Sunday, February 19, 2017

Kitchen Lighting!

My kitchen has always been horrible when it comes to lighting. Last year Michael put in can lights and it made a world of difference. I also found these puck lights at Costco that helped light up the counters. Unfortunately they took 27 batteries and they didn't last very long at all. I decided we had to do something that was more economical. 

Here's a view of the puck lights. I had a few things to return to Lowe's so I figured I might be able to use the money from the return to get some under-cabinet lights. Holy about expensive! It was $59 for just one light and we were going to need 6 or 7.....not happening! 

Later that night I was contemplating what to do and then it dawned on me....we have under-cabinet lighting in our laundry area. Seriously how could I have never thought of that before. 

Here is the under-cabinet lights in the laundry room. I bought these years ago at IKEA when we first turned our entryway closet into a mudroom. I thought we'd had them for around 3 years and it's actually been a little longer than that. When we put them up in the mudroom it was a pain to turn them on and off so I just left them on. Even now in the laundry room I just leave them on all the time....kind of like a night light. So they've literally been on for years and are still ticking! 

I really wanted to go to IKEA first thing on Monday morning, but then we had the snowstorm so I had to wait until Wednesday to head out. IKEA has actual under-cabinet lights, but again they are more expensive. These lights are found in the lighting section and it's 4 lights for $24.99! So cheap for something that last so for so long. 

Michael had planned to work on the lighting project on Saturday. I was going to take Ella to her 7 year old pictures and then the kids and I were going to go to a birthday party. Well....I woke up Saturday morning not feeling too hot so plans changed. Michael ended up taking Ella and Jack to Ella's pictures and then he dropped them off at the party. Owen and Zeke stayed home with me and when Michael came back he got right to work. 

Michael had this whole thing figured out and he tried explaining it to me and it honestly wasn't making sense. I've done my fair share of remodeling with him, but for some reason this wasn't computing. No worries though because I knew my man had it under control. I would have enjoyed watching the progress, but as it was I was so not feeling good I didn't come down from my bedroom until Monday morning! I just got to see the finished product and none of the actual work except these pictures. 

When he installed the can lights last year we decided that we didn't really need the light that was over the would have been a bit overkill. Michael just used one of those white blank circles and covered up the hole, but he still left all the electrical in place. That's where he ended up drawing the power for the under-cabinet lights. They are the plug in kind, but he made it where the plugs were up in the ceiling and then the light switch down by my sink controls those plugs. It's nice having the option of turning them off, but honestly I doubt I will very often. 

As you can see he had to take down all the crown molding and then a couple cabinets. He had to drill through the ceiling/floor joists so he could run the wire through. 

Of course this section of the kitchen had a ton of different obstacles in the was certainly a test in patience for Michael. 

On Saturday he was able to finish the right side of the kitchen. 

This is the picture he took so he could show me when I was upstairs in bed. So bright! 

On Sunday he took the cabinet on the left of the sink down and got to work on that side. This side was much easier since there wasn't anything in the way and there was also only 1 strand of lights going in on this side. He finished that side by early afternoon. 

The next morning when I was finally feeling better I came down to this extraordinarily light kitchen! I love it! I love how bright it is! 

Here's a picture of the what the lights look like. The little wires were either brought down behind the cabinets or in-between them. Each light came with a double adhesive foam sticker to mount them. For some reason the right light under the microwave decided it didn't want to stick later in the day, but I have this super sticky adhesive tape from Stampin' Up so I just used that and stuck it back up and it's been just fine! 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Shopping Buddy!

Last week Zeke and I made a trip to IKEA in Renton. He had fun playing in Smalland while I shopped. I don't have to check him in, but he loves it. Zeke really is the best shopping buddy ever. During my monthly shopping he goes with me to Winco, Costco, Sam's Club, Wal-Mart and Fred Meyers all in one day! He's a rock star shopper! 

After I picked him up from Smalland we got lunch at IKEA. I love having one on one dates with my kids and I need to make a point to do it more often with the older kids. I asked Zeke what was I going to do when he's in school? Who's going to be my shopping buddy then? I haven't been super emotional about Zeke going to school, but for some reason it just hit me. He's not going to be with me everyday in a few months! 

I love this guy so much! I love having someone with me while I'm shopping even if he can drive me crazy sometimes. I've never been one to eat at a restaurant alone. In fact in December when my parents watched the kids for me over Christmas break so I could go shopping I ate at Costco all by myself and that was the first time I've ever done something like that! Even when I was on jury duty I made friends and went out to lunch with them. I just don't like eating alone!! 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Ella's 7 Year Old Pictures!

Normally I am the one that takes the kids to their annual birthday pictures at JCPenny's. Unfortunately I came down with a stomach bug early in the morning on the day of Ella's pictures so Michael had to take Ella. It's not that that's a bad thing...he's totally capable it's just something I really look forward to doing with the kids. I love that special one on one time! 

For Ella's clothes this year I didn't have anything specific picked out like last year. In order to avoid a major meltdown I picked out 4 outfit options for Ella. Two dress options and two legging options. When Ella came home she choose one of the legging options and that's when I realized that all of her shoes were two small. So we had to shift gears and go with a dress options so she could wear her fancy shoes that actually fit her. 

She precious Ella Grace! 

Ella just recently lost two upper teeth so she's kind of in that awkward my teeth haven't grown in yet phase. I love it though! I also love that if you look closely you can see blue marker on her right hand. My girl loves to color with markers! 

I'm so grateful that Michael was able to take her and we didn't have to reschedule her pictures. How can my girl be 7 years old!!! 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Ella Is 7 Years Old!!!

Ella Grace you are 7 Years Old! 
Such a big girl!!! 

Here is Ella on her 6th birthday....the funny thing is when I was making her invitations for her 7th birthday instead of putting 7th I put 6th....I guess I just wanted her to be 6 for another year! 

Ella has lost SO many teeth this year! Last year at her birthday party her front tooth was almost knocked out! She did not want me to take it out she were sure she wanted the dentist to do it and thankfully we already had her appointment scheduled for the next day. 

Ella completely astonished the dentist by actually WANTING her to pull her tooth out. She is one tough cookie! 

Ella is such a crafty girl! She just loves markers, crayons, stencils, paint, glitter, scissors, glue, stickers....I could go on and on. She is my crafty girl! 

This year we found out through trial and error that Ella is allergic to dyes. We still aren't sure exactly which ones....I think red dye is the worst though. We've tried really hard to cut all dyes out of her diet. It is just a small price to pay for her not to have migraines that make her throw up anymore. She does get sad about it regards to school especially. Whenever one of her classmates has a birthday and their parent brings in cupcakes with pink frosting she has to scrap it off...Ms. Davidson is so thoughtful and she does have cookies she can have if she can't have whatever is brought in. At Christmas time when all the kids got to use the brightly colored candies for their gingerbread houses she mainly had to use chocolate. For Valentine's day it seems that all the candies are red or pink. Her older brothers were so sweet to trade their chocolate candies so she could have more. Ella amazes me though. She doesn't really get super down about it...she just mentions it every now and then. It's just a different way of living and we are still getting used to it. 

Ella has enjoyed riding her bike that she got last year for her birthday. Maybe this year will be the year she wants to learn to ride without training wheels. 

Ella is such a sweet and thoughtful friend. She got this bead set for her birthday and she just had to make necklaces for all her friends. 

Ella is also so great at playing and using her imagination. When I got a new phone case she was so happy to use my old one and have me draw on a piece of cardboard to make it look like she had apps! 

Ella loves soda!!! We don't get soda very often, but when we do she is all about it. Recently when I was sick with a tummy bug Daddy got me 7-UP and she loved being able to have soda for those few days! 

Ella loves tank tops! She would go around in tank tops all year if I let her. She actually has gotten better about wearing her coat. During her first year of Kindergarten she never wanted to wear her coat. This year I think I've only had to remind her a few times to get her coat. 

Daddy's Princess! Ella goes through phases with Daddy. Sometimes she just want to be near him all the time and snuggle next to him on the couch and other times she would rather be with me. Ella is such a gem to him and he certainly does love it when she hugs him....he wishes she'd hug him more though! 

Zeke is her buddy....not really Owen is her buddy for the buddy system, but Zeke is her playing buddy. They still get along great even though Ella goes to school. He loves having her home for any kind of school break. 

I love going shopping with Ella! She loves it when I ask her opinion on things. Like when I took her with me to Costco to buy plants. She had fun helping me pick out just the right ones. Right now she is going through a phase where she wants to know my opinion all the time....mainly on what color she should use when she colors in her coloring book. Lets hope that she still wants my opinion in 5 more years!!!

Ella loves to try out new things be experiences or food. In this case our whole family was invited to go skating, but Owen and Zeke didn't want anything to do with it. I'm glad I only had two kids since none of my kids had ever skated before!!! 

Ella loves to be outdoors. She loves to go on hikes and see what's out there to explore. Last year while we were at the beach she found a stick that was so big it wouldn't even fit in the van so Daddy had to break it to make it smaller! 

Since Ella is getting special education services at school she got to bring home some books to practice with. She has never really been big about us reading to her, but this year she has definitely gotten more interested in books. 

Ella's main staples that she brings with her everywhere are a blanket, a pillow, markers and paper! 

Since Ella turned 6 she was finally able to participate in the free mini Lego build at the mall! Cute little hedgehog! She did so well....I just make sure she's on the right number for the directions and she can do it all by herself. In fact lots of time she's beats Jack! 

Ella was bound and determined that she wanted her hair cut as short as mine. My hairstylist thought we shouldn't go that short right off the bat so she compromised with her and left it at shoulder length. I love her hair this short and just recently asked her if she liked her hair shorter or longer. I was secretly hoping she say shorter, but she said longer. She likes being able to put it in a braid! 

These two cute girls! I swear they look like they could be sisters in this picture! The past few months have been fun with both Kendra and Lilyann...I'm now watching both the girls after school on Wednesdays and Ella loves that she gets that playtime with both her friends. 

Ella loves music class at school. She's always coming home singing some song that Mr. Watter's has taught them. She definitely learns well through singing! 

Since Ella is the only girl her clothes aren't as easy to come by as boy clothes. I swear I have boy clothes coming out of every nook and cranny in this house. I try to find things for Ella at garage sales, but she can be so pick sometimes. This last year I had not been able to find any summer clothes for her. So we headed to Wal-Mart and got her a bunch of fun clothes. This outfit was my personal favorite! 

And a cute new bathing suit! 

This bathing beauty sure got her use out of it! 

The school has theme weeks every now and then. On this particular week it was fancy day. Ella wanted to wear her flower dress and so did Ms. Asselin! 

Ella is surrounded by these brothers of hers, but she loves them and they love her! Just this morning I noticed how Jack and her are almost the same height....I hope at Jack's birthday post he's had a growth spurt! 

Last day of the first year of Kindergarten! I have a post coming about Ella's progress in regards to school, but I am SO happy we decided to give her more time to learn. She is awesome!!! 

Ms. Alisa helped Ella out last year with her reading and writing and we were hoping that she was going to help her out again this year, but sadly Ms. Alisa has other responsibilities this year. She is still one of the recess teachers so she gets to see Ella quite a lot. She told me a while back that Ella was quite sassy with her because she was sure that Ms. Alisa didn't know all her brothers names. Well Ms. Alisa did and she told Ella the names of her brothers and Ella was a bit shocked about that! She asked Ms. Alisa how she knew that and Ms. Alisa said....because I know your mom! 

Ms. Phyall was Ella's speech therapist last year and she is again this year. Ella has been doing better with her speech. Sometimes she gets lazy with her tongue though. Ms. Phyall is about to have a baby so there will be a fill in speech therapist for about 6 weeks. 

Ella has such sweet sun-kissed skin! I love how she tans and I especially love her tan lines.

Ella has turned into such a good helper. I remember when she used to cry and cry about doing the recycle and now she just sets out to do it and it's done. Hopefully Zeke will get over the crying about jobs phase soon! :) 

Ella loves her kitty! She has a way with Charlie and he just totally submits to her. She will pick him up and he'll just take it. He does not act like that for the boys! 

Ella was so excited to be in Ms. Davidson's class. I'm sure she would have done great in either of the other Kindergarten classrooms, but Ms. Davidson is just so special to our family. She loves our kids and our kids love her. 

Ella is Ga-Ga's sugar bear....I love my mom and have such a wonderful relationship and I hope that Ella and I are as close when she's my age! 

Since Ella was going to Kindergarten 2.0 she didn't have to start school on the same day as the boys. She was so cute though because she wanted to wear the outfit she wore for her first day of Kindergarten 1.0 for their first day of school. 

Kitty loves! 

Last year the school did full silhouettes of some of the students. It was part of this project to have signs up in the halls about proper hallway behavior. Ella's silhouette is the first one you see when you come in the door at school. 

Like I said before this girl has rocked Kindergarten 2.0! 

I had to make her a new shirt, but that was no big deal. She's going to make the class of 2029 that much more special! 

Sweet sibling moment! 

We were almost late to her first day of Kindergarten 2.0, but thankfully it wasn't her first time so rushing wasn't a big deal. 

Ella had a terrific first day of school and has had a terrific day every day since. She has never once come home with a color paper that says she made bad choices! Ella's a great listener and loves to follow the rules! 

Ella is my good eater! Honestly if Ella doesn't want to eat her dinner we know not to push it. If she's not eating that usually means she's going to puke. My girl loves food! 

Ella is at that phase where she still likes little kid things, but she's almost too big for them. Enjoy it while you can sweet girl! 

A total sweet tooth....sadly no more cotton candy for her! 

Thankfully Ella's hair grew out in time to be Anna for Halloween! 

Ella loves her friends! She just loves being with them....I think quality time is definitely one of her love languages! 

Ella loves to be included and she loves to match me. She was so happy when I made her a scarf that matched the one I made myself! 

No matter how cold it is outside she very rarely zips up her coat!

Ella is good at making the best of a situation. In this case when we play's only 4 players and Michael and I play with the older boys. They have an expansion kit, but we haven't gotten it yet. Also the game is a bit beyond her yet. She loves to hang out with us and have fun stacking the roads, settlements and cities into different shapes and designs. 

My sweet girl still has a hint of that little girl face. I'm thinking that big girl face is coming up soon though! 

One of the fun things about me volunteering at school is having that inside knowledge on what she's being taught. Around this time Ella had been learning how to sort things. Either by shape, color or size. She had fun helping me in the kitchen unwrap all the candies and then she lined them up and made a rectangle. 

Charlie is not the most loving cat. He doesn't like to sit on your lap and he's quite moody about when he wants loves....wait I should just say he's a cat....that pretty much explains everything. Anyway when we were building Legos Charlie was very interested in what we were doing so he snuggled on a blanket that had been left on the floor. Ella did not miss out on that opportunity to lay next to him. 

Ella's writing is so great...honestly her penmanship is probably as good as Jack's. She loves learning to spell a new word and then she loves to write it over and over again. In this case that word was love! 

As well as helping in the kitchen Ella is a great help around the house. Recently with my tummy bug she kept coming up and asking me if she could get me anything.

This year Ella has enjoyed playing with Legos more and of course she will use anything to spell out her name. 

Ella is so picky when it comes to her shoes. These are the shoes I got her for her something to wear Christmas present. Thankfully she loved them because just recently I realized that all her other shoes except her super dressy shoes Ga-Ga bought her were too small. "Zeke" did end up buying her a pair of boots and an outfit for her birthday so at least she'll have another pair of everyday shoes.

She's a super model in my book! 

She's wearing a hat...that's a miracle! In fact SHE is a miracle....her head is growing and it's right where it should be for her age! 

Ella are my one and only girl! I'm so glad that God knew that I needed you. I needed a daughter and I LOVE having a daughter. I love how sweet, loving and girly you are. I love how stubborn, ornery and sassy you are! I love how you feel life Ella. You really feel it! You feel happy, sad, hurt, grumpy, frustrated, excited, surprised, name it you feel it. You are not afraid to show that you feel life either. I hope you don't ever lose that. It's okay to feel life. It's okay for people to know just how you feel. I hope you are never ashamed for how you feel. God made you the way you are and you are special and wonderful and perfect! 

Ella Grace I remember the day I was standing in the shower carrying you in my belly when it occurred to me how many different words rhymed with Grace. I wrote your poem right then in my head and then later on paper. That same poem still hangs in your rooms. That poem about a girl that I couldn't wait to gaze upon and to cherish. Oh Ella Grace I cherish you! I love you so much sometimes it hurts! To think I've been able to do all those things for 7 years now! God is so faithful and His blessings are so abundant. Ella you are a blessing to our family! You are a blessing to your friends. You are a blessing to your school. You are a blessing period! I pray that you never forget what a blessing you are. I pray that God will use you to bless others in ways we don't even know about yet. You are the epitome of someone that doesn't give up. You have already gone through so much in your short 7 years and you just don't let anything get you down or stop you. What an amazing trait to have! You bring so much joy to the world....even by being born on the 16th of February you bought joy. The joy of sharing the same birth date with your great grandpa!! I love you so much precious girl! 

Happy Birthday Ella Grace!