Friday, December 21, 2012

The Great Kitchen Remodel

Merry Christmas to me! It all started a few months ago when I said to Mr. Frisby, “how about if we don’t get anything for each other for Christmas and we just get a new dishwasher?” It was a great plan, but due to other circumstances and plans that came up, we decided to go all in and just redo the whole kitchen. We headed to IKEA about two weeks before Thanksgiving and over 6,000 dollars later, we had new cabinets and a countertop on order. It was supposed to take two to two and a half weeks for the cabinets to be delivered. We got a phone call the Saturday before Thanksgiving (a week after initially ordering the goods) saying our cabinets were ready to be delivered. Mr. Frisby had Thanksgiving week off work, so he happily told them to deliver on Monday and planned to have an exciting and busy week installing cabinets. The old kitchen, which we’ve hated since we moved in, was on its way out. Let’s take a walk down memory lane:

You might remember that I gave the cabinets a facelift and painted them orange and white when we moved in. It was a huge improvement over the nasty brown varnish they had before. And I figured it would be fun for a little while. A LITTLE while. That little while was over. The countertop was a lovely faux wood laminate. All of this, we believe, was original from when the house was built in 1977. The appliances weren't original, but they were old. And black. Not to mention Mr. Frisby and I have hated the dishwasher with a passion since we moved in. We were also done doing dishes with a faucet that barely reached the back side of the sink and a sprayer that was 88% clogged and, therefore, useless. We were not sad to see it all go.

Monday morning, I left with Stella and Scout to go to my parents’ house. We figured it would be best to have them out of the demolition and construction zone. Mr. Frisby got to work tearing out the old cabinets. All went well until he tore out the cabinets by the dishwasher and behind the sink and saw what lied behind. Setback #1. Previous to our owning the house, there was, apparently, a ginormous leak into the wall that had been “fixed”. Their idea of a fix was, shall we say, subpar. Consequently, Mr. Frisby had to rip out the area of drywall that had been fixed and do it right. In addition, moldy insulation had to be replaced. Fortunately, a friend had come to help, but the drywall repair still put us behind.

In the midst of the demolition, IKEA arrived with the cabinet delivery. Mr. Frisby had them unload everything into the garage. As IKEA was finishing up, another truck arrived with stones that we had ordered to redo our retaining wall. They weren’t supposed to come until Tuesday, but there they were. Mr. Frisby had them deposit the stones in the driveway. The only place left for the old cabinets to go was the rest of the driveway and the front lawn. Yep, we were totally the white trash house in the neighborhood with old furniture/cabinets in the front yard. We apologized to our neighbors for bringing the property values down. Shamefully, we didn’t get any pictures of this.

IKEA delivery disassembled:

IKEA delivery assembled:

When I arrived home Monday evening, Mr. Frisby and his friend had gotten everything ripped out, part of the drywall patched up properly, and were just getting ready to hang the bracket to which the upper cabinets would be attached. After getting that hung, Mr. Frisby’s friend had to go. I got Stella to bed and Mr. Frisby and I began assembling cabinets. We got the upper cabinets assembled and hung them that night, so it was nice to see some progress.

The rest of the project became a bit of a blur. We had all of the cabinets and cover panels in place by the following Monday when they came to make the template for the countertop. After making the template, it took them two and a half weeks to deliver and install the countertop. And since everything was in at that point, we could do nothing but sit around and wait. We had some other setbacks during the project, like having to drop the microwave and its exhaust vent down several inches because they don’t make tiny cupboards like our old one anymore. And having to deal with a cover panel that had been damaged during delivery and trying to get it replaced.

Serious props to Mr. Frisby on this project. There were many VERY late nights and lots of hard work. Mr. Frisby has no experience putting in kitchen cabinets, but I never doubted his abilities. The man knows how to follow instructions and he can do internet research like crazy to find those instructions.

I'd say all of the hard work paid off because we're both extremely happy with how it turned out:

The countertop is caesarstone. From what we've read, it's a manmade quartz. It's not as expensive as granite, but we like how it looks more. Win win. Win.

We decided to do a tile backsplash. We had tons of subway tile leftover from our bathroom remodel that we decided to put to good use. The backsplash was a bit of a fiasco and a lot more work than it should have been simply because we were rusty on our grouting skills and didn't brush up well enough on what we were supposed to do. But that was our fault and we got it all cleaned up and, in the end, we love how it turned out.

We also love our new appliances. We love that they're shiny and beautiful and that they work well. The dishwasher no longer screeches like a dying witch when you open the door and it's really nice to not have rusted racks and calcium build up everywhere in it. We also love our new faucet. It has a sprayer built in to the faucet that is not clogged at all and works like a charm. And, it reaches to the middle of the sink. Dishes, while still a chore, are not the chore they used to be.

And, finally, the window sill. When Mr. Frisby ripped out the old countertop, he discovered that the window was actually sitting on top of it. The new cabinets were just slightly shorter than the old ones, so putting the new countertop under the window wouldn't really work anymore. Yet another setback. So, Mr. Frisby had to build out a window sill and we decided to tile it. I think it turned out well.

And that is our kitchen remodel. A huge thanks to everyone who helped us out during the process. Three and a half weeks is a long time to be without a kitchen, but the end result made it well worth it. Now, after doing a bathroom and a kitchen remodel all in the same year, I think we'll hang up our home improvement shoes for awhile.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fourteen Months

Stella turned 14 months last week. I realized that I don't have a ton of pictures of her for this post, mostly because this month involved lots of Halloween pics and the pics Jared took with his work camera. And I already posted those pics in other posts. But, the pics I do have are cute, so let's get down to business.

It's been a busy month for Stella. Most exciting is that she's finally walking! This is a milestone I've been very anxious for for a long time. Typically people would ask if she was walking yet and, when I said, "no", they would tell me that that was good because as soon as they start walking, that's when the trouble really starts and they keep you really going. Well, that's all fine and good, but she already was getting into lots of trouble, so I figured a little more couldn't hurt, and I was really getting sick of everything that comes with crawling. Dirty hands. Dirty and worn out spots on the knees of her pants, the tops of her shoes being dirty, the inability to let her roam free outside, etc, etc. So, sure, she gets into a little more trouble now, but we're liking this walking business. And she's super cute doing it, too. When she first started, she would put her arms straight up in the air to help her balance. Now that she's getting the hang of it, she only puts them half way up and holds her hands in a sort of claw-like position, a la "Thriller". It's awesome. She would've put up a good fight in the Thriller dance contest we had at my 80's themed 30th birthday party.

So the little girl is walking. What else? She has all four molars now, so she's able to eat quite a bit. Mealtimes continue to be one of the more frustrating parts of the day for me, though. Mr. Frisby had to go out of town for a week at the beginning of the month. Stella turned into a nightmare eater at dinnertime while he was gone. I attribute it to the fact that he wasn't there, so we weren't all eating dinner together like we usually do. When he came back home, she went back to her good eating habits. But, she has now picked up the habit of hitting her spoon if we try to give her a bite and she doesn't want it. This typically sends the food flying all over the floor or us. Scout is overjoyed with this new development. She's also learned to throw her cup of milk on the floor when she's done with it. Also fun. She continues to be a good eater, though, and usually eats quite a bit and isn't really as messy as she could be. I just don't like any messes so it bothers me. But, I'm learning to deal with it, because my sister pointed out that it just gets worse the older they get.

(Please excuse the mess in these pics. This is Stella's new eating location due to our kitchen remodel)

Stella is down to one nap a day now. Which is good and bad for me. Good because her schedule has been very regular and predictable, bad because I liked her taking those long morning naps.

She's also looking to be quite a climber. She has successfully climbed up onto the rocking chair (adult sized) in her room, though she's only done it once. And she tries to climb everything she can. She's figured out how to scale all of the outgrown baby equipment stored in her closet. She's working on stairs, though that will take more time, and she's no longer afraid of going down the one small step we have in our house. When she figures out how to climb out of her crib, things could get ugly.

She had her first trip to the polls this month. I had to take her with me when I went to vote. I made sure to dress her in something patriotic. She was very good and whispered in my ear what I should do with each item on the ballot. They even gave her a sticker of her own when we left.

She enjoyed her first Thanksgiving feast this year. She ate lots and seemed to like it all. I think the only thing she didn't eat was Turkey. She also enjoyed our trek to cut down our Christmas tree. She loved looking at the trees. She even reached out and touched them a couple of times, but mostly she just liked looking. And I think she really liked being outside. I'll be excited next year when she can actually walk around.

She is currently a girl of very few words. She's said Scout (pronounced "cow") twice, she can be heard to say Mama every so often, she yelled Dada when she saw Mr. Frisby at the airport when we picked him up from his trip, and she will, on a rare occasion, chant dog (pronounced "gog"). And that's about it. Mostly she just points and screeches when she wants something. She understands quite a bit, though, and she's picking up more and more each day.

She loves people and has a smile for pretty much everyone she sees. She's still hesitant to go to strangers, but she usually will, if only for a few seconds. She enjoys exploring and discovering things and is very observant. She notices when things are different (like when she woke up from her nap and noticed all the Christmas decorations I had put up while she was sleeping) and she likes to check out any and all new things. She is also learning to put books back on the shelf instead of just pulling them off, put her clothes back in her drawer instead of just pulling them out (they may not end up in the same drawers they came from, but it's progress), and stack up her blocks instead of just knocking the stacks over. It's fun to see her learning and developing these new skills. She's also becoming fascinated with buckles. The buckles on her car seat, the buckle on her high chair, the buckle on her stroller - she loves them all. She doesn't have the coordination to actually work them, but she knows what needs to happen with them. As soon as I put her in her car seat, she grabs one side of the buckle and holds it for me so I can slide the other side in and click them together.

I guess that's about it. We're really enjoying this stage and little Miss Stella keeps us thoroughly entertained. She's developed this evil laugh that she does when she gets really excited about something. Makes us laugh every time. We love our little girl!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Busy Times

Things have been busy around the Frisby house. Stella turned 14 months. We celebrated Thanksgiving. We ripped out our kitchen and have been in the process of installing a new one. I would love to sit down for even a small amount of time to blog about all of these happenings, but the third one on the list has left us with no free time. Plus, since we haven't gone to bed before 1 am any night this week (with the exception of last night - it was more like midnight) due to trying to get a kitchen installed as quickly as possible, I am exhausted and prefer sleeping over blogging. But, have no fear dear readers. Updates are coming!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Canon 5D Mark III

The Canon 5D Mark III is a camera. A fancy camera. A VERY fancy camera. Mr. Frisby's team at work got one to use in their many functions and Mr. Frisby was instructed to bring the camera home, use it, play around with it, and otherwise familiarize himself with this massive photographing beast and the three lenses they have for it. And thus he did...

This last photo was taken at the mini-farm of some people we know. Stella had her first horse ride. The horse didn't actually go anywhere while Stella was on him, but he moved a little, so I considered it a ride. I also wasn't sure how Stella would feel about being on the horse, but she seemed to like it. And she loved seeing all the animals they had.

Also, the picture quality has been reduced so as not to overload blogger.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


This year was the first Halloween for which Stella was aware of the goings on around her. She doesn't really understand the whole thing, but she could at least see more than a foot in front of her. So, we were excited to start introducing her to all the fun Halloween traditions. On Monday night, we carved Jack 'o' Lanterns. We put Stella in her high chair so she could watch what we were doing. She quickly got bored and soon after that, tired, so we ended up taking a break from pumpkins to put her to bed. We finished them after she was asleep, so we just took pictures with Scout, who I'm sure thought we were crazy.

During the day on Halloween, I took pictures of both of them with the pumpkins. Again, I'm sure Scout just thought I was crazy.

After dinner on Halloween, we got Stella all dressed up in her costume to go out for a little bit of Trick or Treating. She was a 50's girl.

The sunglasses were a last minute addition to the costume. I grabbed them for pictures thinking we'd be lucky if she left them on for a few seconds so we could snap some good photos. Little did I know that she would embrace the sunglasses as an essential part of her costume and keep them on all night. Girl knows how to pull off a look.

We dressed Scout up, too. She was a hot dog. And she hated it. But, Stella loved it and thought it was hilarious.

When we were all ready, we headed out the door. We just wanted to go to a couple neighbors' houses since Stella really won't eat the candy. But, we did give her a candy bag to carry with her and she held onto it all night long.

Out trick or treating. She still has the sunglasses on and still has her candy bag.

When we got back home, Stella made sure to check out the haul (which ended up being about five pieces of candy). Of course, with the sunglasses still on.

She also enjoyed seeing the trick or treaters that came to our door. After checking out her candy, we changed her into her Halloween pjs and decided to snap a couple pictures of all of our pumpkins.

Overall, it was a successful Halloween. Stella seemed to enjoy the festivities and, after this year's run through - a dress rehearsal, if you will - I think she's adequately prepared for some serious trick or treating and Halloween celebrating next year. We hope you had a wonderful Halloween, too!