Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Little Home Renovation

We were so incredibly blessed with this house we were able to jump in and buy 3 years ago.  It had so much going for it to feel like the perfect home for our family, but even though the price was a steal, it still needed some serious work.  Our original renovation budget went quickly on the big things - new roof, new furnace, major yard projects (like taking out an in ground pool), new fences etc.  We've had to save up and kind of nickel and dime for some of the smaller projects over the years. I've started trying to go room by room in the house for the rooms that still needed work.  When we started out 10 years ago, we had very basic and cheap furniture and I've been looking forward to starting to update some of those pieces.  Earlier this year we worked in the boys room and got it a bit more updated and now it was time for me to get to focus on a part of the house I have been sooo excited to work on!  

The Living Room Floor and Dining Room!  These are the first impression rooms you see when you enter the house.  The bones of the house made it to where these room had real potential with large and a huge vaulted ceiling.  It also had a very outdated sunken living space. The plan was to upgrade dining room furniture and to raise the sunken living room. 


I've gotten the reputation of kind of a slave driver when projects are under way, but Peter compliments my "project management"  AFTER the fact.  I tend to joke that Peter goes to his real job to get a break and rest up from the projects he has to do at home. 

Peter reminded me several times that this was a big project and that raising the floor could be challenging.  It became even more challenging when we discovered the walls weren't level but between him and his dad they were able to push forward with a plan we were hopeful would work out!  But no way to know for sure until we started laying the final flooring down. 

The moment of truth was before us. Not only did we have to deal with it being a smidge off but also we had to try and join the flooring of two different sides of the house and hope they would match up perfectly.  This was not the case but with some pushing and shoving and some sanding we got it as good as we could!  

We pushed through the evening and into the late of night to get the floor down! 

But seeing it the next morning made me so happy!  It was beautiful and drastically changed the look of the house! 

The view from the entry:

New Dining Room with New Dining Room Furniture

Dining looking into the Living: 

I am so happy to have this project done. The end result is actually better than I anticipated!  I really wanted it to be done before Christmas and Peter went above and beyond to make sure it was done with plenty of time to spare!  He continues to amaze me with how good he is at these home projects! 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Foster Pup #15 - Salt

A few weeks ago I heard about the rescue picking up a litter of very tiny puppies that they had found posted on a local craigslist for free. For the protection of these tiny little guys the rescue stepped in and went and got them so that they could make sure they were healthy and found safe homes.

After they had been here for a little bit I got asked to take on this little guy named Salt.  He was in a foster with his sister, but he wasn't doing too great.  He wasn't eating or drinking and was described as a depressed puppy.  The foster home he was in, the lady worked and they were hoping a home where he could get a little bit more attention would help him out.  Attention would not be a problem in our home! 

I was genuinely worried about him on day one. He was tiny for his age and just seemed lethargic and completely uninterested in his puppy food and was throwing up whenever he would eat anything. He did seem sad. Eli has an incredible way with all the puppies in our home though and was more than happy to give him some extra love and attention. 

After a few days of snuggles and a special diet just for him of ground chicken and yogurt, he was on the mend and gaining some weight. His tummy was full and happy. 

Did I mention he got lots of snuggles?!?

Finally eating! 

Now as our 10 days with the little guy come to a close, he is a completely different puppy.  He's rambunctious and getting into trouble. His little tail is always wagging, and he seems to be gaining a lot more strength in his hips that we were a little concerned about being weak.  He's chubbed up and is happy! 

And tomorrow the next step in his journey begins as he will go to his new family!  I am so happy that the rescue stepped in to save these little puppies, they are adorable!  While sometimes the work of caring for them and cleaning up their messes gets old, I love the snuggle time and extra love I get to give them in the short time they are with me.  Have a good life Salt! 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Foster pup #14 - Zumi

Once we dropped off our trouble making puppies, we were exchanged with a sweet little pup named Zumi. Zumi was technically old enough to spend the week at the rescue but I think they liked the idea of her being in a foster home and getting that experience. Plus we had a fun time with her so it was a win/win! 

Sweet Zumi was a mama's girl from the second she came in the door. I loved all the sweet snuggles I got from her! 

Now the funniest part of all this is that she was more than mildly annoyed with Peter.  She thought I was her person and that he needed to keep his distance from me!  I never let them on the bed but she got away with it for some extra snuggles before bed which kind of forced Peter OFF the bed as she growled at him the whole time!  

(I will say that this is more tongue in cheek than anything.  The dog would never REALLY get priority over Peter and she was kenneled every night for sleep.  We just had lots of laughs over her attitude toward him all week, especially after the last pup bit him!) 

She was so sweet!

She reminded me a lot of sweet Shirley, the foster pup I wanted to keep!  She very much loved me and I really enjoyed the snuggle time!  I am thrilled to know she quickly found her home and everyone at the rescue says she got a good one.  They said they even cried when their application was approved.  So I am sure she is going to have a wonderful life with her people. She deserves good ones! 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Family Pictures 2016

Whenever finds herself in town, we try to schedule a family photo session with her. She is so talented and always does a great job of capturing each of the kids personalities. She outdid herself this time and the kids were actually cooperative for a change and we were able to capture some special images of our family these days!

I am so thankful for each and every one of our kids and it makes me think of their unique stories that brought them into my life!  They are a blessing and are all so breathtakingly beautiful to this mama! 

I look at each one we have been entrusted with and sit in awe. They are beautiful, unique, but perfectly placed into our family for a purpose.  The relationships I see developing between all of them blesses me dearly. They are all so close to each other and look out for each other and I couldn't ask for anything more. We were blessed hard and fast with these kids and while at times it is overwhelming I could not have asked for a better story to be written for our family. 

We'll start with the leader of the family!  The best big brother a family could ever ask for! He's the most caring child I have ever met! Full of leadership potential and the brains to tell me that he can go places in life.  I will never forget spending time praying over this child's name, because we knew it needed purpose and coming upon - Malachi, "Messenger of God" and knowing without a doubt that was to be his name.  Not only is he ridiculously handsome, but his heart is pure gold.   

Elias, our second born.  He might come off a little more shy or reserved but there's a lot going on in that head of his.  He is determined, athletic, and smart.  Takes so much after his father that I just have to shake my head. Can melt his mama's heart with a glimpse of his sly grin.  He's the tenderhearted one, who thinks and worries and is full of empathy, even if he puts on a tough front.  You may have to try harder to get under the hard surface with him, but with one on one time and effort you can see the amazing little boy that he is.  He's a genuinely good kid! 

Sabrina, our beautiful little girl.  The perfect amount of sweetness to where she melts us all into a million pieces, combined with a little bit of spice that keeps things interesting.  A wonderful sense of humor that always keeps a smile on our faces.  She can use and abuse the system just as any baby girl should be able to do.  Loves all things pink and girly but don't be deceived, because she's tough and can hold her own in her big brothers world. 

And then there is our baby!  The first word that comes to mind with her is strong. She was born a fighter.  She is small, but she is mighty.  Her beautiful eyes just capture you.  She's determined and feisty but I love her for it!  It has helped her get to where she has gotten and I know it will continue to benefit her in life. A strong woman is something to be proud of.  She's silly and happy and loves to entertain everyone she meets.  She brings us happiness! 

Sisters are a wonderful gift, and I can say that as the youngest sibling after 3 older brothers.  It is something I never personally got to experience but I know has great value.  I am thankful my daughters have each other!  As LB gets older, I see their bond starting to grow. I see big sister starting to watch out for little sister.  I see many days of sister playtime and sister fights but a bond that will last forever between them!  I always pictured myself a "boy mom" but I have to say, being a mom to little girls is a wonderful and fun gift!  

And then there are my boys. The two little men who stole my heart first!  Just 9 months separating them and a bond of brotherhood from the moment they met!  Theirs is a special relationship. It has been amazing to watch them grow up together and their bond just grows closer and closer as each day passes. I didn't understand what God was doing all those years back, but wow, his plans were far greater than mine!  

And then there is my husband. I won't lie and say all has been smooth sailing as of late, but we still stand side by side through it all.  10 years of marriage behind us and hopefully many more decades before. He is a good man!  He models true manhood for my sons and has set the bar high for my daughters suitors. He loves them well and he stands patiently with me through thick and thin.   

Our days aren't always easy. I lose my patience, the kids talk back and protest, our days are usually too rushed to see the joy in the simple things. There are more days than not. that I am just exhausted and counting down to bedtime.  But I can promise there is lots of love. I don't have this whole parenting or marriage thing figured out by any means but my family is so forgiving with me and love always wins! 

Not only were we blessed to get our own family pictures, but the whole Keyser clan got pictures taken too. I and my children are blessed with two amazing families.  I am grateful for how I have been accepted into the Keyser family with open arms.  My kids have multiple grandparents and great grandparents who love them deeply and that is a true gift!  They are spoiled rotten but that's okay. They know they are loved by a big ole family and that's all that matters. 

Yes, this post may have gotten a bit mushy, but that's the joy of taking pictures and remembering the memories.  These days are passing so quickly and the kids keep growing. This is just a moment in time before the calendar keeps rushing onward. I don't want to blink and miss this time in our lives.  It really is a beautiful life! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Foster Pups #12 and #13 - Jack and Jose

We had a quick little foster placement this week with a group of very scared spaniel puppies named Jack and Jose. They were actually a litter of 5 and I think they were quite a bit older than the rescue was told they would be.

I knew from the get-go that I wanted to keep a close eye on them because they were leery of the kids so I did not allow the pups out of their kennel around the kids.  They did okay with me and they were a little scared of Peter but were willing to sniff him.  Then it happened, when I went upstairs to get a shower (the kids were in bed so we were giving the pups some playtime)  and Peter tried to pick up one of them and got bit pretty aggressively. Fortunately the bites aren't too bad and they are healing quickly.  

I immediately let the rescue know and they took it serious and wanted the pups back.  I was okay with this as the safety of the kids always is my top priority when we are bringing puppies into our home.  These poor little guys were just so fearful and needed a home without kids to continue to make some progress. But they did great with me and I've heard they are doing wonderful making progress with the shelter so hopefully they will be ready for good homes soon! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Cleaning off the Phone - End of Summer Edition

Had to clear off the darn phone again (yeah, I may take a few pictures) so thought I would recap some of the moments that maybe didn't deserve a full blog post. 

I did acknowledge our anniversary quite heavily on the blog, but we had a wonderful day celebrating the occasion. We aren't much for taking selfies but thought we should at least get one photo to commemorate the occasion. 

The day after our anniversary was one of our favorite occasions for our small town, The kids had a blast! 

Eli celebrated his 5 and a half birthday! 

The kids sat with us and watched their first ever olympic opening ceremonies. I was actually quite impressed they were able to hang in there as long as they did. 

But eventually sleep won out for our party animal, go figure. 

One of the highlights for our boys this summer was that they both learned how to ride a bike

Their some pretty cool dudes! 

Mal loved watching Ethiopia make history 

The garden gave us quite a yield and the kids were super proud 

My parents felt bad that the princess didn't have a bike of her own, so of course grandparents saved the day!

This is a common occurrence

Doctor Malachi at the doctors office 

We are officially in the busiest time of life that we've ever had.  Running kids from activity to activity and throwing school into our day too.  I'm definitely feeling like a soccer mom! 

We had family pictures taken (more on that later) and the view was just so gorgeous!  We live in a such a beautiful place! 

Night owl, hanging out with us far past her bedtime. 

Fun with Auntie Rachel at the state fair! 

We've tried to enjoy football season, even if our team isn't very good! Fans through thick and thin! 

My weekend snuggle bug! 

As if there's no shortage of activities to take care of around here, we're trying to get a few more summer projects complete before we're out of time! 

And Saturday morning Soccer has begun! First week was beautiful weather! 

The boys did awesome and we were so proud of their final goal count! 

More work being done! 

My cute little girl who was begging for someone to play ball with her

We also moved Peter's grandma into town. Loving all the new Keyser's coming to our little town! 

My breakfast buddy! 

The boys recently moved up to the big kid class at Taekwondo!  Very proud of their moves! 

And this week with soccer was a wee bit rainy.  Some of the girls had fun, some not so much! 

Life is oh so busy right now. It seems like we hardly have a moment to breathe. It's definitely a phase in life that presents challenges and I'm trying to muster up a blog post about that in my brain.  It's never good when I still wake up exhausted in the morning, but it is fun watching our children grow and experience things in life too.  A very busy summer is quickly turning into the busiest fall we've had too.  I see no signs of it stopping, so we are doing our best to adjust to this newest phase of life we are in with school age children. We are blessed with each one of them and each moment and memory!