Saturday, August 27, 2016

Happy 7th, Happy Boy!

Dearest Josiah,

Today is your 7th birthday. I am still not sure how that happened. You're still asleep and the house is quiet this morning, but the moment you wake up that will no longer be true!

You are a ball of energy! And the light in this family. You make everyone smile- everyone. Friends, family, even strangers in the grocery store- they all smile when you are around. You are funny and happy. You are by far the most affectionate one in the family. Hugs are your love language and you give them out freely and regularly. What a joy! You are exactly what this family needs.

This year you are getting to do "big school" with your brothers, something you are very excited about. I love teaching you. You love to learn and you are really smart! Although getting you to sit down and read a book is still a challenge!

You are also by far the most athletic in the family. You literally climb the walls in our house (thanks American Ninja Warrior!). You climb trees and love sports and this year you even loved swimming.

We call you Pigpen. And with good reason. You are always dirty. Always. You have a cloud of dirt that follows you around. 

You are a good brother. I think you and Noah probably get along the best. It's hard being the youngest brother, but you do the best with it! You and Eden are love/hate. When you are getting along you are two peas in a pod.

You have the best laugh. Last night in the car you guys were giggling about something. It was music to my ears. Seriously. You are the smile maker.

Happy 7th Birthday Siah Monkey. You are a mess. We love you so very much. We know God is going to use your sweet personality! We pray for you everyday- that God would keep you safe (ha!) and that He would grown you into a man who loves Him deeply. We hope you have the best 7th birthday ever.

We love you no matter what forever and ever!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Kitchen Renovation- The Reveal!

This has been the summer of home renovations. I already shared about our master bathroom addition. You can read about it and see pictures here.

After we finished the bathroom, we moved onto the kitchen. Back in February, after we added the master bedroom closets (pics here), we got the idea to change the playroom into the master bath instead of doing an addition to the house. Doing this saved us a lot of money and I got the hairbrained idea to use it on a kitchen renovation. I wanted to take down the wall between the kitchen and dining room and make it a large open room. Jack thought I was crazy, but after talking to a contractor about how to take the wall down, he decided we could do it. We did all the work ourselves except for taking out the fireplace and putting in the load bearing beam. We hired a contractor to help with that. Here is what the kitchen and dining room looked like when we bought the house.

I wanted to take out that fireplace and the whole wall with the wall paper on one side and the appliances on the other. I also wanted to take out the half wall between the kitchen and playroom. And we did! We moved the appliances over the new wall we built for the master bath and tore the walls down!

The results are AH-MAZING! Seriously. Transformed into my dream house. So, without further ado, here is our new kitchen/dining room combo.

We tore up the original kitchen floor, took out the wall, installed a beam, patched all the sheetrock, painted, put down new harwood floors in the kitchen area and matched them up with the originals in the dining room, refinished the floors, created a cased opening into the hallway, and lots of little decor touches.

 The beam was so long it had to come in through the window!

 Weaving the new hardwood floors in with the old ones. We got utility grade oak from Lumber Liquidators for only 99cents a square foot. It matches really well!

Jack built the gorgeous island in the center of the kitchen. I love it. He even ran electricity to it so I can use a mixer and blender and such on it. I did a shiplap type treatment around the 3 sides and I got the stools at Target. The top is a two pieces of cabinet grade ash from Lowes that Jack joined and I stained. It was so much cheaper than buying butcher block!

 I did the same shiplap on the bottom of the dining room walls and covered over the navy blue that was there. It looks great!

I also sanded and stained the butcher block counter top we already installed when we moved in. I stained it darker to match the island and farm table.

Jack and I sometimes sit in our new kitchen and I say, "I can't believe we did this!" But we did and we did it on a dime, too! It's going to be a great place for family dinners and BCM leadership gatherings and Bible studies and homeschool for years and years to come.

Here is the transformation in before and after pictures. 

And that pretty much sums up the Blankenship summer! We did manage a beach vacation back in May and a weekend in Virginia in June with Jack's parents and a weekend in June at the lake with my family. Maybe one day I'll get those pics posted, but school starts next week, so don't hold your breath!

I guess you can call us the new Chip and Joana Gaines! We took out a wall and put in a kitchen island, with "shiplap." So, what do you think of our Fixer Upper??? :)