Friday, May 24, 2013

The Epic Journey of Shopper Mom and Savvy Dad

Long, long ago in a dining room far, far away, or at least 20 feet away, there was a table. Under this table was carpet. Shopper Mom and Savvy Dad both knew when first they saw this carpet that it was disgust at first sight. Both knew the carpet in this dining room was destined for demise. However, with the cost of putting in a new floor, both Shopper Mom and Savvy Dad had learned to live with said icky carpet and postponed the dreams of a beautiful hardwood floor, since somebody's kids keep getting taller without getting wider and keep need more and more and more pants to cover the aforementioned beanpole legs.

After they had been living with the icky carpet for some time, they had visitors! These visitors were of the super fun type, the marble playing on the dining room floor type. Naturally Savvy Dad documented this awesome marble game and whilst doing so realized just how awful the carpet was. This brought it up to priority level in his mind.

It just so happened that not long after that Savvy Dad had a conversation with his buddy Big D. Big D builds houses on the side and helped Savvy Dad understand that the cost of a new wood floor was mostly in the installation and since Big D could and would help with that, the wood floor cost was now 1/3 of the planned amount. Well, Savvy Dad almost literally jumped at this and began floor shopping immediately.

Whilst Savvy Dad was floor shopping, Shopper Mom was chewing her lip pondering the future of their very country style and somewhat outdated, but still sturdy and functional dining table. It had been a good table, feeding the family, allowing craft projects and horsey rides on the support bar. That said, Shopper Mom's style had grown up in the last seven years and she knew they needed to bid it farewell. So with the help of Savvy Dad, the table and chairs were listed in the SF (Super Fly) Classifieds. Both thought it would be a challenge to sell the outdated table and chairs. Both were wrong. Within a week, the table was sold along with a few custom made tablecloths to boot.

Shock and some sputtering took over. The surprise at the fleetness of the sale left many speechless.

But then they got over it and moved on.
They decided that the best plan for the time being was to focus on getting the wood floor put in and worrying about getting a table later on, once the floor was done. After all, what's the sense in buying a new table when there isn't anywhere to put it?!

    Who said these people had sense?

Senseless as it may have been, these aren't the most patient people and they went to look at tables anyway. At the first store they found one table that they sort of liked, though they loved the chairs that came with it. They figured they would probably get that table when the time came, provided they didn't find anything better in the meantime.

Days passed and the day of the new floor came. The icky old carpet was removed, along with the even ickier pad. Staples were pulled out and the sub-floor was swept, several times. Big D brought over some tools and one night after work he and Savvy Dad got to work. In two evenings they raised the sub-floor, laid the tar paper, and installed the new wood floor. Its lovely matte finish and hand scraped texture felt like butter underfoot (as in soft and smooth, not oily and squishy). New floor installed, on to the new baseboards. Much dithering took place over baseboard selection. Same size? Bigger size? How big? Which design? So many questions. One day Shopper Mom spent about 47 minutes just staring at the different options for baseboards. Well, in the end they selected a taller baseboard with a simple design. This was done with the knowledge that they would be committing to replacing the baseboards on the entire main floor after this.

Once the baseboards arrived safely at the house, courtesy of an open van window and some careful driving, realization hit. These baseboards would be installed over a wood floor! Shopper Mom admitted  that despite her simply fabulous skills at hand trimming, some tasks were too much even for her. So before Big D stopped by to help install the new baseboards, Shopper Mom hauled all four 12 foot pieces of MDF, which by the way weighs a ton, into the house to paint them to match the rest of the trim. Two coats and an overnight dry later, the baseboards were ready to go back to the garage to await their scheduled surgery. The date arrived and the baseboards went up quickly and easily. This left Shopper Mom, who also stars as Caulker/Trim Painter Girl, with two seams and six end/corners to caulk and touch up, not to mention the top where the baseboard meets the wall.

So she caulked and caulked and caulked. Then she painted and painted and painted. Then she grouted and grouted and grouted. Confused? Yes, well Big D and Savvy Dad have this thing about thresholds; they kind of hate them. So instead of a threshold between the dining/entry doorway and the dining/kitchen doorway Shopper Mom grouted. Then she painted the grout to match since she had already painted all the grout on the main floor after attempts at cleaning proved it to be un-cleanable.

Now we have baseboards and grout and the room is perfect! Except for one small detail . . .


Yes, for months all the kidlets as well as Shopper Mom and Savvy Dad had been using the island and small kitchen table to eat meals together. In the same room counts as together, right? Right?!

Regardless, the time had come for serious table shopping. So Shopper Mom and Savvy Dad headed out to visit the local furniture stores. They had a few ideas in mind of what kind of table they wanted and knew for sure what they needed from the table. Seating for 8, for example, was an absolute must, while seating for 10 would just be really nice. They wanted a dark wood, rectangular in shape with four legs as opposed to a pedestal style. They returned to the first table they had found that they liked, but uncertainty tickled through them. They made plans to check other furniture stores in town before deciding.

Over the following weeks they grabbed an hour or two here and there to check out all the furniture stores in town, either together or on their own. Despite their overall lack of pickiness they simple could not find the table of their dreams. They searched high and low. Then suddenly the search had to be suspended in favor of flying to Utah for the wedding of our previously mentioned super fun visitors.

Miraculously, while in Utah, they found the table they had both been imagining. Shopper Mom and Savvy Dad casually asked as many questions about the table as they could without revealing their over-eagerness. This was it, this was the table. They found it online within minutes. However as they were in the middle of a large family gathering they decided to wait until they could view the information for the table on a screen bigger than 4 inches.

Upon arriving home the prospective table was viewed. And viewed and viewed. Much careful reading and measuring was done to ensure that this was in fact the right fit for their family. Chairs were measured, calculations were done. This ideal dream of a table would fit 8, but only 8. It was only available online from furniture stores out of state. Shipping would be interesting. Concerns were voiced and mulling it over began.

Shopper Mom mulled it over.
Savvy Dad mulled it over.
All kidlets were commanded to mull it over to no avail.
They were at a loss. What to do? Seating for 8 or 10? Do we really need to ever have grandparents or missionaries over for dinner?

Time passed.

The beautiful dining room sat empty. It became temporarily a dance studio, a picnic site and an angry birds launching ground.

They hemmed and hawwed. Finally Savvy Dad insisted they try yet another furniture store just in case there was a good option there that they had missed. So one Saturday morning, they packed up the kidlets and Savvy Dad and Shopper Mom drove to another town about 45 minutes away. This store had a kids area with a video playing, genius! So far, so good. Mom and Dad wandered the store, snapping pictures of any table they liked. There were a few. Then they proceeded to inspect each table to determine its worthiness as their table. Many were called, but few were chosen. Salesmen stepped in and pointed out some other options when the pickings got too slim. One by one each table failed to measure up to the standards. They wondered if what they were searching for even existed.

Eventually they ended up sitting around a table they had never even glanced at due to the overly manly chairs and antler ridden centerpiece. Shopper Mom conceded that the table was of a good size and color. Savvy Dad like the chairs, but Shopper Mom strongly vetoed any furniture sporting manly metal tacks. Still the table was large, 45 inches wide, bigger than most. Long enough to fit four chairs on a single side. Seating for 10! The centerpiece was removed, allowing the table to shine out in its previously masked glory. This was the one, for sure this time. Seeing it in person makes one ever so much more confident. Now, what about the chairs???

The chairs that came with the table simple would not do since they were not going for a rustic Texas longhorn farmhouse. Other chairs in the store were brought over, the match was fairly spot on, but the comfort was simply not there. The back of the chair left a great deal to be desired in the comfort area.  Then the thought struck, No, it couldn't! Or could it? There's no way it would work they thought. Or would it? The chairs from the first table, found months ago at another store. They had yet to find their equal in all these weeks of searching. Was it possible, did they dare to buy a table at one store and chairs at another?

They dared.

Or least they dared once they had loaded up driven to the other store, purchased a single chair and brought it back to the store with the table to check and see if it would work. Shopper Mom and Savvy Dad got some strange looks that day. But the decision was made. This was the table and these were the chairs. They would bring this unlikely family together over the walls built between rival stores and create the perfect dining room.

So they did. The table was bought. It would be ready for pickup by them, hence the savvy, in a matter of days. They made it through the weekend. They chuckled at the lone chair sitting so solitary in the corner of the perfect dining room. Pick up day arrived, Shopper Mom removed all seats from the van, not the easiest task, but still doable and certainly worth it to bring home the ideal table. Once the table was retrieved, they would stop at the other store and bring home chairs. Oh happy day!

Sadly, that happy day was not to be.

Upon arriving at the warehouse to pick up the table, Shopper Mom and Savvy Dad were met with a dinged up scratched mess that someone had the nerve to call a table. It looked as though it had already been through ten years with the kidlets! This would not do. The people there offered to order an immediate replacement, but was this karma? Was this the universe's way of telling them this was in fact not the right table for them? Oh misery! Feeling confused and disappointed they drove to the other furniture store to check and see if the universe still wanted them to buy the chairs.

They were met by PJ (seriously the guy's name was on his business card as P.J.!). A more helpful and patient salesman you will never find. He did his very best to help Shopper Mom and Savvy Dad decide if this first table, discovered months ago was in fact the table for them. They moved chairs, they considered it from every angle. They took the leaves out, they put them back in. Savvy Dad practiced for mormon bridge and found the fatal flaw in this table. It was trestle style and so the ends hung out over the base. It rattled and creaked whenever weight was applied. This would not do. Dining room tables should be seen and not heard.

Dejected and depressed the sad couple headed home. That night they made a list of pros and cons for both tables. At the end of the exercise it was clear that the four legged table they had fallen in love with in the town 45 minutes away was in fact the one. A replacement was ordered, free delivery was ensured. It would be weeks they said. Weeks for one chair to sit lonely and alone!

After only about 1 week the call came that the table had arrived. It could be delivered on Friday just four days away. But Alas, tragedy strikes again! Shopper Mom and Savvy Dad sometimes take a break from shopping to be Semi-Happy Camper parents and there was a long ago planned camping trip on Friday. So the delivery would be postponed to the next Thursday. One more week. One more week. One more week became the hourly chant of Shopper Mom who hates when projects drag out.

One more week passed. Delivery was scheduled. Shopper Mom and Savvy Dad decided to purchase the chairs the night before the table delivery. Once again the van was unloaded of all seats, which by they way weigh at least 40 pounds. Excitedly they arrived at the chair store and announced their intent to purchase seven chairs. They were well known there by now, the story of the people who need seven chairs circulated fast. Plus, Shopper Mom had called ahead to be sure of no hiccups, they had plenty of chairs in stock and seven would be pulled down for them and ready to go. The store's version of pulled down did not include pulled down and assembled. hmph. It would be 2.50 per chair for them to be assembled by the store and they would be ready in 1-2 days. Irritation flared. The entire back wall of the store, three levels high and a hundred feet long was lined with chairs that were already assembled. Words were exchanged and the salesman figured out fast that he was going to offer this nice couple free assembly as well as free installing of felt pads on the chair legs to protect their buttery wood floor. One chair was magically already assembled, so they brought home one instead of seven. Plans were made to retrieve the rest of the chairs the next day, after the table arrived.

Upon arriving home the new chair was brought to meet the lonely chair. New chair rocked. Very, very badly. Savvy Dad became Seriously Irate Customer Guy. A call were made. The new rocking chair was going back to the store the next day and another chair would be put together to replace it. They would get seven chairs the next day. Seven chairs that would not rock.

The morning dawned grey and rainy. Not a promising sign, but excitement would not be abated. Within the previously agreed upon time frame the table arrived. Shopper Mom anxiously checked over every inch of it and found only two tiny dings that quickly disappeared with the help of a magic furniture marker. Perfection at last! The table was big and heavy and shiny and pretty and smooth and everything they had hoped for. Savoring the joy that comes with the completion of a project, Shopper Mom called the chair store to be sure the chairs were ready before driving up there. Ready they were. Up she drove. She returned the rocking chair and tested each chair before accepting it as her own. Three were sent back to be adjusted and in the end she drove off with a full car (finally!).

Once everything was in place, Shopper Mom sent Savvy Dad pictures of the heavenly sight. He loved table and the chairs, they were just what he had wanted, but the chandelier was throwing a wrench in the flow of the whole room. He hurried to the store to buy a new chandelier that they had had their eyes on which went perfectly with the decor of the room. He began the installation as soon as he could get away from work. It took a few hours, but was a relatively easy ending to a very extended project.

Now the chairs are all nestled snuggly around the table, happy in their new home and ready to be tortured by Princess Blue Eyes.

The dining room is perfect.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Jan U wary

I suppose we should all be wary of my blogging bug. 

Not that I recall where we got the gold ribbon from, but the yellow comic does not disappoint.

Can  you tell she has plenty of older brothers??
The only person this doesn't work on is Mom.
Anya's 11th birthday. Her sister has trouble sharing the spotlight. Luckily for her Anya is a very gracious person.
Now her doll, Anastasia, doesn't have to sleep on the closet shelf:)
Peter drew her a picture for her birthday. This shot is just pure sweetness.
A good hearty laugh.
She was thrilled with all of her gifts.
Before you judge my lack of cake skills, I must explain. The original request was for a round chocolate cake with purple frosting. Whilst perusing a new and fun cookbook, I found a recipe for peanut butter frosting. Knowing my girl's love for the PB and chocolate combo, I asked if it would be appealing to her and it was. So what looks like a bad 70s lemon, is actually peanut butter frosting on a chocolate cake and it was fantastic.
The rest of the birthday: step one into becoming more girly than this girly girl already is. 
Piercing the ears.
She was very excited and equally nervous as well. She didn't cry, but she did cut off the flow of blood in my hand. Her posts (which you can't see well here) are tiny purple daisies. They are perfect for my purple princess.
Of course the other one had to get in on this. It's like she knows just what to do to get the attention turned away from everyone else and onto her. 
Even when she is trying to look angry, she's just cute . . . 
And when she is trying to look scary . . . well this one isn't quite so cute, but it is funny!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Do you ever get that feeling . . .

You know, the one where you are metaphorically running behind a speeding truck trying to catch hold of a rope to pull yourself in so that you can have a reprieve from the constant chase, but you never seem to be able to get a hold of that rope?

Well, that has been our life as a family these last two months. As the kids get older more stuff is going on and there are six of them after all, which multiplies everything:) So we will try to catch the rope now so we can ride in the truck for awhile. (At least until we hit the next inevitable pothole that pops us right out because of course we are riding in the back of a truck without proper safety restraints and the driver is very questionably incapable. Though I'm not sure who is driving this truck. It should be one of us right? How odd . . .)

This was not Anya's first recital, but it is her first medal. It was awarded for having had three years of piano lessons. Very exciting.

 We finally got some outdoor lighting. We are planning on more, but baby steps, you know.
 St. Nicholas Day morning, this is the most exciting December morning, since they get the bulk of their gifts this day.
 Pandimonious present sorting.

 The Annual Aunt Laurel Pajamas
 Seriously?? They even posed themselves:)
 It's like four cute little not-so-old-old-men.
I love having a huge mantel with plenty of room for the stockings and the nativity. This would of course be Christmas Eve.

Next comes the early morning company meeting at IHOP. Rumor has it that MandJ's is making some changes . . . 

This brings us to the close of the year 2012. It was an exciting year full of changes and new experiences and we are looking forward to 2013!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Reasons to Be Full of Thanks

With Mark having turned 12 recently, we took advantage during our Thanksgiving break to enjoy his first visit to the temple.  
He stood as proxy for those who had departed from this mortal life without having received the saving ordinance of baptism.  It was a great experience for us...and a tradition we hope to carry on with each of our children when they turn 12.  Our family goal this year is to determine what family history work has yet to be done so that we can take our own personal family names to the temple.  

Another fun event that we took part in was the Christmas festivities that occur in Old Town St. Charles.  The cobblestone streets add to the nostalgia.  The buildings are simply and tastefully decorated.  And there are Christmas characters from all over the world that walk the streets and talk with the children.  Plus, there are fresh baked goods and kettle corn.  Something for everyone!

We got there right in time for one of the many parades.  It looks so official with a police officer on top the horse.
There were drummers drumming and carolers and fairies and scrooges.  Every character you could imagine.
There were also a variety of santas from different parts of the country and world.  There was even a frontier Santa and a soldier Santa.  
And then the REAL Santa with Mrs. Claus concluded the parade in their carriage.  Luke's eyes opened wide as they passed and he said, "This is the closest I've ever been to Santa!"  He was so excited.  

So this Thanksgiving, we were thankful for the beauty of the eternities and the beauty of this mortal experience.  God is certainly good.  And we love this time of celebration.

Monday, December 3, 2012


Yeah, we know.

It's December, and we are just getting around to posting Halloween pictures. Better late than never, plus once we post this we can throw in Thanksgiving and eventually Christmas sometime around Midsummers:)

We begin our belated Halloween adventure with a Big Boys trip to a haunted house. 
 Apparently it was scary, but not all THAT scary:)

Next is the annual Halloween Party. We are sorry to all of our guests, who we are honestly experimenting on while we figure out how to throw a really fun party. Nonetheless, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. 

 We had tons of food . . .
lots of games . . . 
and the everlasting doughnut eating contest. We always walk away from that smiling:)
Last but not least, the actual day of.
 The cast of Harry Potter
 And some animals
Yes, that is a dog, pig and panda.
What do they have to do with each other you might ask?
Not one darn thing. The end of an era has arrived, we are no longer able to coerce all six of our kids into wanting to dress up as a bug group for Halloween. So we did two groups this year. One matches and the other is just way to cute, not to mention they are dressed as their favorite animals. 
 Lest you think our baby girl odd, know that the pig won simply because it is pink. She loves and claims all things pink as her very own.

 How can you dress up as Harry Potter characters and not try some curses? They had a blast and raked in over 21 pounds of candy between the six of them. It was quite an event.