Monday, April 14, 2014

New House (again!)

After looking at over 20 houses Ed and I were able to snag a great house in a wonderful area...and we are thrilled! This is our 4th home purchase, so we felt confident going in to this home-buying process, but this was honestly our craziest home purchase. It was nuts. In the end it was all worth it and we closed a couple of weeks ago. 
You know Ed and I can't just move into a house without doing some sort of DIY and of course we picked my least favorite- painting- and lots of it. Our kitchen cabinets were a white washed oak, which was in style in 1995 but not my favorite now. Here is the kitchen on the day we received the keys:
We decided to paint the cabinets white and wanted to do it before we moved in. Cabinets full of dishes + kids running around would have made the project 100 times harder.  So, we jumped right in on the first day we had keys to the house. Just a few short hours after that first picture was taken our kitchen looked like this:
Cleaned, prepped and ready for paint. It took 2 coats of primer and 3 coats of finish paint to get the coverage we wanted. We took the time to lightly sand between each coat and sprayed the doors and drawers with our new paint sprayer in order to get the smoothest finish. 
It really lightens the kitchen up! We used Advanced paint by Benjamin Moore. It is spendy (at $60 a gallon), but it dries to an enamel finish and is extremely durable. It is also self-leveling, which helps with the smooth finish. 
The mantle around the fireplace was also white washed oak, so we quickly taped that off and sprayed it white too. The tile surround needs to go as well, but that's a project for another day.
The walls to the living room were initially a golden brown. I wanted to paint the living room the same color as our Logan house- Revere Pewter (tinted at 50%) by Benjamin Moore but when we were ready to paint the local Benjamin Moore stores were all closed. I headed to an Ace Hardware to get the paint instead, since they carry Benjamin Moore and should be able to mix up the colors...right? After two trips to Ace Hardware and ending up with the wrong color on my walls I know from now on I am going to stick with my favorite local paint store. Here is the living room before and after:

I wanted something lighter on the walls but after the paint debacle it will stay for the near future. At least the brown is gone, right? 
We have done a few other little things, like replace the exterior door hardware (we always feel a little safer after changing out all the locks in a new house), replacing light bulbs with LED lights, wiring our TV and Ed's office for internet, installing blackout curtains in the kids' rooms, and installing a water softener (we learned in our previous houses that installing a water softener before replacing bathroom fixtures/sinks/appliances/anything that comes in contact with water will help keep all of the things you just replaced in nicer shape). All of that work, along with unpacking, has completely worn us out! We are looking forward to enjoying Easter weekend in our new home and spending some time relaxing together as a family (even though half if our house is still packed into boxes and sitting in the garage)!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Greyson is FOUR!

My baby boy is four!  I always have such a strange set of emotions when my children turn a year older. I'm amazed that another year has sped by and love each new stage they are in, I feel a little sad knowing that they are growing so fast and they won't be that cute 1-2-3 year old anymore, and I am also amazed that they have been mine for such a short period of time but also feel like they have been a part of my heart forever. Parenthood brings a range of emotions I tell you!

Back to my big 4 year old. At 4, Greyson is as smart as a whip! He knows all of the letters and their sounds, he likes to try and sound out words, he loves to rhyme words, he is working on counting to 100 and can do some basic math, he loves to be read to and will beg for book after book. He's already passed off all of his preschool skills for this year...except working cooperatively (which is something we work on on a daily basis). He is quite independent and wants to do things HIS way. He likes to be in charge and run the show. Both Ed and I were quite independent as children, so we have a doubly independent little boy.  He is also a master negotiator and will supply me with a perfectly acceptable reason for why things should be done his way. Heaven help us. His preschool teacher has said he has done really well over the last couple of months at school, which is good to hear.

He is tall and skinny, only 32 pounds! His pediatrician wants him to be at least. 35 so we have been trying to up his calorie intake. This child survives in fruit and PB&J, so that has been a challenge.

Greyson took swimming, gymnastics and went to a class he called "sports camp" which was a preschool class that taught the kids different sports skills each week. He loved sports camp and gymnastics...swimming, not so much. He begs to go to gymnastics and sports camp and begs not to go to swimming.  We are going to stick with gymnastics for a while since he loves it and has made some great gains in coordination since starting (he is his mother's son in that area).

This little boy makes us laugh all day long with the funny things he says, like -
"I know how we get milk! We find a cow and pull it's tentacles!"
"Mommy, we need to play this game in a pattern...Greyson, Greyson, Greyson, then Mommy."
"I can't wait to grow up...cause then I can drink Diet Coke like Mommy."

Greyson is constantly creating new "inventions" and comes up with all sorts of crazy contraptions. He has really enjoyed Legos lately, but will only create on his own after we build each item following the step-by-step instructions. He is also obsessed with the games UNO and Sorry; we play each game multiple times during the day.
Greyson is still quite cautious and is careful - a personality trait that he has had from day one. He was playing at the park the other day with some new friends and had a great time running around, but when one of the boys climbed up to the highest part of the playground Greyson quickly said, "that looks kinda dangerous" and climbed back down to safety.
We love this little boy and look forward to the next year with our big four year old!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Break for Mom and Dad

After a LONG wait, Ed and I were finally able to go on vacation, just the two of us. It was a much needed break and a time for us to relax, spend some time together and just take a break from daily life. Of course, we missed our kiddos (thanks to my mom and Ed's mom for watching them) but we still loved our 5 days away! 
When planning our vacation we decided on Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for a few reasons: it's only a 3 hour plane ride from SLC, we had been there before and really enjoyed our stay, and it had plenty of sun and sand. We stayed at the Casa Dorada resort right in Cabo. We had previously stayed at an all-inclusive resort about 20 miles outside of Cabo and wanted to try something different. We loved the resort- great pools and beach area, 4 restaurants onsite, nice rooms (we were upgraded to a nicer room upon arrival, which was a fun and unexpected treat), great service and walking distance to downtown. We ate some amazing food, probably some of the best food we gave ever eaten. We enjoyed authentic Mexican at Los Tres Gallos, surf and turf at Edith's and delicious fish and shrimp tacos at Tacos Gardenias. 
We originally planned on doing an excursion or two, but once we were settled on our lounge chairs we had a hard time moving. We did see whales surface in the ocean while lounging by our that was adventure enough, I guess. :) We did spend lots of time chatting, reading books, dozing pooliside, meandering around Cabo and talking with other hotel guests. We had a couple if nights out in downtown Cabo, a night relaxing by the hotel's outdoor fire pits, and even one night where we stayed in, watched a movie, and caught up on some much needed sleep (a true sign we are getting old). It was truly a perfect "us" vacation, one we are hoping to recreate at least every couple of years. Here are a few pictures from our trip. Oh, how I wish we were back enjoying the sun!
Poolside our first morning. We were always up fairly early and enjoyed the quiet by the pool.
At "The Office" - a beach restaurant in front of our hotel. Great food and you can eat with your toes in the sand!

Quiet morning in Cabo

Giggling Marlin -A Cabo staple
Beautiful Views!!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Time to Relax

After a busy morning of going to the gym, taking the kids swimming, and Ed and I working together in a mad dash to get the house clean while Lela took a nap, I hopped out of the house for a couple of hours to get a pedicure and have some alone time (and also do a quick blog post from my phone). I read a quote the other day about the difference between enjoying solitude and feeling lonely and thought it was spot on. I love spending an hour or two by myself - going to get a pedicure, doing a little shopping, and even going to a movie by myself- but if Ed has been out of town or I haven't seen my friends for a while I start to feel lonely and crave companionship instead. Solitude vs loneliness...two very different things.
Luckily for me, Ed isn't traveling as much as he has been and we have been enjoying some quality family time.  (This June-Dec was a bear...I counted 75 days he was gone within 3 months. Not fun at all.)  The end if 2013 brought a much needed break for the Bills family, life has calmed down and I can finally sit down and catch my breath. So now, it's time  ! to catch this blog up! Here are a few tidbits about our Christmas this year:
Greyson was very into Santa this year and was quite concerned that Santa remembered all of the things on his list.
We had pictures taken at Fotofly and thought they turned out super cute.
Greyson's preschool put on a holiday program and for the first 10 minutes he was NOT happy about being on stage. When they got out jingle bells and other instruments he perked right up and had fun the rest of the show. (He's in the top row on the very left..not a happy
We went to Evanston the weekend before Christmas and my mom arranged a horse-drawn sleigh ride. They had little sleds attached to the back of the sleigh and the boys had a blast on the sleds. (This is cousin Gabe in front and G in back.) Lela loved the horses and the ranch dogs that followed us around. It was cold, but really fun for the kids and adults.

Can you see Lela's camoflauge snow pants in the picture below? That's what happens when you have an older brother!

Greyson brought this home from preschool and it almost made me cry when he said, "Look, mom! You'll have my hands forever!" I really will treasure this. It's so precious. 
The kids were beyond spoiled for Christmas. We limited ourselves, er... Santa, to 3 presents for each, since we knew they would get tons of presents from everyone else. 
The big hit Christmas morning was this bounce house we bought as a family present. 
Both kids love to bounce and just play with their toys in it. If I could keep just one toy for my kids, this would definitely be it!
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is Bingo. It sounds weird, I know, but Ed's extended family plays bingo every year. Everyone puts in a little bit of money and it's split into different envelopes. When you win, you get to draw out an envelope and win some extra $. It's something fun to do as a family instead of exchanging presents with extended family members. It's a running joke that neither Ed, his sister, nor I ever win a game, but this year we were on fire and I won $100! 
The day after Christmas Ed and I celebrated our 11th anniversary by taking the kids to Buffalo Wild Wings (Greyson's favorite) and then bowling. It's nice to celebrate our anniversary as a family and spend some time relaxing after the craziness of Christmas. 

There were some big changes in 2013 for our family and it has been so hectic but we were so glad we were able to spend some quality time with family and friends before 2014 arrived! 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Lela Time

Even though I miss Greyson while he is at preschool, I do enjoy the one on one time I get to spend with Lela. When the weather was nice we would usually grab a little snack and then head over to a nearby park for some play time.

You can see she doesn't like the swing at all! :)

Sometimes we play in the backyard...
 Sometimes we snuggle up and watch cartoons...

Sometimes Sissy helps me with some things on the computer.

 And sometimes all that fun time just wears this little girl out!

I so enjoy spending a little extra time with my girl. I don't think I have shared this video on here. This is Lela at 16 months counting to 13!