Saturday, October 22, 2016

Horseback riding

Today a dream became a reality: we went horseback riding as a family.  We had such a great time!

We made the hour and a half trek to Schooner Valley Stables and it was well worth the drive.  For one thing, it's a beautiful time of year for scenic drives.

But I was really looking forward to the event itself.  The girls have been really interested in horseback riding for months {maybe even a year} and so I started doing my research.  I found this great place that offers guided trail rides that are simple enough for even young beginners.  The girls could hardly wait.

Jackson got to be my riding buddy, whether he liked it or not :)  When the horse was moving, Jackson did great.  He threw a small fit anytime we stopped, but overall, he did awesome.


The girls got to ride solo and I was so impressed with them!  They're both awfully comfortable in the saddle.  Summer rode right behind the trail guide and had no trouble at all keeping up.

I couldn't get over how beautiful the weather was.  We really lucked out because you never know what you're going to get in late October.


Not a bad way to spend a gorgeous October day.  We will definitely go back sometime!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Stairs renovation part II

Where were we?

Oh, yes, glossy stairs.  After adding 2 coats of polyurethane over top of the stain {and letting it all dry} I prepped the stairs for the white paint that would go on the risers.  I taped around the edges and began with natural wood primer.  I'm really glad I did this because it gave the stairs such a smooth finish.


White paint color: Sherwin Williams Creamy

We opted to use eggshell finish for the white paint because the poly would add quite a bit of shine.

Isn't it just the best when you finish a painting project and you get to take the tape off?  Here is the final result:
I'm really, really happy with the finished product.  I wouldn't say that it was a "fun" project because there were many tedious moments but each phase was new and exciting!  

I learned a lot.  If I could do this project over again here is what I would do differently:
  • Use a separate sander for the corners and edges to ensure a smooth finish.  This would have saved us from having to strip paint by hand.
  • Wait to caulk.  Although it looks nice to get rid of the gaps between the risers and treads, enjoy that beauty when the project is all done.  Stain doesn't go over caulk {or paint} so if there are any smears, they'll show.
  • Take the time to fill and properly sand ALL scuffs and holes in the wood.  Because we I got excited to move on to the next phase, I didn't do this as thoroughly as I should have so my stairs have a "weathered" look.  This isn't necessarily bad, it's just a matter of preference.
  • Wait until each coat of stain, poly, or paint is completely dry before moving on to the next stage.  My tape didn't come off as cleanly as it could have if I would have just waited a little longer.
Aside from little details like this, the stairs look awesome!  Since I didn't know then what I know now, the last stage of my project is to tidy up my mistakes :)  But overall it was a great project!


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Stairs renovation

You know what I love about Josh?

His charm?  Yes.

His sense of humor?  Yes.

His striking good looks?  Of course.  ;)

But I love that he gets me.  I recently entered a new phase of life.  With the girls in school and my youngest being three, I've suddenly got time on my hands.  All kinds of time.  And lately I'm happiest when I can spend that time creating.

So when Josh returned from a business trip with a prepaid gift card and he offered to put it towards a project, I was thrilled.  Because I knew exactly what "project" he was talking about.

These stairs had become the bane of my existence.  The carpet was filthy no matter how deeply we cleaned it, probably because it was original to the house.  We're talking 18+ years here.  Yuck.

Imagine my delight when I peeled up a small section of carpet and found beautiful hardwood underneath.  And just like that a project was born.  Josh and I spent the rest of that evening removing the carpet, padding, staples, tack strips, and nails. 

The result at the end of Day 1:

The next day was far more tedious, believe it or not.  We Josh borrowed our neighbor's electric sander and smoothed each and every step.  The noise, dust, and effort was worth it though.

Next came the stain.  I thought that this part would be smooth sailing but I was wrong.

Let's take a closer look at that.  When the house was built the overspray from the trim covered the edges of each step.  I found out the hard way that stain doesn't cover paint.  Thankfully I only stained one step but I knew that a lot of elbow grease was going to be needed to fix that.  Darn it.

Getting that paint off was no joke.  The sander definitely wasn't going to get close enough.  After spending 30 minutes scraping the edge of one step with a screwdriver and still not getting it scraped clean, I started to weigh my option.  I could skip the stain altogether and just paint the steps.  Problem solved.  But... I really love the look of stained wood!  So I made a quick trip to Lowe's and came back with paint stripper.  That stuff worked miracles.  I still had my fair share of scraping {about 10 minutes per step} but the paint came off completely.

I sanded one more time and then began the next stage of the project: caulking. There was a small gap between the tread and riser of each step and caulk sealed it nicely.  Depending on who you ask, caulking can be done before or after staining/painting.  I chose to do it before.  Worst case scenario, I caulk one more time after the project is all done.



I was finally ready to tape and stain.  We chose to stain every other step so that we could still go up and down our stairs.  This is probably the most time consuming part just because there is dry time involved.  And we have to make sure our kids don't accidentally touch a wet step.  Namely, Jackson.

I added 2 coats of polyurethane to seal the stain and I'm LOVING the results so far: smooth, glossy stained stair treads. 


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

September little things

September was a busy month for sure.  We started off with a bang by getting a puppy, and what an adventure that has been!



It's a good thing he's cute because, man, he can sure destroy things!  


Thank goodness for puppy Grandma's who sure know how to keep a dog happy.  {I about died when Roscoe received a package in the mail.  So cute!}  


Jackson went ahead and turned three, which was a milestone for a few reasons.  He finally got the hang of potty training {hooray!!!} and also began sleeping in a "big boy bed."

It was an adventure getting the mattress home but we're happy with Jackson's new set up :)

I took a trip to Idaho to visit some of my favorite people. 

 Jackson and I spent lots and lots of time outdoors soaking up this gorgeous fall weather.

Feeding the ducks.

I often joke that having a three-year-old boy and a three-month-old puppy at the same time is like having twins.  When one is not making a mess, the other is...

 Good thing we've got Summer to keep us all laughing!

The girls are loving school, especially since they get to use iPads.  Everyone in the district has an iPad this year {yes, even the kindergartners} and although I have mixed feelings about the whole thing {more on that later}, I do love seeing updates like this pop up on my phone.

I tried participating in a Joy School program with some of my church friends but Jackson just wasn't ready.  He was the youngest of the bunch and was having kind of a hard time.  We're lucky if he can identify the letter A, let alone write one, haha!

We enrolled Kylie in gymnastics and she is loving it.  She was nervous to participate in a sport because art is more her thing, but Josh and I both thought it would be beneficial for her.  She jumped right in and hasn't looked back.

Although Kylie and Summer are in the same level, I decided to enroll them in different days so they wouldn't compare themselves to one another.  Sometimes, though, one will tag along with me to watch the others' class.  There is a rhythmic gymnastics class that takes place during the same time as Kylie's that is pretty fun to watch.

This girl is growing up right before my eyes.  It's exciting and sad all at the same time.

Mornings around here can be pretty chaotic.  Getting girls ready for school {need I say more?}, making breakfast, packing lunches, cleaning up messes all while maneuvering around a dog is tricky!  But one morning in particular was extra...special.

I'll give you one guess who the culprit was.

Everyone handles stress differently.  That day, I chose to decorate and it cheered me right up.  *sigh*  I love fall.