Wednesday, June 30, 2010

“We’re getting there”

Probably the number one thing we said throughout the house process and we still have a few things left to finish up, but “we’re getting there”.

When Rob and Teresa were here, they made the comment that from my previous pictures, it was hard to tell how the house is laid out. So, I have taken a few shots of the more finished spaces to try to show it.

From the front entryway, you can either go up a 1/2 flight of stairs or down a 1/2 flight of stairs (think open split-level). I don’t have a picture because the entryway is still unfinished and doesn’t look so nice :)

The main level has the kitchen, living area, dining area, homeschool area, office and half-bath. It is an open floor plan with walls around the bathroom and one wall to hold the kitchen cabinets and pantry.


At the top of the stairs, looking towards the right is the living area.


Looking to the left is the kitchen and office further to the left (conveniently hidden because it is always a work in progress). The chalk drawing is a fun thing for Savannah and Daddy. She draws pictures (of horses, of course) and he likes to add to them. She loves finding his handiwork and sometimes even leaves them in.

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A couple of more shots to try to get the perspective. In the one on the right above, you can see the stairway.


Along the back wall of the house – the deck would be out the sliding doors on the right-hand side. I am standing next to the armoire (pictured in the topmost picture of this post). This is our dining room table. The last picture in this group is our homeschool area. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this piece we found at IKEA. There is a column of drawers for each kiddo and one for me. LOVE it! It is actually in IKEA’s kitchen furniture section, but John is excellent at thinking outside of the box and it is perfect. Did I mention that I love it?


Main level half bath. The color is the same as the kitchen area and pillars. It doesn’t photograph well, and it was also my least favorite color to paint. I had to do 3 coats to get it to look decent.


From the kitchen – it shows the corner of the kitchen island and is looking at the stairway. The front door (still not painted) is visible, but 1/2 steps down. I am standing next to the refrigerator. So from here, also 1/2 flight up or 1/2 flight down.


So, now up to the landing, looking down over the main level and you can see a little bit of the second level. Look closely, you can even spy Hadden playing in the living room. Oh yes, and Lilly, the spoiled one sprawled on the floor. You can also get a perspective of the back deck and dining area beyond the kitchen.

Upstairs is the bedroom level. At the top of the stairs to the left is Savannah’s room and shared bathroom. On the right is Hadden’s room and straight back a small hallway is the master bedroom and master bath.


This is Savannah’s room – we found the bunk bed set on craig’s list. Now my challenge is to try to pull the turquoise and the purple together. Note to self: furniture first, then paint. She loves it, so that is really all that matters. It is a really cute piece – has drawers and shelves on the one end and a little desk on the other end.


This little horse just makes me smile. Savannah got him at the arts and craft fair that we went to recently.  You’ve seen their bathroom, but here it is again.


This is Hadden’s room. We also found his furniture on craig’s list. (Hadden is still wondering who Craig is :) His bag is already packed for our trip. You can see a bit of his deck, also. Each of them have a little deck off of their bedrooms. I also have a challenge in this room to pull the green and blue together. Again, furniture first, then paint. I am hoping to go shopping for curtain fabric while in PA – hopefully I can find something that will work.

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Fondly known as the cockpit, aka very top landing in the tower. The far left picture shows the topmost stairs up to the roof. The middle picture is the captain’s chair :) The right picture is actually a reflection in the mirror at the bottom of the stairs, so it is in reverse, but I thought it showed all the pieces pretty well. Confused yet? :)

The master bedroom area is not finished, so no pictures yet. We did get a king-sized mattress finally, and wonder what took us so long. We are hoping to have the inmates build the bedroom suite, but am not sure of the timing.

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Finally, VERY EXCITING to me, we moved the washer and dryer to the master bath! Whoo hoo! I used to think that having the laundry room in the basement was a good idea … that was before all of the loads and trips up and down the stairs. Although it was great exercise, it also made a necessary chore extra hard and undesirable. The final picture is of our temporary little dresser. I don’t know why, but I just love this little piece. If I remember the story right, previous owners of the house that I grew up in left it behind. When I went to college, I “stole” it from the storage building and have had it ever since.

Hopefully, these pictures have helped to figure out where stuff is in the house. If not, you’ll just have to come and visit and see for yourself :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Father’s Day recap

We took John to a Birmingham Barons baseball game for Father’s Day. They had a special opportunity for Dad’s and kids to play catch on the field before the game (and Mom’s with cameras :). It was HOT!! IMG_4556

Here is a local news cameraman taking some video of John and Hadden. We don’t know if they were on or not – we don’t get that channel.

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I enjoyed watching them play. There were quite a few families out on the field – just guessing around 100 people total.


Ready to catch some foul balls. We had bought tickets for seats nearer to the field, but it was so hot, we opted for the “general admission in the shade” seating instead. I was surprised, but the stadium was actually pretty empty.


Since the gates opened at 12:30 and we couldn’t go to our church and get to the game on time, we decided to go to church in the Birmingham area. We tried out Church of the Highlands. It is a very large church with lots of people attending. We joked about the traffic police, parking attendants and drop-off point for the kids made the whole church feel like an airport. The service was good and the kids enjoyed the kid’s area – Savannah even knew a friend there from soccer.

You are a great father every day, John!

Proverbs 20:7 The righteous man leads a blameless life;

blessed are his children after him.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Bobcat Photo Update

As I mentioned a few days ago, the other morning on my walk with the dogs, I saw a bobcat twice!! Here is a picture from the Outdoor Alabama website of what I saw. I assume there are not too many of these around, but we think that they like the rock formations along the ridge of our neighbors' properties.

Photo Credit: Don Getty

Friday, June 18, 2010

Visit with the Zaklan’s – final day

One final bit of fun before we had to head our separate ways. Go-carts! Luke and Savannah got to drive their own for the first time. Savannah was just barely tall enough and since the track was pretty empty, he allowed her to go.

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THANKS Zaklan’s for coming to visit us – we had a blast! Come again soon. Love you!

ps – other family members and friends – we would love to have you come, too!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Visit with the Zaklan’s – pt 3

The next day, we decided to go for a hike to Grotto Falls – only to find that it was closed. Plan B we decided to go up to Clingman’s Dome – only to find that it was closed. Plan C we decided to hike into Laurel Falls and then do the Cade’s Cove loop again. The hike is only 1.3 miles each way, and this time of year was very crowded. We enjoyed cooling off a bit in the water. The rocks were slippery and we watched several people take some tumbles.


Teresa and me in front of a small part of Laurel Falls.

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Kurtz family photo op. Rob and Teresa photo op.

After our hike, we drove back to the visitor’s center, had a tailgate lunch and headed out in the back of truck again. This time, John drove and Teresa and I got to sit in the back. Again, the kids loved it.

We saw a few bear – this shot is of a young one. We saw a few wild turkey and quite a few deer.


I know this isn’t a great shot, but I was trying to take it on the move :) It is a pileated woodpecker! We have them on our property, but I have never seen one. They have a very cool sound and I had heard it the day before so I was excited to actually see one.

After our Cade’s Cove tour, we headed back to downtown Gatlinburg and spent some time walking the streets. It was rather hot, so we ducked into several stores to enjoy some a/c.


Cousins having fun with the phone booth. Gatlinburg has gorgeous flowers everywhere! They really do it right.


This gray heron (I think that is what it is) was actually in downtown Gatlinburg wading in the river. Isn’t he majestic?


Speaking of wildlife, this morning on my walk with the dogs, I saw a bobcat!! It was a very quick glimpse because it was moving very fast. The dogs shuffled it out of the woods very near to where I was walking. Needless to say, I scooped up Neli so that she wouldn’t be a snack.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Visit with the Zaklan’s – pt 2

While in Gatlinburg, we enjoyed the Smoky Mountain National Park. We drove out to Cade’s Cove (a scenic loop where you can often see wildlife). On the way there, we traditionally stop at a bend in the river to stretch our legs and skip some rocks.

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Luke and Savannah are great buds. Hadden and Ethan are, too.

This time, we had an added twist to our usual fun stop. There was a person there who had an inner tube with a bottom in it. He offered it to us to enjoy going down the rapids with the kids. He assured us that we wouldn’t get wet and that it was impossible to tip it over. John, Savannah and I went first (Hadden declined). It was fun, although we did get a little wet from the splashing.


Teresa and her boys went next. The picture below is of her second trip. Her first trip was with John, Luke and Ethan. Let’s just say that they proved the whole “impossible to tip” thing wrong. I’m not sure how quickly Luke or Ethan will sign up for river rafting again, but John and Teresa went for another run. They were troopers!

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Almost all of us at the entry to the park.

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Tailgating prior to doing Cade’s Cove loop. We saw several deer – this one is a little buck – look closely for the velvet on his horns.

Since we all couldn’t fit in one vehicle and the max speed through the loop is 20 mph, we loaded everyone into the back of the truck. This was one of the highlights for the kids – they loved it. Thankfully, the weather cooperated, too.


Incredible scenery throughout the loop.

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After we got back to the visitor center, we divided up. Some went to the Arts and Crafts loop, and others were planning to head up to Clingman’s Dome. It started to rain, so those going to the dome just returned to the cabin instead. These beautiful hydrangeas were near some of the stores. The shoe pile kind of speaks for itself :)