Thursday, January 21, 2016

lots of TURQUOISE in this master bath

Turquoise. Three shades of turquoise made up our master bathroom. Wow it was bright and dark!
To tone things down a little, we painted it all the same color- more of a calming grey.

Updated by the previous owner/builder in 2012, we definitely love the shower, we just wanted to calm it down.
I have to pretend I don't see the popcorn ceiling since that will not be replaced any time soon {Jim put his foot down} but I do love all of the light that comes through these windows.

Even just adding primer made it look better already. That was some DARK paint.

With more oak accented with brass for the light fixture, we painted it instead of replacing. Again, painting the trim white and replacing all light switches and covers made a huge difference.
On this forever {later} list is to refinish the vanity {more oak to hide} and maybe even figure out how to re-do the vanity. I'm thinking concrete counter tops would be super fun. Or, marble?
Jim doesn't quite agree with me that it will be fun, but he said he would do whatever I want... at a later date. I'm still looking for new rugs that I love. For now, everything else is what we already had.

Again, just a fresh coat {or two} of paint really changed it and made it feel so much brighter and cleaner.

From the bathroom, we started on the living room which led to the hallway, Caden's room, Caden's bathroom and spare bedroom...

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

no more P U R P L E in the kitchen

We are a family that now loves purple. UCA purple that is, not purple walls in the kitchen. This was one of the first things to go. With tons of honey oak everywhere, we knew we wanted to tone it down as well.
It did not look horrible when we moved in, just very outdated and fairly dark. Luckily, the cabinets are in great shape, so we could get away with not replacing them all together.

The black quartz counter top was installed just a couple years ago. We knew getting rid of the oak would help it to stand out.
We have grand plans for future updates especially to the kitchen, but for now we are doing what we can do for the least amount of money to make the greatest impact.

As painful as it is, paint always seems to be the best answer.

It was a mess- torn up for almost a month so the paint on the cupboards could properly dry. I feel pretty lucky to have a man who although he HATES painting will do it with me.
We took off all of the cupboard doors, added fresh Alabaster white paint and new hardware. The walls are a nice new neutral shade of grey. Covering up the purple walls made a huge difference right away.

The baseboard trim is horrific and needs to all be replaced. It was not properly installed with gaps and backward cuts throughout the entire house.
For now, we added two coats of fresh white paint{after a coat of primer} and while it still drives Jim crazy, I think it looks just fine.
My fabulous handyman of a husband has replace all of the light and outlet switches and covers. They were all beige/almond with plenty of mismatched outlets which did not match the newly-painted white trim.

Replacing these has been a never-ending project in itself going through the whole house, but they look so much better.
With a serious dislike of those skinny old aluminum blinds, I insisted they be GONE.
Funky window sizes made it tough to figure out what to put up.
With so much black and white, we wanted to add color but it ended up being easiest to install simple thicker white blinds and valances with some color over the top.
SO much better.
Right now, we have a built-in microwave and oven. As soon as they need replaced, I would love to add a double oven and put a microwave elsewhere.
New light fixtures, back-splash, flooring and additional cabinets will have to wait but for now- we are super happy. I also have plans for a fun breakfast nook to go in the empty space under the octagonal window.

It was a lot of work but worth it for the cost of paint and cabinet hardware to brighten things up.
Next, we started on our master bathroom.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

S T I L L painting...

Yes, we like some paint around here!

We have come to the conclusion that we will have projects to do around here for the next one hundred years. Being that we like to work and stay busy, I still believe we are in the perfect house.

After just three months since we moved in, during which we enjoyed Justin's football season and the holidays, I like to think we have made great progress.

More than anything, we are feeling more settled than we have for the last two years.
It is such a good feeling. There are still boxes to unpack and organizing waiting to happen but we are getting there. Slowly, but surely!

Jim is enjoying his job at Scott Air Force Base with normal daytime hours, his own desk and welcoming new co-workers. He is a man who loves {and needs} routine. This new routine has made him very happy.

Coleman and Caden are doing fantastic in school both landing all A's and B's on their report cards. Basketball starts for both of them this week at the YMCA- a quick five-minute drive from our house.

Ty has his own apartment just fifteen minutes from us which makes it easy for him to pop in when he makes the time.

Justin is finishing up his Bachelor's degree down in Arkansas but was able to spend both Thanksgiving and Christmas {along with his girlfriend and puppy} with us- time we all enjoyed.

We have just about painted the entire upstairs. We even have a few pictures on the walls. I will work on posting some before and after shots...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Needing a L I T T L E paint

We knew we had to have a job in order to prove we had income. Banks kind of want to see this before loaning money to buy a house.

Thanks to a fabulous mortgage shark and getting things in order, we are once again homeowners.

After three months of looking online at hundreds of houses in the O'Fallon area, I finally convinced Jim to check out this one that caught my eye. I had asked several times but he wanted NO part of it.

He absolutely did NOT want a fixer upper.

Together we both wanted a nice neighborhood, big backyard, trees, close to the base and a basement. Jim really wanted move-in ready and has always wanted brick. Proximity to the schools and a ranch-style were a big deal for me.

I wasn't afraid of doing a little work, or even having Jim do a little work.
That's what we do. We work!

As soon as Jim finally broke down and agreed to look at it, I called the listing agent without hesitation.
It sits on an acre with some grass and some wooded. Enough land to have space and privacy but not so much that we will have to spend every single weekend mowing and planting.

It is completely landscaped with large trees.

We looked at on a Sunday afternoon {August 30}, put an offer in on Monday {August 31} and had a signed contract on Tuesday {September 1st}.

Until we closed and were handed the keys- we could not even believe it would be ours.

Built in 1998, the listing described it as unique luxury. It is a house like no other. We definitely have some updating {painting} ahead of us but structurally we could not be happier with our purchase. They definitely did things right when they built.

There are so many extras- things we wanted to do in Kansas but did not get to.

Extremely energy efficient, the inspector could not believe how much insulation was in the attic. Hearing this among so many other things was music to Jim's ears.

We are discovering new hidden gems just about every day.

With two weeks until Jim starts his job, we are going to take advantage of all the time we have to paint.

Exhausted from being in survival mode, we are ready once again to really thrive.

After we finish painting...

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Our New Chapter: Southern Illinois

It's a good thing I thought we were through the worst of times a year ago. If we had known how much we still had ahead of us, it may have been a little too overwhelming.

We aren't in Kansas any more.

When we first moved to Kansas, we loved it. We loved where we were and could see staying there forever. When we retired out of Germany, we were beyond excited to move back into our house and pick up where we left off. Things didn't go as smooth as we had planned.

In this last year, we have learned through experience how difficult unemployment is on a family. 

We are completely convinced as well that until you endure the hardships that come with looking for a job to support a family, you have no idea how tough it is each and every single day.

After a rough six months and being backed into a corner by Jim's job in Kansas, we knew we had to make a change. Forced to move {laterally} to a position requiring him to work 6-7 days a week, longer hours and remaining on second shift were just a few of the reasons we decided to take a leap of faith.

Just a month prior, we finalized the sale of our house and moved into a little rental house with big plans of building next to friends on twenty acres of land right in town. We were excited.

Unable to find a job or even get offered an interview, we knew we could not live on retirement alone.

Having sold our house, we realized we had nothing holding us to Kansas other than our good friends. For the first time in our marriage other than our move back from Germany, we did not have the Air Force telling us where to move next.
Our decision to move to southern Illinois was a quick one but it made perfect sense. With a large headquarters base and family in the area, we knew the opportunities for jobs were much greater. 

Having Jim's cousin offer us his house and side jobs softened the blow and eased yet another difficult transition.

The last four months have not been easy. 
Fortunately, things are finally looking up and falling into place.

After applying to nearly 200 jobs- corporate and government, Jim was finally offered interviews for three separate jobs. Up until this point, he was not even given a chance but instead turned down for job after job after job without even meeting him. 

Within a week's time, he was offered all three jobs and accepted a full-time, permanent GS position at Scott Air Force Base. We couldn't believe it. Some days, we still can't.

Five days after receiving the job offer, we closed on our new home.
We have been in our new house just ten days. 
Even spending weekends on the road to watch Justin play football, things have already calmed down. 

Without a doubt, we know this is where we are supposed to be. 
We are excited for simplicity. We are craving routine and organization. 
We are elated to close that last chapter and start this new one.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

watchin' our corn pop up in rows...

It's been six months and a week that we have been back in the US.

Sure wish we would have had warning as to how tough it was going to be. I think we were so excited about getting back to our home we overlooked the fact that this would be a huge transition for us.

I have heard friends talk about how hard moving to retirement is, I just assumed we would breeze through. Boy, was I wrong!

What could be so hard about moving back? It is Kansas after all. I figured after moving to Germany- back to KS would be so simple.

Jim started a new job yesterday and though we are still struggling to get in a routine, I think we have to be through the worst of it!

The job-hiring process is brutal especially for a guy who has not ever had to go through it. This is not his dream job, but a really great offer with lots of room to move up. He is now in management at Johnson Controls in Wichita.

A few things I have learned in the last six months...

Most things in life take time. Patience.
Before we moved, our business was thriving with a demand that I could not keep up with. Even after working 10+ hours a day usually seven days a week {with Jim working weekends as well}, I was still turning away work. Putting it on hold for four years, I knew I needed time to get it up and re-launched.

It has been slow to kick in which is ok, but not when the bills are kicking in too.
Our family is incredible.
Without the support of our family, this transition would have been so much more difficult. There's no way we could have done it. Just being in the same time zone {for starters} has been really quite wonderful. We feel so blessed.

Our boys are our world.
Being able to see all four of them thrive right now is such a wonderful sight. Caden's teacher said it is as if he has always been in Mulvane- not the typical new kid trying to figure things out. Coleman has made so many friends as well. Their biggest complaint is riding the bus {which picks them up at 6:30...yikes}.

Caden just finished his football season and both started basketball this week.

We are not sure how the grades are going but Ty is having a blast at Wichita State already. He has moved into a fraternity house {with a GPA standard in order to live there}, declared engineering as his major and playing intermural volleyball.

It's only 30 minutes up the road, but he's able to do his own thing. It is nice to see him getting involved and having fun.

Along with the above mentioned positives, being able to see Justin almost every weekend has made this retirement and transition worth every fight and tear.

We have put some miles and long hours between here and Arkansas, but we have loved every single weekend.

His team is doing well {4-1 in conference} putting on some of the most exciting football you can find.

The family and friends who have supported him going to and watching games has been incredible- thank you!

A strong marriage makes it through the ups and downs.
While this has been the toughest time of our entire marriage, there is no one in this world that I would rather have by my side. I still feel so lucky every single day to not only have found the love of my life but to be so in love.

One day at a time is best.
That's what we are trying to do. Some days, it's just making it through.

Most days, it is enjoying and trying to focus on the things that really matter while letting go of the little {petty} things. Things are looking up.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Montana State TD

It wasn't a win, but a touchdown is a TOUCHDOWN! Looking for a big win this weekend as they play Missouri State at home.
We will be in the stands cheering along with Jim's uncle, aunt, grandma, brother, sis-in-law and nephew hanging with us. We are trying to make up for the last two seasons that Justin had very little family to watch him play.
I love having family close- can't imagine if we were still in Germany how crazy we would be missing out on this special time. We are so grateful for our friends and family who have been able to both make the time to go watch him live or watch/listen on tv or online. Thank you. xo  
These pictures were taken by the UCA photographer. I love them.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Justin didn't do too bad this past weekend either.

Traveling to Montana State, we were not able to make the game. Grandma and Grandpa came to the rescue and made the trip to watch. The game was crazy loud with close to 20,000 screaming fans.
We also had friends from Germany who now live in Montana make the game. I was so sad to miss it and miss them!

Most exciting was watching (on tv for us) Justin catch his first touchdown!
A win would have sweetened it, but we are still pretty proud.
This weekend, we head to Conway for a home game v. Missouri State.
Kick-off is scheduled for 6pm CST.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

our little W I L D C A T

Caden and Justin both have their games on Saturdays. Caden missed his first game since we had to hit the road for Conway to watch Justin play. He was ok with it, but super excited to be able to play his first game this last weekend.

They had the announcer, real refs, music and cheerleaders.
They lost, but he is in his element. I look at him and think he's waited his whole life for his own games. He's such a little leader. LOVES this game.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

S T R E P, seriously?

Coleman just tested positive for strep. Seriously, happens every year. Taking his tonsils out a couple years ago helped but if someone is going to get strep, it's Coleman or Ty.
He's quite content chilling on the couch for a day or two. He looks thrilled above, doesn't he?

Monday, September 15, 2014

B U S Y weekend x4

It was a busy weekend all the way around. Big things going on for all four boys.
Ty made a big move from living at home to on campus in a frat house at Wichita State. Just thirty minutes up the road, it will cut back on his commute and keep him on campus more.

While Jim and I were following him up to campus with a load of stuff for him, we couldn't help but feel a little sad. Excited for him making this big step and really hopeful that it helps him feel more like a college student with a focus on school.

I won't lie- I'm happy he's close enough to see him whenever we want. Hopefully, this will leave more time to study...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

a very dramatic W I N

Yes, our world is now revolving around football. It is that season. Not sure we would have it any other way.

Behind the entire game, Central Arkansas pulled out the win scoring a touchdown followed by an interception in the last minute to take the lead and the victory.

It was the first home game of the season and Justin's first time playing on the "Stripes" as they call their purple and grey field.
The first half was pretty stressful- dropped balls, missed catches and a few penalties.
But, they stuck with it until the very last minute. Talk about drama. This weekend, it is up to Montana State for the Bears. We will stay home and watch online.

Exciting times. We love our #89.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

INCREDIBLY proud of our #89

It was absolutely incredible. An evening we will never forget. We feel so blessed to have been able to watch our big guy play the biggest game of his college career thus far.

He definitely made us proud. It ended in a 42-35 loss, but the Bears never gave up in front of a record-breaking attendance for a season opener of 60,778 fans. We were a speck of purple in a sea of red. Lots and lots of red.
photo credit to Josh Goff, UCA Athletics
Here are just a few of the bold predictions in the media before the Texas Tech v. Central Arkansas game Saturday night.

"Give me Texas Tech 70-13. I have a lot of faith in this offense and I think the defense, as always, will be looking to prove they’re better this year."

"48-17 Red Raiders. I see this as a similar game to Texas State in 2012 when Tech traveled to San Marcos in terms of scoring, but not quite as bad. Could see Tech go up 21-0 and just coast."

"Texas Tech will come away with an easy victory with the final score being 50-10. This game will help the team keep their momentum going strong."

"Final score – 56-13. One game closer to a bowl, zero games closer to learning anything about this year’s team."

"I’ve said from the beginning this spells blowout due to UCA’s new coaching regime. If Patrick Mahomes is as good as he’s been advertised in fall camp, you could see big numbers put up from the 1′s and 2′s. 70-7 Tech."

Bold Predictions that turned to shock and embarrassment as our Bears not only held their own, but almost pulled out an upset against this huge Big 12 team.

From the beginning, Caden knew his big brother would do well. His prediction was that Central Arkansas would win. Along with admitting he was embarrassed, the Tech coach also had this to say...

"I felt like too many guys were just coming out there thinking it was UCA and we were going to run all over them, but we didn't."

Our Bears kept it exciting from the beginning to the end.

With games every weekend, we have a busy fall. A busy fall that we are so excited to watch unfold. This week is their first game at home. We are all {Caden especially who was not happy with the Tech fans and their "guns up" cheers} looking forward to be a part of the majority surrounded with purple.

It has not been an easy transition to retirement. I'd like to say we have been strong and gone on without missing a beat. The truth is it has been incredibly difficult and we have struggled.

Being able to get Ty into Wichita State and the opportunity to be close and watch Justin each week has made it worthwhile- our main motivation to retire and start this new stage of life. 

There are no regrets. It is going to be an exciting fall. We can't wait!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Justin's F I R S T day

What a surprise to receive a first-day-of-school picture from our big guy without even asking... I LOVE seeing how they change and grow from year to year!

I love this picture. I love this boy.
He really didn't even have a break after taking classes all summer. Fall football camp is over with his first game in less than two weeks. It is going to be an exciting fall. Especially for this family who is more than excited being back home to watch him play.