New Toy

Jason got an inside scoop about a Wii shipment today, so he decided to treat himself to one. Unbeknownst to him, I had a plan up my sleeve to surprise him with one for his 30th birthday next month, but I guess he'll just have his present a month early.

The game is amazing - neither of us have ever played one. We started with bowling, which I could use some improvement in. He then tested boxing, which wore him out, and has moved on to golf (I may never get him away from this game!!).

Of course with all games like this, the game itself is expensive, but then you need more controllers, more games, etc. Phew! At least he'll be easy to buy presents for over the next few years...

Here are Jason & Greg showing off their bowling form:


Uppercase Living

I went to an Uppercase Living party a few weeks ago with my sister-in-law. They sell decal-like decorations for your walls in different sayings or pictures. Here's the website: http://www.uppercaseliving.com/. Jason put ours up yesterday above the bay window in the kitchen, and it looks great!!
Sadly, he made me swear I'd never purchase another one because it was difficult to put up. I was thinking of hosting an Uppercase Living party, so I guess I'll be putting any new purchases up on my own.


Christmas Tree

At long last, we have our Christmas tree! We went out to a farm in Warrenton to chop one down. It would have been fun if it hadn't been freezing & rainy. The tree was pretty much frozen by the time we got home, so it's currently in the garage thawing out. More pictures after it's decorated (hopefully tomorrow).



They planted our city-required trees yesterday. Since we're on a corner lot, we got 3 trees instead of the standard 1 tree. They kind of look like Charlie Brown Christmas trees right now, but hopefully in a few years they are just like the trees in the city! OK, maybe a few hundred years...


Poor Tigers

Our poor Tigers got the shaft this weekend. They played a less than stellar game on Saturday against Oklahoma, which resulted in their second lost for the season. Sadly, the BCS people decided that meant we didn't deserve a BCS bowl game. I am befuddled how Kansas still gets one even though we beat them outright. Such a shame. To the Cotton Bowl we go though, so at least it's something.

We finally finished painting the living room - phew! That was a project! I put my new purchases up on the plant shelf, and I like them, but still need to add a few things to make it complete. Here are some pictures of the new couches (finally!) and the fresh paint job - sorry they're kind of blurry (don't mind the lump on the couch glued to the TV - it IS Monday night, you know).

It's kind of hard to tell the color, but it's a light taupe:

Sofa with love seat on the left:

The chair & 1/2 with ottoman:

The 1/2 decorated plant shelf:



Jason & I went to Kansas City yesterday to cheer our Tigers on to a HUGE victory over the previously-undefeated KU Jayhawks. We are now #1 for the first time in 47 years! We had a fun time - we didn't have tickets (they were VERY expensive by the time we decided to go), but we went and tailgated. Just before game time, we went to defrost and watch the game at the local Buffalo Wild Wings. The place was packed, and it was mostly MU fans, which of course made us happy. It was a fun night!

Cyndi & I did our annual shopping spree on Friday with 8 full hours of shop 'til you drop! It was a successful day for both of us, but as always, I ended up buying several things for myself. As long as there are at least some Christmas gifts mixed in, I don't feel so bad.

Thanksgiving was nice - we decided to forgo one of my family's feasts, so it was a lot less rushed than our normal holidays. Cramming 3 visits in one day is just too much.

As for my painting project - it's running a little behind. I bought a quart of paint to try out the color, so I painted as much as the quart would allow, which is about 1/2 of one wall. I like the color, so now I just need to finish the job. That is tomorrow's project, then it's back to work on Tuesday.


Clayton Family Fun Weekend

We spent the weekend at Jason's parents' farm, as we do every year on the weekend before Thanksgiving. We had a nice time. Jason shot a doe, so we have enough deer meat to last us until next year! It was a little bit snug in the house this year, since there are 6 adults, 3 kids & 2 dogs, but we managed.

We got back last night and decided on a whim to go buy a new TV for our bedroom. The TV we had in there was a 19" TV that dates back to late high school for me. Since we've moved in, it has been a pain - for example, turning the volume down turns the TV off. So, needless to say, we needed a new one anyway. We bought a 37" flat panel LCD. It looks so big compared to our 19"! We also bought a surround sound system that was super cheap because it was the display model.

I have to go in to work today to help teach training from 11:00 - 1:30, but after that I am off until next Tuesday! I'm looking forward to the days off, and hope to get a lot accomplished around the house, especially painting the living room. We'll see...



If you know how to finish that sentence, you probably also know that the Tigers are ranked #5 in the nation! We had a "tailgate party" Saturday to watch them beat Texas A&M. We started at 8:30am, which made for a very long day of beers & food. I took a few pictures, but they are of our youngest guests of the day, our niece Mia and my friends Angie & Eric's son Dylan:
It was funny, Mia thought she needed to squat down to "talk" to Dylan - like she's so much bigger than him. She's such a nut - can you tell I have baby fever? If not, check out the focus of my last few blogs. Oops.

Anyway, I plan to post a couple pics of the new living room furniture one of these nights, but tonight we went to a nice thank you dinner for my work. It was fun, and we were all presented with hats that were "fitting" to us via a very funny presentation by our boss Jason. Here's a picture of my whole group wearing our newly-presented hats. We had a great time.


Halloween & Furniture

At Rebecca's request, I'm posting a Halloween entry. Jason was stuck at work, so I went over to Cyndi & Todd's to see Mia. She was an adorable 50s girl:I love her expression in this picture. It was fun watching her - she caught on pretty quickly to the trick or treating and just loved looking at all the other kids.

Also, we finally found some furniture!! Rothman had a big sale, and we bought a sofa set (sofa, love seat, chair and 1/2 and ottoman), which is arriving sometime next week. We also bought the leather chairs & ottomans for our hearth room:
They're kind of big for the space, but big also means more comfortable, so I think they'll be good. It will help when there's a plasma tv over the fireplace and pictures and paint on the walls.

We also found some fun decorative pieces at Rothman, which I put on the plant shelf in our bedroom. They look great, but I clearly need to buy a lot more for up there so I can spread the two matchy things out. These things take time.


Busy weekend

We had our niece Paige's 8th birthday party Friday night. It was a good time, as always. It was cute, Paige & her 2 neighbor friends were on the porch showing off their dance moves for the rest of us. Mia even joined in for a bit.Saturday was MU's homecoming, so that makes for a long, albeit super fun, day. We got to Columbia around 10:30 and went straight to Trops for our morning breakfast drink. Yum - that place is great - what other bar will give you a frozen fruity drink in a to-go cup?!? We then went tailgate-hopping, and then into the stadium to watch our Tigers kick some Texas Tech butt. Lots of fun!!

Today we went to the pumpkin patch with Steve & Kate. Sadly, there were not a lot of big pumpkins to choose from, but we were able to find some to purchase. (Notice the curious sets of eyes in the windows)

After we got home, I decided to get some more painting done. We now have a rust-colored accent wall in our kitchen. It looks great - I'm so glad to have it finished. Also got the yellow kitchen paint back out and touched it up. Phew, check those items off the to-do list!


Grass & Shutters

Sorry I've been slow to post - work is BUSY!

Anyway, they laid our sod on Thursday - it finally looks like a real home from the outside. The sod is a little stripey, but hopefully it will fill in nicely and will be pretty when Spring rolls around. Jason has been dutifully watering it daily, so we'll see!

Our new shutters also arrived yesterday - we will officially have brown shutters to match our brown door. Goodbye blue shutters. Jason hung the first set tonight on the porch, so now the neighbors probably really think we're nuts because we have 2 sets of blue and 1 set of brown. Ah well, they'll see the finished product in no time.
Jason is currently hooking up the second cable line to the box so we can have our full-fledged DVR back. Right now we can only record what we're watching. Looking forward to recording shows to watch later. How did we survive our whole lives without this technology??


Getting settled

Well, moving day has come and gone. It went off without a hitch - our friends are truly the best! We moved an entire POD in about 25 minutes Friday night and the other Saturday morning in about an hour. It was great. Thanks again to everyone who helped us!! We had no mishaps and nothing was broken (except for the crock pot that I broke - oops!).

We LOVE our house - we can't get over how much space we have. I recommend to every new homeowner to first live in a small, cramped place, and then your next modest-sized home will seem HUGE to you!

We have a lot of work to do still, but Jason was off today, so he got some shelves hung in the garage, hung a bunch of blinds (it was a little uncomfortable having NONE of the windows covered - at least now about 1/2 of them are, including our bedroom & living room) and bought our mailbox.

We're still waiting for our grass, but we're thinking it'll be tomorrow. Today they seeded & strawed our back yard, so that's a start. We are now on a mission for new couches & a kitchen table, among other things. Ah, the joys of home ownership!

Here are some pictures of the dining room:

Living room (temporary set-up, as I said, we're going to buy new couches):

Now, I feel like the living room pictures need a little explanation. For you football fans, Jason had Dallas in his survivor pool, and I happened to be taking pictures of the living room during the last few seconds of the game. The picture on the left is him celebrating the field goal (notice Willie cowering in the foreground), then the one on the right is after they said a timeout was called before the kick and they'd have to re-do it. Football season is certainly exciting around here!!


Countdown: 1 day

Well, we had our walkthrough yesterday, and it went really well. There are a few things on their list to fix or touch up, but it really wasn't that bad. There was a painter there who was super nice - he left some touch up paint & some brushes (the standard new home package) AND he was talking to us about buying "good" rollers, so he went out to his truck and got one for us. THEN we were asking where to buy the stain he used for his spindles so Mert can make us a matching baby gate (for our NIECE, don't get any ideas!), and he said he had made the concoction himself to match our floors, but would be happy to come back and make us more when we need him to. Wow! You just don't get that kind of service with the big corporate-types.

The walkthrough ended with Robyn (our walkthrough lady) asking me for a hug. Guess she thought it went well too.

My parents left town this morning, so tonight we're going to load up Big Blue with our boxes so she'll be raring to go tomorrow morning. Jason, Steve & Darrin are going to start on the big stuff while I go to work, then I think some people might come over Friday night to get the moving party started!


Countdown: 2 Days

So, we have our walkthrough this morning. We're looking forward to seeing it all cleaned up and pretty. We tried to go last night because I might need to leave before the walkthrough is over, but the cleaning lady was there and wouldn't let us in. That's OK, more to be excited about today.

However, the cleaning lady was taking a break when we got there, which meant she was sitting on the doorstep in our garage leading into the house SMOKING! We were ticked - our whole garage reeked of smoke. PLUS, she had the door leading to the laundry room open, so who knows what it smells like inside. We are not happy. That is the first thing we're going to say when we get there this morning - "smells like smoke, fix it." We had already made the "no smoking in the garage" rule for our friends the other night at our impromtu gathering - stinks that the cleaning lady was doing it!


Countdown: 4 days

We went out Friday night and "accidentally" had our first gathering at the new house. We painted the second coat on the last wall of the hall bath, and several (9, to be exact) of our friends "stopped by" and hung out with us in our driveway when we were finished....until about 1:00am. It was lots of fun, but apparently we got caught. We went Saturday to put the second coat on the bedroom walls, and the cleaning lady was there. Apparently her husband does security for Lucas Homes and saw all of our cars there - oops! Ah well, what can they do, tell us not to do it again? No problem because in just 4 short days we will own that pile of bricks!!

They put the carpet in Friday and re-hung most of the interior doors. As I mentioned, they were cleaning Saturday & I think yesterday too. We have our walkthrough Wednesday morning, so pretty much everything should be finished by then. Yay!

First driveway party:

Freshly carpeted living room:



We went out to the house last night, and they've done a handful of changes: they cleaned & graded our front yard, installed our toilets & faucets, put in our overhang counter top in the kitchen, put in our oven & dishwasher, put in our under cabinet lighting and stained the banister. Fun stuff! Here are a few pictures of the kitchen:


Anniversary & Paint...again

Today is our 1 year anniversary - we made it! It's been a fun, but trying year. We went out last night to celebrate. We ate at a Brazilian steakhouse, and Jason declared it as his new favorite restaurant. It was yummy.
I also went this weekend and painted our bedroom. It's a pretty light blue color, and I love it. It will need a second coat, but after 5 1/2 hours of painting in slience, I had had enough!



They put most of the countertops in! They told us it would take 2 weeks from when they measured, which was a mere week ago. Very exciting - they look great. They also have all of the lights installed and about 1/2 of them are wired and turn on with their switches. They fixed our hardwoods, so now they appropriately go all the way down the hallway. What else? Oh, they installed our microwave. The stove & dishwasher will be delivered Sunday, so that, along with the rest of the countertops will pretty much complete the kitchen I think.

It's all happening so fast now that it's the last few weeks (2 weeks from tomorrow, to be exact!). We are VERY excited!

In other news, Cyndi & Todd closed on their house today, so they are officially the winners of the contest. We went by tonight, and their house is fabulous! They were painting their bedroom (while Jason & I watched...while drinking their beer - it was great), and the color they picked is awesome! It's a milk chocolate-ish color, or kind of like chocolate milk. Going to look great with their new bedspread.

Anyway, here are tonight's pictures from our house:

From the outside, still missing the last couple rows of siding:

The kitchen with microwave & countertops:

The fireplace (actually looks great, despite the screw-ups) and the 1/2-built banister:


We went out to the house last night, but because I had worked late, it was already pretty dark when we got there. That presented problems for my photo taking, and it was pitch black in our house. We thought we'd be able to use their work light, which has been plugged in to an outlet in the basement, but those darn workers took the cord with them! Jason's parents were our saviors and brought over a super duper flashlight and an extension cord. Phew!

Anyway, the picture above is the best one I have - the new brick on the front looks awesome! They obviously still have to fix the siding (where you can see the board above the brick in the picture) - they may have done that today, we're not sure. They also finished the brick for the fireplace, installed almost all of our lights, put in the outlets & light switches (though they're not yet wired to the circuit box downstairs - hence the sea of darkness) and put in our shower door.

Things are moving very quickly! Hopefully I can get out there early enough to take decent pictures one of these night, but more likely it will have to wait until Saturday (darn year-end!).


Little changes

Jason went by the house tonight, and they put up the wooden gate thing to block the drop-off from the back door (required until we build steps), they hung the mirrors in the master bath, and they cleaned up in the spare bedrooms - he thinks in preparation for coat two of white paint. They also put up all the brick on the front of the house and he said it looks really good. He said the mortar is a little darker than the stuff that's already there, but our friend Steve Kuehler (a brick expert) tells us not to worry until it dries completely - probably a whole week. I can't wait to see it - we'll go back out tomorrow night, and I'll take the camera, so we'll have some pictures to post I'm sure.

On another note, this is the second time in the past few days that they've left our house wide open - I'm talking garage door open, front door open and windows open. It's pretty frustrating because so much is done in our house and some kook could just go mess it all up. Somebody will be getting a phone call from us tomorrow (AGAIN!).


Hardwood floors

They installed the hardwood floors in the foyer & dining room, but they didn't go all the way down the hall like they were supposed to, so they'll be bringing that guy back out to fix it. Our other dilemma this weekend was the brick for the fireplace - apparently the one we picked won't work, so we had to go today and pick another one. Not a big deal, but frustrating nonetheless.

They also installed our closet shelving and our towel bars and toilet paper holders, so that's exciting.

They started working on the front - ripped out the siding where we decided to add brick, so hopefully tomorrow they'll get the brick finished. Can't wait to see what it looks like!

Our very dusty hardwoods:


The newly ripped up house:


Closing Date

Well, we finally got our closing date today - October 5th! Yes, that's 3 weeks from this Friday - craziness! We're ecstatic! Note to all the St. Louisans who are looking for a good workout: I know just the place on Saturday, October 6th. Also note that all movers will be rewarded with free booze and a gourmet meal (such as pizza). Thanks in advance to everyone who helps us!

I made it out to the house a little earlier tonight, so I was able to get some better pictures of the cabinets. Other changes are: trim and doors hung in master bedroom, bathroom sinks installed and the beginnings of a step at our garage/laundry room entry.

Master bathroom (his & hers vanities):

Kitchen (picture on left is where microwave & stove will be, on right is where sink & dishwasher will be, and bottom is where fridge will be & the white part is the pantry):

Hall bathroom & entryway to master bedroom (notice the dark hinges):