Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Our first baby...

...before we had babies.   Some people get a dog.   Others get a cat.   We bought a rehab.   When Todd and I got married this was something we talked and dreamed about.   We both wanted to take something old/dusty/ugly and make it new again.   He wanted to tear things apart and build,  and I wanted to make something beautiful.   
We wanted to do this before we officially had children for obvious reasons.   We started looking in January of 2006 and found our project almost immediately.    Maplewood was a community that we'd heard about through people that lived there and were trying to draw more people in.  It was a community of new beginnings and tons and tons of rehabs.   It was perfect!  The house we found was located in the heart of Maplewood off of Sutton where life was beginning to reappear in the storefronts.   This house was previously a single family, converted to a two family and then somewhat converted back to a single family (meaning they made 1 entry door instead of two).   Everything else about it was a still a 2 family.   It had 2 staircases, 2 decks, 2 kitchens, 2 living rooms, 2 water heaters, 2 gas gauges, etc.    We thought it was a perfect house to do a rehab in!  We could actually live on the second floor while we worked on the first, which we did.   For 1 1/2 years : ) I'll let the pictures now do the talking (with the help of some captions)  
Here she is!   This pic was actually taken directly after new windows and roof. 

This is the entry way before we bought it.   Notice the radiator heating!  The radiators were not functional when we moved in, in February.   We were without heat until our HVAC was installed 3 weeks later.  Also notice the wall next to the staircase (for those of you that now know our layout). 

The first floor kitchen (which is now our breakfast nook)

Upstairs living/family room before we moved in

Our 2nd Floor Kitchen which we used the first 1 1/2 years.   (and our AWESOME realtor, aka my good friend Carolyn)

The first morning after we moved in I woke up to this.  Todd couldn't wait to get his hands on the house, so he just started taking down a wall...any wall : )

He was having so much fun he decided to invite some friends over to help. 

We decided to make some priorities for wall "teardownage" and so began to focus on the kitchen.  Todd was back in business. 

Taking down the 1st floor bedroom walls and adding a header for support.

I helped too!  (unknowingly pregnant with Eli in this picture)

Adding electrical boxes and changing size of window to make it counter height

Evening out the walls (They were pretty slanted)

My last dish in the upstairs kitchen!  We had to cut the pipes directly below it so we ended up eating out... a lot. (no dishwasher OR disposal) (don't worry I knew I was 7 months pregnant in this picture : ) )


Todd mesmerized by how it looks with walls and floor!

Moving on to other rooms...taking out carpet.

Taking off wallpaper (yes that's a steamer! It worked well.)

Opening up the stairwell, again. 

Making the 2nd Kitchen a bedroom.

We did finally have to take a break to have a baby, a.k.a Elijah James...

....which turned into another baby so we finished the third floor and made a playroom and bedroom. 

I realize this is getting rather lengthy so I'll get to the punch line...the finished product, 5 years later. 

Refinished hardwood floors in Family Room, enclosed upstairs living room with glass and French Doors to make a bedroom. 

Our Bedroom with a functional gas fireplace. 

We converted the small bedroom next to now our master into a walk in closet! 

Anna's room

2nd Floor kitchen now our study/2nd Floor Laundry.

3rd Floor Playroom

3rd Floor Bedroom

Entryway with new wood floors, opened up wall and new banister!

Living Room with gas fireplace and new wood floors.

Dining Room

Kitchen!   We converted a bedroom into...this.  

We then eventually painted the shutters/front porch.   And yes, it's sold.   Sniff. Cheer. Sniff. Cheer.
If you think this blog was exhaustive, just wait for the photo book I'm making ; )  A big thank you to ALL of the people that helped with their expertise, tools, muscles, $, and encouragement.   There is NO WAY we could have done it (and still have a solid marriage) without you!   Now onto our next rehab...psyche!  (yes I just said that)  We pass the baton onto the next naive couple who thinks, "this won't be much work or cost very much.  Let's go for it".  

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Yee Haw!!

In case you haven't heard we're moving.  To Texas.  Mckinney, Texas.   

Mckinney is approximately 30 miles north of Dallas, 6 1/2 hours from Springfield, 8 hours from Kansas City and 10 hours from St. Louis.   Apart from good BBQ and cowboy boots, why are we doing this?  
When Todd signed up for his awesome job 2 1/2 years ago we agreed to 2 things: Todd needed to get his MBA (check) and Todd needed to move at the end of his position/degree (soon to be check).   We love his company and he was called about a job in Mckinney that seemed to fit his strengths to a T.   Todd visited back in April and interviewed for the position and the next morning he was offered the job. (yep, he's that awesome.)  A couple of weeks ago I joined him for a house hunting trip for 5 days and 4 nights.   Lets pause here.  
You tell a husband and wife of 2 small children that they can go anywhere without their children for 5 days 4 nights and they will love it.   Then you tell them that you will fit the bill for everything and they might just call it their second honeymoon. (that is actually what I've been calling it).   I can't tell if it was the whole second honeymoon thing, or if McKinney is really going to be awesome or not, but I loved it**.    What did I love about it (apart than the above reasons?)

1.) Ikea.   Do I even need to explain? 

2.) McKinney Square.  This is one of the things we love the most about Maplewood.   We love an old downtown with mom and pop restaurants and stores.   We were down on the square daily and met some cool people and experienced yummy food and cool stores.  

3.) Providence Church.  I am definitely not saying we found a church home, but we visited this church and really liked it.   When I think Texas, I think Mega.   I'm not saying Mega is bad, but we just prefer a smaller church community.   This was was the right size and had good teaching.   I'm sure there are other great church's that we will check out once we are there.   (There sure were a lot of church planters at all of the coffee shops we visited...some wearing MU shirts!)  

4.) The people.   At pretty much every restaurant we were greeted by friendly people that wanted to tell us all about their town!   This was a great, warm, welcome.

5.) First Baptist Learning Center.  After a lot of preschool hunting we finally settled on this one for BOTH of the kids : )  Yep, lil' Anna will be carrying a backpack 2 days/week next year.    We loved the facility and the curriculum.   Both kids will have Spanish, Music and Fitness built into their day and Eli will begin learning to read, write, and beginning Math....seriously (this actually was's the Texas standard).

6.) Shopping.  Ikea is it's own category, but shopping deserves a shout out too!   Not only do they have everything that I frequent in St. Louis but a ton more.   Here's a fun fact...there are more shops per capita than any other place in the U.S.   Yep.  

7.) Corporate Housing.   To piggy back on the above...look where we will be staying for 30 + days while we continue to look  for a house?  This will probably end up being terrible with 2 young ones in tow, but we are sure going to give it our best effort...urban style apartment by all the shops!

8.) Family.   Not only do my Aunt and Uncle live 15 minutes away, but my cousin lives 1 hour away!  There are also a lot of second cousins, etc. in the area that I have yet to reconnect with and some sorority sisters and old friends in the area that I'm excited to see again!   (but yes, I'm going to miss the rest of you terribly...please visit).

 That about sums it up!
**In case you are wondering this blog is not only for informational purposes, but an attempt to cheer myself up about the move in the midst of being extremely sad about leaving loved ones.  Love you all!!