Sunday, October 7, 2012

We love Craigslist!

When we arrived home we decided to do some home improvement projects before I started back to work.  We finally replaced our kitchen appliances with stainless steel appliances.  We had to replace our dishwasher, which is what began the "switch out" on the rest.  We sold our fridge and stove on Craiglist and as they were being rolled out our neighbor commented that she thought the appliances were the original ones put in when our house was built (1986)!!  Looking at the yellow color, I think she may have been correct!  The new appliances look GREAT and work even better! 

We then tackled the kids' room.  Neither one of them liked their beds and so we had to figure out a way to get them sleeping in their room again.  They had been sleeping on the couch and the air mattress in the living room.  After looking at options, we decided on a bunkbed that had stairs that went to the top bunk.  Because it had stairs, Kate would be able to climb to the top without a problem. A few bonus things too- the stairs had drawers built in (more storage) and climbing the stairs required big leg stretches (PT on a nightly basis)!  We ordered the bed and then decided to look for someone to buy the old beds- Craigslist again!  Both were sold quickly along with the old dressers.  The bed arrived in five huge boxes so I went to Craigslist and found someone to assemble the bed for us.  John was his name and it took him five hours!!!  He did an excellent job and it was well worth what we paid him!  It would have easily taken us all day and probably a marriage counselor to be able survive the assembly.  Poor guy had to do it when our air conditioning had gone out too! We truly felt bad as we sat out in the living room relaxing while he worked so hard in the bedroom!  He charged us $100 for the assembly.  He was truly an honest and hardworking guy! 

I found two tall white dressers on Craigslist for the kids and their room was complete!  It was great to clean-out and organize everything.  The kids now have three choices of where to sleep- top bunk, lower bunk, or trundle bed underneath.  So far they have BOTH been sleeping on the top bunk.  I guess the bottom bunk is good to store all the stuffed animals.  And now we have plenty of beds for anyone who comes to visit!

After the bedroom we tackled the living room and sold our off white couch and plaid chair (on Craigslist again).  We had been given the off white couch years ago and it was beautiful.  Unfortunately with a dog and kids and it never really looked clean.  We had steam cleaned it, spot cleaned it, etc. and we never won the battle.  This time we picked a dark chocolate couch that was cheap (yay) and comfortable!  Besides I got to rent the big truck from Lowes to pick up the couch and drive it home! We then found a seat and a half chair which fit perfectly with the rest of our furniture.  We LOVE the new furniture and to make everything come together better, we painted the bottom half of our walls a beautiful brown.  It truly does look and feel so much better!

We also had to replace our air conditioner during this two week time and hired a handyman to do a few things around the house.  We have the best air conditioner guy around (Gary) and a super handman (Paul).  Gary is so honest and hardworking and Paul only charges $35 an hour and is so efficient and knowledgeable about so many things.  I had another guy come to give me an estimate to fix the toilet so we didn't have to hold the handle down when we flushed it.  The other guy looked at it and said it would be about $85.00.  Paul looked at it, pulled a piece of rubber off the flapper in under two minutes and it was fixed!  Paul took down and replaced three ceiling fans, fixed the toilet, and fixed our door for a total of $70.00! 

And finally during this time we found the perfect dog for our family.  We adopted Toby on August 3rd and he is absolutely adorable, loving, and sweet!  He is 18 months old so still does a few puppy things but is learning so fast!  He came with the name Toby and it does seem to fit him.  He loves the kids and Brennan has been great about taking him for his walks. 

So our first two weeks home were busy!  I love organizing and planning, so it was super fun for me.  The kids didn't enjoy it as much though so we spent the last few days swimming and playing.

So I guess that's why we bought a
trundle- for all the fish!

Sweet Toby! 
They both love the dog beds!

Living in a 1100 square foot two bedroom house with two kids is a challenge at times.  Having comfortable furniture and updating things a little makes the place wonderful!  It was money and time well spent!  We felt so lucky that we could afford to do the things we did- including replacing the air conditioning!  We are blessed!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

More Vacation Pictures

Yukon Jack and Brennan
Kids' Fishing Guides Day
 I can't believe I didn't update my post until now!  I truly thought I had posted the rest of our vacation!

After Eagle River, we made a stop in Laona to visit with grandma for the day.  Then we headed to Wisconsin Dells to meet up with Christine and Britt (and kids) for our annual water park visit!  We had a GREAT loft that we shared and enjoyed three days swimming, splashing, laughing, and playing.  The weather was a little cold, but we had plenty of activities to keep us busy!

I ran into Neal-
a great friend from college

More boating fun!

Uncle Dan and Brennan

Too Cute!

Three generations.  With great grandma in Laona, WI

One of great grandma's dolls

Wisconsin Dells Fun with Christine and
Britt and kids

Wendy joined us and helped
so much! She even watched
the kids while we had a
girls' night out.

See Kate- that's how you go down
the slide!

Yay Kate!  You did it!

Brock and Brennan

The kids loved the hot tub
on the only cold day of the summer-
and we had to be at a
water park!  LOL!

The inflatable park was
so much fun!

Shopping with Brielle and Kate
 was so much fun!  Our fashion

Dinner at the Mexican Restaurant down by the wave pool.

The gang- Britt, Wendy, DeAnna, Christine
Brielle, Brennan, Kate, and Brock

Ranheim Family Reunion talent show.
Kate's talent was gymnastics.
 After Wisconsin Dells, we headed to Minnesota.  The kids were so excited to see Daddy after three weeks!  While in Minnesota we went to the Ranheim Family Reunion.  It was great to see so many relatives and the kids had a blast running around together.  They even put on a talent show! 

While in Minnesota, we enjoyed visiting family, shopping a little, swimming, and going out to eat.  Grandpa kept up some of grandma's traditions including giving the kids change for their piggy banks.  It was extra special because we found a piggy bank in the "gift closet" that grandma kept that we are pretty sure was meant for Kate!  Kate LOVED her new bank!  It was so cute watching grandpa and Kate together.  Grandpa was a wonderful audience to many dance recitals and listened to many songs!  It was sad being in Minnesota without Jan, but she was with us in spirit as we shared many stories.  We love and miss you Jan! 

Brennan's talent was the hula hoop.
I didn't even know he knew how to do that!

Brennan and Erik

Ingrid and Kate

Kate loved her new bikini!  It's
Hello Kitty!

A trip to Minnesota has to
include a little time at Mall
of America!

Danny was at the
same restaurant as us!

When we left Minnesota we headed towards LaCrosse for the night to visit with Laurie and Mike Weber.  They were old friends from our Madison days.  We had so much fun catching up and laughing about some of our adventures! 

Grandpa and Kate

Kate loved her new bank!
It even had to go to the
restaurant with us!

Dave and Mike haven't aged a bit!

Fun with friends in LaCrosse!
Laurie and Mike Weber

Kate loved the girls!

Sara (Mike and Laurie's daughter) caught
a ride to Madison with us.  Brennan loved
snuggling during the ride.  LOL

Fishing with the Echo Tails guys!  Brennan gets to be the
youngest Pro Staff member of this company (lures).

At the Madison Union
 Brennan got to enjoy some more fishing time in Madison and Kate was excited to spend some more time with Brielle.  Of course both kids were super excited about seeing Aunt Wendy some more.  Unfortunately Uncle Norman had to work a lot while we were there.

Of course we had a GREAT time!  Before we knew it, we got in the car on July 30th and headed home.  It was so nice to have Dave helping with the driving though!  And it was nice to be home after being gone so many weeks!

It truly was a wonderful trip! We feel so fortunate to have spent so much time with family and friends!

Happy birthday Britt!

And we celebrated my birthday too!

Dave, Dee, John, Christine, Erik, Britt (and Brielle)
Madison, Wisconsin

The kids had a sleepover with
Wendy while the adults went to Waunakee Fest.

Waunakee Fest

Brielle and Kate enjoyed the day with
Wendy and New Dan at the zoo and
at another festival

New Dan with the girls

Silly Daddy!

Fun at the beach has to
include fishing!

Poor fish!

The petting zoo

The goats are always a favorite!

And the kittens are a favorite too!

But Larry the Llama will always be
number one!!!