November 26, 2013

Are We There Yet? A journey through the terrible two's

Terrible Two's

Are there any mom's out there that have or are enjoying age two? Please someone say no so I don't feel so guilty for saying that I am not enjoying this age all that much.

Maybe it's because I'm dealing with 2 two year olds? I know this age is hard regardless but dealing with two of them is testing my patience in a big way. I mean, I can only handle getting kicked in the stomach so many times while changing a diaper before I'm ready to blow a gasket. And getting them dressed? Every day it's like a marathon trying to get clothes on these two girls of mine. If we stay home it's a constant battle to keep them out of everything. If it can be opened/closed, dumped, climbed on or unfolded they're on it. I spend the majority of my day saying "No!" or "Get out of there!" or "Get down!"

I'm also dealing with sisters. If you have this picture in your head about how twins just love each other and have that special connection and always get along, just clear that image because let me tell you…the girls fight like crazy. We're actually dealing with hitting & clawing right now.

These girls have two very different personalities. This is something I really have to keep in mind when I am disciplining and even teaching. Also, one of them talks non-stop and the other one is just now starting to say words that we somewhat understand. I suspect the communication gap is probably what is causing a lot of the frustration for us.

I've heard many moms say that age three is the hardest so this has me a little worried. I'm really afraid that we may not survive the toddler years.

This journey through the terrible two's so far has been tough and crazy and exhausting and we have a long road ahead of us but there are good moments that I hold on to….to get me through the tough days.

I just hope to survive so I can pass any wisdom I might gain on this journey to other mommas approaching this age.


November 25, 2013

House Dreaming: Pantry Inspiration

I thought since I've been talking about my soon-to-be pantry in the last couple of posts, I'd share the process of how it came about and some of the photos I bookmarked for inspiration.

Pantry Design Board

In our pre-tornado house my pantry was a build in, very deep, floor to almost ceiling cabinet. I hated it. Food would get lost or forgotten. I eventually cleaned it out and moved all my dry goods into the laundry room where we had purchased placed a couple of free-standing cabinets. I then used the deep cabinet for bake ware and other kitchen items.

After the tornado, when hubs started drawing out what we wanted for the rebuilt house, he knew I longed for a big pantry so he was able to make it work. There was a wall that was shared by the laundry room and dining room that he took out and added the pantry. The pantry actually goes into where our dining room was/is so we bumped out the dining room so we wouldn't lose any space. In fact, I think my dining room is a little bit bigger now.

When I saw the size of the pantry (It's 5' deep by 8' wide) I started thinking of all kinds of ways to utilize it. I've always hated having things out on my kitchen counters (especially appliances) so I decided to put a counter top and outlets in there so I could store/use things like the toaster, toaster oven, mixer and hubby's coffee maker. Then, of course, I needed shelving. There will be base cabinets with doors under the counter top and above will be all open shelving.

Here are some photos that I have used for inspiration.

This next pantry is probably my most favorite.

Last week I mentioned how we were trying to decide what to do about a door since our pocket door idea wasn't going to work. Well, we decided to go with a cased opening that would be big enough to allow for a door or double doors if we ever decided to close it off. If we ever do that, I'm really liking these double doors.

This pantry is going to be much larger than any one I've had and I can't wait to start stocking it!


November 23, 2013

Rebuild Update: Week 14-Weather Woes

New Mills Rebuild Logo

Nothing too exciting happened this week. The HVAC system is in and the electrical is mostly done. The plumber also came out late this week and got started on the rough-in plumbing. Apparently a clean up crew came out and cleaned up the yard because it's looks much better with all the scraps of wood and packaging for various materials gone.

Weather is starting to be our biggest issue right now. Winter weather that is. It's still technically Fall, right?! We had freezing temps and freezing rain/sleet yesterday so obviously no one was working. They have forecasted a pretty significant snow storm for tomorrow so I'm betting if that happens, Monday might be a no work day as well. Next week being a holiday makes me think activity won't really pick up until the next week.

I mentioned on Wednesday that we were having issues with a pantry door. We originally had a pocket door planned but it's just not going to work so I've decided to just go with a cased in opening. If we ever decide we want a door in the future, it will be possible with the size of the opening we have.

Now that we are approaching the holidays, I'm really, really ready to get back into our house. I'm trying to not let our current situation/living arrangement get me down but I'm failing miserably. I have good days and bad days but I'm looking forward to the better days that are coming. :)


November 20, 2013

Wednesday Randoms

Last night, after thinking about yesterday's post, I came to the realization that if I just start my days with no expectations to get anything done, my days go a little better. I'm learning to accept that this is life with toddlers.

With fall comes falling leaves. Leaves everywhere apparently leads to leaf blowing. What I don't understand is why people in Oklahoma….where the winds come sweeping down the plains….blow leaves. It just seems pointless to me.

The house topic of last night was what to do about a pantry door. In the plan we had a pocket door but with the way everything worked out, the opening into the pantry ended up being behind the door into the laundry room so we are back to the drawing board. My thought is to just leave it open and just case in the opening. It's going to be set up somewhat like a butler's pantry so I'm not too concerned about it looking messy. Plus, it won't be that visible to people anyway .

Pantry Layout

We have very cold weather and possibly snow forecasted again starting this week. They're saying we will have highs in the 20's & 30's. I'm thinking about hibernating. BRRRR!!

There has been construction going on here at our apartment complex since we moved in and it's loud. For example, as I'm typing up this post there is hammering so loud it sounds like they are in the next room. Another frustrating thing about the construction is that they leave their trailers full of materials in the complex taking up 3-4 parking spaces and parking is already hard to come by here. It's the reason I try not to go anywhere in the evenings….because if I do, I end up having to park several buildings over and hike to I understand it needs to be done but sheesh!


November 19, 2013

Mom Life: The Daily Schedule Experiment

About 3 weeks ago I wrote this post. I mentioned that I had made some observations about the girls and our days and had come up with a plan. Before I talk about the plan, let's talk about the observations.

During my mommy time out I replayed that day over and over in my head. One thing that stood out was that when the girls started to get out of hand and act out was usually when they were tired…and sometimes even hungry. No need to worry. I don't starve my children.

We are a lot busy now that before the tornado. We are on the go a lot. Some related to house stuff but also because I don't like to stay in the apartment much. My hunch was that I was pushing them to far….keeping them out way past their nap time and not letting them expend their energy with play time.

I was also getting frustrated because I wasn't able to get even the simplest tasks done because I was constantly dealing with out of control toddlers. This also left no time for "working" and my work is my creative outlet which is also my stress reliever. See where this is going? There are 2 things that will make this momma very cranky, sleep deprivation and not being creative. It's crazy how much not getting those two things can turn me into a psycho woman.

So here's where the plan comes in to play. The plan was to create a daily schedule for the three of us. The girls were on a schedule starting the day they were born (NICU's have strict schedules) so they tend to do well with having one. This schedule was created as more of a guideline for our days and ensures that we all get the rest we need.

So here's the schedule I came up with.

Daily Schedule

I was not crazy about me getting up at 6am but it was the only time I could think of that would allow me to get stuff done because I was usually too tired to do anything once we got the girls in bed every night. It actually isn't that bad since I'm going to bed earlier.

Something else this schedule allows for that we really didn't have before is time for me to have my quiet time and for us to have family time.

The schedule worked great for about a week or so and then I hit slammed into a wall. The girls' meltdowns and acting out did seem to get a little better and I was able to do a few more things than I was before but by 6pm I was ready to go to bed. Now we are sleeping until around 9 and I'm going to bed around 11. The girls, for the most part, are still on their nap and bed time schedule. I really think my thyroid levels are a factor in my energy levels right now and I am waiting on results from my recent labs to see if that's the case.

I absolutely plan on getting back to this schedule. I just have to figure out how to get some more energy!

I'll definitely post an update…when I have one.  :)




November 17, 2013

Rebuild Update: Week 13-Slowing Down

 New Mills Rebuild Logo

This week has been a slow week on the house. Not a whole lot of progress was made.

Last week, they ran out of the siding for the dormers so they didn't get finished until this week. I can't wait to see them painted in the colors we chose. Hubs decided we needed lights in the dormers so we've chosen a chandelier for the middle and pendants for either side.

Week 13 Dormers

We're still waiting for the switch out for the fixed windows…which is why there are boards covering up the master and dining rooms. I think they're supposed to be delivered this week.

We were told that electrical, HVAC and plumbing would all be started (and almost finished) this week but that didn't happen. Actually, that's not true. The electrician came out on Monday and set some of the boxes for the outlets and switches. The HVAC system install started on Friday. The plan was to insulate on Wednesday but I'm thinking it may be the next Wednesday.

We did get our doors on Wednesday. They're nothing special so I don't have any pictures for you. We have a temporary door for the front so when they install our actual door, I'll post a pic.

Hubs is installing all the AV cables today. We saved quite a bit of money doing ourselves.

I'm hoping the progress picks back up this week. I'm tired of sharing pictures of the outside and am ready to see some inside progress. I'm sure you are too! :)


November 15, 2013

It's just a phase

I'm having trouble blogging lately. Heck, I'm having trouble doing much of anything lately. Mostly because I don't have the time. Keeping up with two toddlers is pretty much taking every ounce of energy that I have….which is not much. When I do have some down time or alone time, I'm either taking a nap or trying to pay bills or do the dishes.

Being in this phase of my life…this phase that is so unnatural to me….the displacement. It's so hard for me. I'm trying to find the joy in things but it's tough. The highlight of my days are when we go check on the progress of the house but then we have to come back to this little apartment and there's no escaping anything. I miss my space. My quiet space.

Since the tornado, many have told me how much they admire my strength through all of this. The truth is, I'm not that strong. My strength is not my own. What strength I do have comes from my faith….from God. Without Him I'm just a hot mess.

I know there's a reason for all of this. There is a bigger plan than I can't see right now. I know this because I've been here before. I've lost my home. I've been displaced. It's not easy. In fact, I was already dreading the days to come as we were hunkered down in the storm shelter as that monster of a tornado was ripping apart my house…family members' houses…our community.

But….yes, there's a but. The displacement is only temporary. I know this but it doesn't make it any easier. I will trudge through these days with a thankful heart. I'll try to focus on the joyful moments rather than the not so joyful. I will quit worrying about what gets done and what doesn't and just try to take full advantage of the free time I do have.



November 13, 2013

Wednesday Randoms

I haven't done a Wednesday Random post in a while so I thought I'd sit down and do one today.

  • I'm pretty excited at the progress on our house. I keep asking or builder if he thinks they'll be done before the date in our contract but he keeps trying avoiding the question. I know it's because he doesn't want to make any promises but I think if things keep going this well, we could be back home sooner than we expected.

  • It's gotten pretty cold here this week and I don't have any heavy coats here in the apartment. I really need to go rummage through storage to see if I have any of my heavy coats.

  • The terrible two's have gotten a little more…..well, terrible in the past few weeks. Like whoa! It's the reason why I haven't been blogging much lately.

  • We didn't plan on making any big purchases for the house until we got closer to our move in date but when we saw that the fridge that I wanted was 25% off, we couldn't resist so I got a new fridge last night! If you follow me on Pinterest, you might have seen it on my Rebuild board. It's a Whirlpool 29 cu. ft. French door fridge.
Whirlpool® 29 cu. ft. French Door Refrigerator with Flexible Capacity That Stores More


  • I have started a project list for things I want to get done. Sadly, it consists of small everyday things that I used to be able to get done before the toddlers forced me to become the Referee and Safety Patrol. It's just that my days have become so busy that I need to write everything down or I forget about it. I even have to be reminded to pay the bills, do laundry or clean the kitchen. That's how bad it is.

  • I posted a video on Instagram of the garbage disposal in our apartment. It vibrates so much it shakes the entire kitchen and it is so ridiculously loud. It pretty much sums up apartment living for us.

  • I hadn't planned on decorating for Christmas this year because I didn't want to buy anything until we were in our house but seeing the excitement on the girls' faces when we go to stores that have their Christmas stuff out is making me think we might decorate a little.

November 10, 2013

Rebuild Update: Week 12–Dormers, Windows & Shingles

New Mills Rebuild Logo

This week has been all about the roof. I'm pretty sure we have one of the most complicated roofs ever. Okay, that may be an exaggeration but it has been a pretty tedious job for the framers.

They finally got the decking on and the dormers framed out.

Week 12 Decking

We had a rain delay on Tuesday but they were back at it on Wednesday putting up more trim, starting the siding on the dormers, and getting the rest of the decking in place.

The dormers are faux (also known as blind) dormers but hubby has decided he wants to put lights in there. So guess what. Yep, I had to pick out more lighting fixtures. Lighting budget? What lighting budget? I'm so tired of picking out light fixtures…there better not be something else come up that requires a light fixture or I'm going to scream!

Speaking of picking out stuff. One would think it would be fun when you're building a house but let me tell you, it's not. Okay, maybe it was for like the first 2 weeks but after that? Not so much. It makes your head spin. It gives you a headache. It is the source of heated discussions. It becomes something that you dread. Will I be happy once everything is done and in the house, absolutely. Do I want to do this again? No. Not Ever.

Our windows and fireplace were delivered on Thursday. I was totally not expecting the fireplace so soon! And the windows? Love them…however….yep, there's a however, as we were leaving the house Thursday evening, the guys were tacking them up. As I walked into the family room I noticed a big thick line through the window. The windows, every one of them, were single hung (can be opened) and not fixed (solid glass). In one of our pre-construction meetings, we discussed having some fixed windows just because they looked nicer. I discussed it with hubby and we decided we didn't want to live with the single hung windows so after a phone call the next morning, new windows were ordered and hopefully my fixed windows will be delivered this week.

I attempted a panoramic picture of the family room, kitchen and formal living/dining room. Keeping the arrow on that line is so dang hard! These 3 rooms will be the hub of the house. When we go out to check on the progress I always stand at the end of the hallway that leads to the bedrooms and I envision all the family gatherings, holidays and parties that will take place in this house. I cannot wait to watch the girls run & play through the house, to bake cookies with them in the kitchen, to lounge as a family on the couch in the family room while watching movies….I can't wait to create memories in this house.

Sorry for the grainy pic. Lighting isn't that great in the house just yet. ;)

Week 12-Family Kitchen Dining

On Friday the roofers were out putting the shingles on the roof! They came out to finish it on Saturday but ran out right as they got to the very peak of the roof. The framers ran out of the siding for the dormers too. Oops.

We drove by the house on the way to church this morning and I looked at hubby and said, "Whoa! Who's house is that?!" I can't believe it's our house. It looks soooo much different than our house did before.

Week 12 Roof

For comparison, here's an old pic of our house before the tornado.

You can kind of see the old house but doesn't the new one look so much better? :)



November 7, 2013

House Dreaming: Kitchen

Since we have pretty much selected all of our finishes, I thought I'd share a little design board of our kitchen. So this is more reality than dreaming. :)

Kitchen Design Board

I just recently changed the style of our kitchen cabinets from our original choice. I can't wait to see it all together!

1. Island pendants – Our island is approximately 8 feet long so there will be 2 over the island and also one in my walk-in pantry.

2. Cabinetry – (pictures shown are just samples of my choices and not the exact cabinetry) As I stated above, we switched from a raised panel to a flat/recessed panel cabinetry. The outer cabinets will be white and the island will be a dark espresso. My hood will be like the picture above. I still have to decide what specific cabinets I want like for cookie sheets, spices, drawers, etc.….something I'm currently working on getting to the builder.
*We have already purchased 4 of the barstool shown. I thought the pop of color would be nice in my very neutral kitchen. :)

3. Surfaces – The top granite sample is called Alaskan White and will be on the island. The countertop on the perimeter will be Black Pearl (bottom sample). The marble subway tile will be our backsplash.

4. Fixtures & Hardware – We chose to go with brushed nickel. I. Cannot. Wait. To use. That. Potfiller!

5. Flooring – I had a really hard time finding tile that I liked. I originally wanted to go dark but ultimately decided to find something lighter. When I found this tile with the grey and brown in it I fell in love. It will actually be used throughout the house wherever we use tile.

**The background color of these design boards is the color we have chosen as our wall color.


After looking at and choosing our appliances, I was ecstatic when I found out all my choices were in budget! All are Whirlpool.

I seriously cannot wait to get in my kitchen and start cooking and baking…especially after having to use the tiny apartment kitchen I have now.

As I stated above, I still have to figure out the functionality of my cabinetry throughout the house so if you have any suggestions, PLEASE send them my way! :)


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November 5, 2013

Rebuild Update: Week 11-Trim, Stairs & More Rafters

Oops, I'm long overdue on this update. Can't wait for my weekly update? Follow me on Instagram! I use the hashtag #millsrebuild on our rebuild update posts.

New Mills Rebuild Logo

I'm not sure what got me so behind this week. We just seem to be going a lot so sitting down at my computer has been very rare lately.

The progress seems like it has slowed down a bit but our roof is huge so getting the rafters up took quite a while…most of last week actually.

Week 11-Rafters Back

Once they added the stairs, we were able to go up in the loft above the garage where the media room and my craft room will be. I just about passed out when I saw the attic space! We could add another bedroom or two! (Not that it will be happening, or needed in the foreseeable future.) We'll just have lots and lots of storage space to accumulate and bunch more junk. Just kidding. I want to keep things simple going forward. Don't mark my words on that though. I've learned to never say "never". :)

Week 11-Attic

Once they got all the rafters up, they started on the trim and soffit. Our house now has eyebrows! :)

Week 11-Eyebrow Trim

Rumor has it the roof will have shingles by the end of the week. It's raining today so we'll see……

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