchies for Frozen Yogurt. Eli was saved! And we all know that doing anything with just one less kid is so much easier, so I was saved, too.
Caroline was saved by her dear friend from church (and here, her older sister Whitney) who picked her up from the flip house to have playdates until whenever the heck we could pick her up to go to bed. It was really insane, and insanely nice. They happened to move 2 weeks before us, and Caroline cried herself to sleep that night.
3 families were moving in January so the ward threw a shindig after church one day and we gave many, many hugs. I love and will dearly miss Chelsea, Elicia, and Tamra!!
Another shindig (this time without kids or husbands, which is always a blast) at a local bakery. We laughed probably too loud and too long, but the cake was delicious and these women are AMAZING (have I mentioned that already?) Thank you to amazing Raya for always making the get-togethers happen (often at her own expense and at her own house), and for making a get-together just for me happen. But Raya! Jamie! Stephanie! Becky! Becca! Joy! Amy! Rachel! Erika! Amanda! Frankly I need more exclamation points to do this crew any justice.
Raya even made me this lovely art that will hang in our new home
Our neighbors, the Mondeaus, had the kids over a BUNCH and always fed Patrick and took him to basketball practice on Tusdays so I could have one less crazy thing on my plate. The kids loved going to basketball games so they could play in the hall with younger siblings while the big boys played ball.
Caroline LOVES Avery and Bailey! They made friendship necklaces out of yarn, and declared they would never, ever throw them away.
The INCREDIBLE Duke family, who bought the home on Ken Lake (I can't call it "our" home, now it's theirs! And I am so happy for that!). They also had us over the New Years celebrations, baby showers (not for me, but it was fun!), and a wonderful 4th of July weekend at Hood Canal. We have been SO BLESSED to know their family! they and their 4 kids are going to love the neighborhood
The moving truck always makes things official, doesn't it?
As does an empty house.
Now our goodbyes are done, and the hello's are about to begin. I'd better get some sleep so I can greet this new adventure with bright eyes and a bushy tail!
The flip house is on the market! We staged it for the listing, but the furniture was only there for 3 days until we loaded it back up to move it to Colorado. Looked good while it as there, though ;)
To see an official listing for our flip house, Google 2415 92nd court se, Olympia WA.
While they had a professional photographer come do the photos, there are not nearly enough pictures for my taste! Having touched EVERY SQUARE INCH of the house made me feel compelled to take photos of every square inch, so that's what you're about to get!
New exterior paint, new windows, new front door (with great new paint), and new landscaping made for great first impression - the official listing is bettter than this because it a) doesn't have my van in it, b) has the pile of rocks spread out, and c) doesn't have the empty bags from mulch lying in the yard. But DO notice the new cedar shingles over the front door to match the existing cedar shingles over the garage! That turned out cool.
Walking in the front door we did get the weird closet thing changed back into a coat closet, but I think Joe and I both failed to capture that. Instead, if you turn to the right you walk into the living room. We staged with our own furniture (plus a new rug from Walmart, we are fancy).
Going toward the dining room and looking back into the living room you see the awesome new window, all the lovely trim, and a cute little setup.
The built-in looked pretty dang cute with these ikea plants.
From the dining room, toward the kitchen. Love that cute island! We didn't have chairs the entire time we worked there, and once we put in staging furniture we just GRAVITATED to this island. It is a great gathering spot.
From the kitchen looking into the dining room, we love the pendants - they're actually just $10 fixtures from Ikea! But they turned out great. The island cabinets and butcher block countertop are from Home depot, and also turned out nicely. In these few photos you don't see the gold knobs and pulls we put in, but they got there eventually thanks to a few wonderful friends and their wonderful patience and tools.
HUGE run of counterspace! So awesome
Similar pendant light above the sink as over the island. The tile turned out very cute and sleek!
More tile, more counters, a great range hood over a great new stove.
From the kitchen going toward the hallway. I loved how this photo fit into the space and made a functional space turn into a furniture space - I think it warmed the kitchen up. I don't think the listing even showed it (wah-wah!) and now it's not there because we took the frame home with us, but it looked good while it was there! It's hanging on the wall outside the new bedroom, which ended up being labeled an "office/den" because the septic system is rated for a 2 bedroom house.
But seriously, it's a bedroom. There is the egress window and the closet.
But I staged it with a desk instead of a bed because this desk is so much smaller and easier to move than a bed, and I just love this rocking chair of ours. The pillow was a going-away gift from the girls in YW and I adore it, it has all their signatures on the back.
Straight across the hall from that bedroom is the laundry/mud room. With beadboard up and trim painted it looks pretty dang smart!
Sorry about the black spot on the cabinet door, that was an oversight when I saved out the right size of door (from the 50 or so cabinet doors he had squirreled around the house) and then we had no more doors, so up it went. Oh well. But there's the washer-dryer hook-ups.
Next door to the laundry room (there used to be a door between the two of them) is the guest bath, All white tile shower felt clean and simple.
Navy blue cabinets to carry over from the kitchen
We kept the existing wall cubby and painted it blue, which turned out cute. We kept the existing mirror, which turned out to be a mistake - there were some deep scratches on the left side of the mirror that we ended up covering with a plank. It wasn't our finest moment, but it got the job done.
We liked the long run of shiplap! Hooks instead of towel bars is one of our favorite little swaps to make. Easy and updates, and my kids still have never figured out how to re-fold a towel over a bar so at my home it's a personal favorite.
2nd bedroom - one of the original 2, and quite frankly THIS would make a better office, it's darker and more enclosed in here.
Though it DOES have a more traditional closet.
Remember when this wall was a giant dinosaur head?!?
At the end of the hallway, walking into the master bedroom. They obviously all have new carpet, and it is just lovely. Although it's a flip we didn't go for the absolute rock-bottom cheapest option on anything, and this was one of those examples - it was inexpensive but still nice to look at an soft underfoot. And for how easy it is to have someone else install the floor, I swear next time we are installing carpet EVERYWHERE, bathrooms and kitchen too, bad taste be damned.
With vaulted ceilings and 2 windows, it is so light! This is the wall that had paper towels shoved in the holes.
Seriously great walk-in closet. since we closed off the door between the closet and the bathroom (because who need 2 doors into once closet?) we had room for a third wall of shelf and rod
Over by the windows, looking toward the bathroom. See that lovely door? ALL the doors are lovely 6-panel doors and they ALL are a pain in the butt to paint. I recommend NOT doing 6 panel doors on a flip, but whatever.
Walking into the bath, we have the matching sinks/lights/mirrors and the bump-out wall to hide the plumbing which gives a nice shelf for daily basics and, shown here, a handy tube of caulk.
From the sink looking rightm, more caulk. And also the wainscoting paint job we went with - make things a little more interesting. Because pedestal sinks obviously have no storage, we hooked the bathroom up with some shelves that keep your necessities close but out of sight.
A closer detail of the mosaic tile around the tub. Although IT WAS a pain in the butt, we still really like the finished product, and it got lots of compliments. And that's what we go for!
In the shower stall, just on the right side of the toilet and handy storage cubby, we did the same white tile from the guest bath, plus a vertical accent run of the floor tile. A vertical run of the mosaic would have been great, and would have been another $150 so we said "nah."
And that's it! That is the house! It will be a really great place for someone - they just need to BUY IT. Pretty please?