We Joined the Y

We made the decision last week to re-join the YMCA. We were members post-engagement, pre-wedding. It lasted a few months. Mostly because we hate exercising.

Now that I’m a stay at home mom, and Shane is gone often, I wanted to join to save my sanity. Our Y has a child care center, so they watch your kid while you work out. Also, I think Norah will like the pool! I hope so anyway. I know I like it.

So while Norah was napping today, I went to the Y. There are 6 elliptical machines. The first two had older ladies on them, an empty one, an old man on the next, another empty, and then another older lady on the last one. I grabbed the first empty one, and here’s what happened:

Older lady: That machine is squeaky! If you use it, that man will make you move. He’s my husband. He made me move.

Me: Okay, I’ll try the other machine. Thanks!

Old man: She never listens to me any other time!

Ahh, I love old people!

So these ellipticals aren’t the typical ones with tracks. Oh no. You have to work to make these bad boys move. After about 30 seconds (no lie), I wanted to get off! Then I looked to my right. The old lady had been on it for an hour, at a higher resistance! I looked left. The old man had been on it for 30 minutes at resistance 20! So I sucked it up and made it 20 minutes. Really, the first 3 minutes are the worst.

I tried out the water rower for awhile. That was actually fun. It’d be more fun just going canoeing or kayaking, but this will have to suffice.

It wasn’t a long workout, but it was something, and that’s what counts, right?! I never weigh myself, but I think I will go do that so I have a starting point. Shane is going to be gone for the next 3, maybe 4, days. I’ll probably be heading back there. Wish me luck ๐Ÿ™‚


When the husband’s away…

The wife gets into his power tools!

Sorry for the long lag since my last post. We’ve been keeping busy! We’ve gone on 3 trips since my last post in late July: 2 trips to Edgemont and one to Virginia Beach. We have managed to finish the driveway and paint the whole main level of the house and the upstairs guest bathroom.

On my last trip to Edgemont, it was just Norah and I. Shane’s sister and her son met us out there for the week. We hiked, worked on art projects, made prickly pear jelly/syrup, and played with Papa and Grandma, or as Norah calls her, Barb. ๐Ÿ™‚ She can’t figure out how to say “Grandma.”

Sheila and I went through the barn and shop again, much to the dismay of my husband who hates “stuff.” But I brought back some pretty sweet finds anyway! Shane won’t let me have a wagon wheel (yet), but Jim found me a smaller wheel that was used as part of a pulley system. The plan is to make an end table out of it. There were two small card catalogs in the garage, so Sheila and I each took one. I haven’t figured out what to do with it yet, but it was too cool to leave behind! Shane requested a pitchfork for our compost pile, so Jim gave me a cob fork to take back.

The main thing I wanted to bring back was an old door that was stored in the barn. The plan was to sand it down, stain it, cut it in half the long way and make a corner shelf out of it. Easy peasy, right!?

We figured out the door came from Shane’s great-grandma’s house. Probably a closet door because it’s pretty little. 23×70 to be exact. Tiny! Also, it’s pink.


I used Citrastrip on the door and let it sit for a couple hours. I scraped half of it and then put more Citrastrip on and let it sit overnight.


Half scraped door

There seems to be two coats of paint on it. A nice light pink over green. Jim and I scraped and scraped that door. We barely saw any wood. When the time came to come home, we wrapped it up and stuck it in the Rav4.

At home, I put more Citrastrip on it and let it sit overnight again. I let Shane try to scrape it, and then he took us to the hardware store. Yay Bomgaars!

He bought a handy little scraping tool for $8, and got it down to this in about 15 minutes.


I kind of wanted to punch him for making it so easy! Oh well.

Now that he’s on a 4 day trip, I took matters into my own hands. Literally.

Are you scared?!

Are you scared?!

I spent about an hour this morning sanding that bad boy down. Two cheers for power tools! Shane has a DeWalt Random Orbital Sander. I put 80 grit sandpaper on it and went to town.


So much better! We’re finally getting somewhere. Getting into the grooves is going to be a pain. If anyone has some helpful tips, it’d be much appreciated!

I’d like to get the door all cleaned up this week so we can rip it and make the shelf unit!

Woman vs Medicine Cabinet

Today I wanted to tackle the upstairs guest bathroom. It was an ugly yellow color that Shane really hated. I wasn’t a big fan either. I only had a babysitter for the morning so I only had time for one coat. I dropped Norah off and got to work taking off the outlet covers, shower curtain rod and towel bar.

There is a medicine cabinet in the bathroom that I really don’t like. The front and sides are mirrored, and it’s just metal on the inside. Not my cup of tea. We had an identical one in our master bathroom that we got rid of. Plus there’s a full cabinet on the other side of the vanity, I feel it’s just not needed. It was held up with just four screws, so Shane figured I could take it down myself. The screws were really tight! I got one out easily, the second one took some elbow grease. The last two I had to WD40, twice.

When I finally got it down, this is what I found:



Hideous wallpaper! Eww. Luckily it peeled right off.

Then I found this:


Sheetrock! It was never primed. I don’t know if that’s normal, but I found it strange. So I had to go find primer. Fortunately, we had 3 cans so I didn’t have to run to the store. I also had to spackle the four screw holes, along with the nickel-sized dents that surrounded each hole.

So after all that hubub, I finally got to start painting. There are two doors, the shower, vanity and light fixture to paint around. I used the grey color that I used on a few walls on the main level. I love grey!

I got the whole room painted. Except for behind the toilet, and a corner I just couldn’t reach. Shane will move the toilet when he gets home so I can get a coat on the wall behind it. Hopefully I can finish painting before we head out to Edgemont this week!


Half a Driveway

Shane called City Hall to see if we needed a permit to redo our driveway. The City Clerk thought so, and gave Shane the phone number for the guy who could tell him yes or no for sure.

Shane: Hey Bob, I’m tearing out my driveway and putting in a new one.

Bob: Good for you.

Shane: Do I need a permit?

Bob: Nope.

Shane: Good.

One thing after another went wrong while trying to redo our driveway. After one pass with the concrete saw, the starter broke. Shane spent some time trying to fix it, and then took it back to the store. They took forever to fix it, but he finally made it back and finished cutting.

Then the jack hammering began. After four blisters and a lot of frustration, Shane had a big enough chunk tore out. We were waiting for a friend’s trailer so we could get a skid steer, but it was taking a long time, so we had the rental company deliver the Bobcat. Shane borrowed a truck and dump trailer from a friend, and loaded as much concrete as he could. He took off to dump it and came back an hour later in our Rav4. Why? Because a tire blew on the trailer.


He had planned on spending most of the evening loading and dumping the concrete.

Early the next morning he went to help fix the tire on the trailer. Good ol’ Levi came to the rescue over the next two days. He drove that Bobcat like a beast!

Proof:ย Image

They got the concrete torn up and dumped, then brought in a couple loads of gravel, rented a tamping thing…I don’t know what it’s called, but here they are getting it done!


They set up the forms and were ready for the cement truck the next morning. Well…mostly ready. There was one tool he needed – the float tool thinger – and he couldn’t find one anywhere! Finally the Ace Hardware in Estherville had one, so he had to delay the cement truck by 30 minutes while he went to pick it up.

Dan-o and his three boys showed up to help with the pouring.


ย Little Sam (on the far left) didn’t get to help much. But he did manage to step in the wet cement twice!

My contribution was taking pictures. And I got to fix the corner the first time Sam stepped in it ๐Ÿ™‚

Here it is in all it’s glory. I finally got to drive on it yesterday, after a week of no driveway!


I should also mention that the first two days they were working on the driveway, it was at least 90 degrees out with high humidity. Shane lost 4 pounds.

I was painting during most of this. The first day I painted the upstairs stairwell and hallway. The day they poured the concrete I painted the downstairs stairwell and one living room wall. Since then I’ve painted the south dining room/kitchen wall and the east living room wall with the windows. The east wall has the vaulted ceilings, so I had to climb the ladder. It was treacherous, but I was really brave and got it done all by myself! ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s so hard to take pictures of the living room because of the windows. It’s so bright and the pictures come out really dark.

Here’s Shane helping with some ladder work after they poured the driveway. He assured me this is the best way to stand on a ladder. I don’t believe him.


Notice that super ugly brass light fixture?! Well it is GONE now! Finally!! Shane bought a new one while he was in Des Moines yesterday. It’s a little small though, so we’ll take it back and get a larger one. But anything is better than that old ugly one!

Norah is sitting next to me while I write, and she keeps pointing at the screen and saying “Daddy!” He’s on his way back from San Jose right now, lucky dog.

I have two kitchen walls and the two shorter walls in the living room left to paint. They all have the vaulted ceiling though, so I’ll get to test out my ladder skills some more.

We should be able to pour the other half of the driveway tomorrow! Shane said I can help this time ๐Ÿ™‚ He wants to rake and have Levi and I level it with the board. Mom’s going to come watch Norah, so maybe I’ll even get in a few pictures!


Guess I forgot to update for about 2 months!ย 

For the past month or so, we’ve been working on home projects, and I thought this would be a perfect place to document everything! Our list of projects includes, in no particular order:

  • Take out and re-do the driveway
  • Paint the entryway (done!)
  • Paint the living room/dining room
  • Paint the kitchen
  • Install an over-the-range microwave (done!)
  • Paint 3 exterior doors (2 are done!)
  • Paint shutters
  • New kitchen counters
  • New kitchen backsplash
  • Paint the kitchen cupboards
  • Paint the deck
  • Refinish my flea market dining room table
  • Paint the upstairs guest bathroom
  • Possibly get new counters in the upstairs guest bathroom

Um…I think that’s it! Lots of painting in our future. We’ll be experts after this summer.

A few weeks ago I painted our entryway. It was white, and had been scuffed up quite a bit. I went with a light grey, my favorite color! I took Norah to my parent’s house and got busy painting.ย 

Before – Dingy white blah:ย  Entryway before




After – Light Grey Fabulousness:ย Entryway after


Also notice how white and clean that door is!? Shane set up a paint studio in our garage and has been busy sanding, priming and painting three steel doors. They were all scratched up and dirty. Not anymore! We bought a paint sprayer for the project, but I think he ended up rolling them instead. Bonding primer is the most wonderful painting tool there is. It’s about as thick as sour cream, and it’s fantastic. We still need to paint the front of the front door. It’s primed right now. The white primer is already a huge improvement over the dark hunter green (bleh). It’s going to be BAM RED when it’s all done. Can’t wait!

We scraped and primed the door frame around the outside of the front door too. Geez, we’ve been so busy I don’t even remember what we’ve done!

So today I decided to paint the stairwell and hallway that goes upstairs. Here’s the before:

Stairwell before


It’s hard to see, but there are 4 doors there to paint around! Also, you can probably see that I started painting before I remembered to take a picture ๐Ÿ™‚ The walls are currently beige. The living room, dining room, kitchen, and both stairwells. Beige, beige, beige! I’ve had enough beige. This stairwell will be light grey-blue. I got one coat done, and I’m currently waiting for paint to dry.ย 

Shane also has a project today: redo the driveway! There’s a big dip in the driveway – we call it the sink hole.ย 


He rented a cement saw and naturally, after one pass, the starter broke. So he’s back at Bomgaars (our favorite store!) either getting it fixed or picking up another saw. Here’s a shot of the man in action:ย 



He’ll be jackhammering the driveway out later today. He’s so excited to do that in this humid 90 degree weather!! I have to remember to take my car out of the garage before the jackhammering begins, or I’ll be stuck for a few days.ย 

All right, time to go put on my second coat!


May Day

The weather got better. Much better. 75 degrees, sunny, slight breeze. Perfection.

And then we had another blizzard. On May 1st.

I spent part of the day experimenting with the settings on my DSLR. No better way to learn than to just mess around!


It’s snowing! On May Day!


She loves the remote!


Window cranks are so tasty!


Oooh, gettin’ artsy now!

The forecast isn’t much better. Watch out for more pictures over the next couple days!

April Blizzards








Three snowstorms in April. Isn’t it supposed to be Spring?


We spent today looking out the window.


Eating our socks.


Munching on Cheerios.


And trying to keep Bo from stealing them. The ones on the floor are up for grabs though.

I hear 70 degree weather is in the near future. We want to hit the swings soon!