Sorry for the long blogging break. It's not that my kids aren't cute anymore (on the contrary I think they are getting cuter everyday) and its not that we haven't done anything exciting (life has been one big party around here lately) I hope to start posting more often and to catch up on our summer/ fall, but I make no promises. For now here is Halloween. Boo!
Our scary family: Witch, black cat, spider, and its web.
Kennedy eating a donut at the ward party. She didn't even try to mess around with the no hand thing.
Kennedy and her pumpkin.
The girls. Note the adorable Halloween shirts given to them by the Dunnigans. They are too good to us.
Kennedy the cat. She kept saying that she was a nice cat not a scary one. I would agree that there was nothing scary about this kitty... until you try to take away her Halloween candy.
Sorry to keep you all in suspense, but our current lack of internet is really cramping my style. However, you can all stop pestering me for pictures now. Here she is... in all her 1 week glory... Baby Abby!
Grandma has been a huge hit at the Clawson residence. Kennedy follows her around like a puppy dog waiting for their next fun adventure. Abigail is slightly less enthralled, but then again the girl only opens her eyes twice a day. Tim and I can't say enough about her yuumy dinners and help around the house. We love Grandma!!!
We finally have our little baby Abigail. She was born July 10th 2010 at 9:29 am. She was 7 lbs 2 oz and 20 inches long. The delivery went well and I am already on my way to a good recovery.
I couldn't be happier with our sweet little girl. She already has quite a bit of hair that has stayed dark, but I think it has a little red in it. I think her eyes are going to be green (or blue...its hard to say). She is the sweetest little girl and loves to sleep and eat and manages to open her eyes for a few minutes a day. We can't wait to come out to Utah and share her with all our family!
So I think we're too the point we can commit to a moving date. We were thinking about Saturday the 19th, but there is a lot going on with the ward party and Canton's city festival. We thought about postponing it another week, but my doctor's visit today convinced me that the sooner the better. I am already dilated and the baby has dropped. (Not that that guarantees an early delivery, I could still go past my due date for all I know) Anyhow, I would much rather not have a baby while my possessions are in transit so Friday June 18th it is! A wonderful friend in the ward has a moving van he lets people borrow for moves so we should be able to get all of the big stuff in one trip. Next week we will start taking stuff over each night so there wont be as much to do on Friday. I have already had several friends volunteer to help clean and watch Kennedy. We are so blessed to have such an amazing ward family! Now we just need to get the finishing touches done to our projects this weekend. Go team Clawson!
After 9 days partying with my sister and her husband Enoch, it is time to get back to work on the house. Not that we didn't get a lot done with our guests here. Marissa instructed me on how to paint and we finished both the kitchen and family room. We also primed the cabinets and painted all the trim. Enoch was the man when it came to woodworking. Together he and Tim put together a shelveing unit to hook to one of our kitchen cabinets. Enoch also helped us cut and hang the chair rail board and installed a light fixture. However, who wants to work when you can party! And so we did. We went to the Henry Ford Museum and the Rouge Factory tour. Lunch at Buddy's pizza. (yum!) We walked around downtown Plymouth and tasted the fudge. We spent a whole Saturday at Greenfield Village during their civil war remembrance day. We visited the Detroit waterfront and took in a Tiger's game. We made it down to Toledo for a day at the Zoo and Kennedy wowed us with all her animal sounds and enthusiasm. Perhaps my favorite part were the late nights playing Rage and Clue and chatting with my long lost sister. (It's so sad how far apart we are) So now it's back to the grindstone finishing up our projects on the new house and packing up the old apartment. I think the whole pregnancy fatigue has really set in and I am struggling to keep up with my former pace. Thank goodness for naps! As of today we have all the tiling finished, including the backsplash. The rooms are all painted and just need a touch up here and there. The cabinets are all painted and we are just waiting on the hardware we ordered to arrive so we can attach the doors. The additional cabinet that Tim and Enoch built is finished and installed. We had to make a new cabinet to go over the above-range-microwave, but that is installed as well as the microwave (now that was an ordeal) The chair rail board is all installed and just needs to be putted and painted and the floorboards are all cut and ready to be hammered in. We' re in good shape folks. I just have to keep looking back at how far we've come and realize that the rest is all down hill. We can do it.... I think. Our projected move in date is June 19th, but we just found out that there is a stake activity planned for that morning so we may move it or shoot for the afternoon. Boy I can't wait to be sitting in my new home looking back on all of this and laughing. Hopefully I will have just enough time to catch my breath before life gets really exciting with the arrival of baby Abigail.
Note: For some reason my pictures won't upload so I will have to add them later.
I guess I am running out of steam with these house updates. My sister Marissa and her Husband Enoch are visiting us this week from California so I would rather hang with them than blog. However, I am pleased to announce that we finished tiling the kitchen backsplash and wiring for the new electrical outlets. The house is prepped for painting tomorrow and the tile stuff has all been cleared out. There still seems like a lot to do and my energy level is so very low, but Tim is still plugging away and Marissa and Enoch are here to help. Somehow it will all get done and we can move into our new house. Someday....
Wednesday was the R.S. temple trip, and so rather than sleeping until noon (which I desperately wanted to do) I tore myself out of bed and headed to the shower to get ready. Of course the shower nob broke off in my hand and I was forced to use a pair of pliers to control the hot and cold water. I never quite got the hang of it and ended up with a lukewarm to cold shower. Not what I was looking for after 8 hrs on hands and knees the night before. The temple trip was fantastic. What a pick me up after a long few weeks. It is so great to be able to put things in perspective. Once back at the house, Kennedy and I took a much needed nap and waited for Tim to get home. The original plan was to prime the ceiling and prep the rest of the walls to be painted. Both of our bodies vetoed this plan and we have decided to scale back our plans for the next few days. As much as I would like to have the main level all painted and ready by the time our visitors come next week, it just isn't possible. I hope the don't mind it if the house is still mid-construction. I do promise to fix the shower by then. ;) The rest of that night was spent relaxing and tidying up a little. Tomorrow, Tim an the Murphy boys (yeah for young blood) are going to mow our jungle lawn and give me the night off. I can't wait!
Tuesday we grouted (is that a word) all the tile. I had picked up a book at the library that said that it would take 3 hrs per 100 sq ft to grout. I scoffed at this. After all, I had done this before and I know it wasn't that hard. Read on My friend , and across the street neighbor, had volunteered to help me wash walls on Tuesday. She graciously allowed me to substitute warm water and rags for sandy grout and a sponge and the two of us grouted all the kitchen while our toddlers took their afternoon naps. We made quick time and it was great getting to know her better as we worked. After such a pleasant experience earlier in the afternoon, I was confident that Tim and I could finish the rest of the tile by 10 pm, at the latest. I swear someone stretched out our floor plan and added a few extra hundred square feet of tile. It never ended. I worked that grout into those crack from 7 pm until 10 basically non-stop and still it kept coming. Tim's job was to clean of the tiles and reduce the film covering after an area was sufficiently hardened. This left me to lay all the grout. My forearms hurt just thinking about the sweeping motion. When I close my eyes I can still see tile lines in my head. Anyhow, around midnight, after a re energizing Slurpee and some corn nuts, I finished grouting the last tile. Barely able to move, I shuffled up the stairs and flopped down on the bed, barely stirring when Tim climbed in next to me 3 hours later after scrubbing all the tiles and cleaning off the tools. Happy ending: The grout is done. The tile looks great. Abigail was not born the following day.
Monday we arrived at the house at a very low stress level fully expecting to lay the last few tiles and hit the sack at a decent hour. The tile gods had a different fate in store for us. The area we had to finish included a closet and part of the hall that connected the tile we laid Saturday to the tile we would lay Monday night. After doing all the cuts and laying the closet we moved to close the gap in the hall. To our horror we were almost a inch over our line and would have to shift all the work we had just done as well as rip out a few tiles from Saturday's work to make the lines meet up. Right around this point Kennedy had seen enough of the doggies next door and reached her goldfish bribe limit. She want to "hold you" (be held) by mommy and nothing else would do. I was able to keep her at bay for a while as we frantically pulled up tiles and pushed and pulled the lines to meet up. Finally, I could stand Kennedy's moaning no more and we put her in her room to play blocks. Not 10 minutes later, she was back downstairs climbing on my back crying. She mastered the art of opening doors rather quickly in this new house. (rats!) Tim ran up and got her pack and play and we caged her in that for a while. To add to the tile disaster, Tim needed to return the truck to the bishop as we had already borrowed it for much longer than expected. Still loaded with junk he was forced to dump it all back out again, this time along the side of our house. (hopefully this is less of and eye soar than our front porch). Of course it had to be pouring rain just to keep things interesting. He finished unloading the truck and returned it to the bishop just in time to witness a complete melt down by yours truly. I was trying to sing to Kennedy to keep her from screaming at me from the pack-n-play while grappling with the hopelessly crooked tiles all on way to little sleep. Tim quickly summed up the situation and sent me upstairs to cool down while he put Kennedy to sleep. After a break and a few prayers, I realized that the tile was not hopeless and that life would go on. So we plugged away until 1 am and finished laying all the tile. Whew! I am getting tired just remembering that horrible night. The happy ending is that the next day upon returning to the scene of the crime, I couldn't even identify the "hopeless" areas. It all looks great and the best part of all is that it's done!
Despite the long hours put in on the house both Friday and Saturday, I really don't have too much to report. Friday the plumber and his buddy patched up our ceiling with a few sheets of drywall. Shannon Dunnigan came over to help me dry lay the tile and snap our guide lines. When Tim got home we started right in on tiling our entry way. Shannon saved the day by taking Kennedy for the night (I'm not sure why we thought we could tile with a two year old running around). Tim manned the saw and mixed the mud while I spread the mortar and placed the tiles. We made quite the team and finished the whole entry way and hall in one night. Saturday I headed off to teach piano and drop Kennedy off for a day at the Howard's (thanks a million) while Tim and a friend from the ward loaded a borrowed truck bed up with all the old tile and trash that had been sitting on our front porch. Saturday was free dump day and we felt our neighbors probably did not appreciate seeing our trash everyday. When I got back we started right back into tiling and before we knew it, the morning was gone and we still hadn't taken our load of trash to the dump. Tim hurried off to do that while I prepped the next section of floor. 45 min later Tim returned home with the truck and the trash. The dump had already closed!!! So now we have a truck bed full of tile and no place to put it. Tim has decided it is not worth the $55 to take it to the landfill today so he plans to dump it all back out (this time on the side of our house under a tarp) and try again in two weeks when it will be free. No fun. The good news is that we got all the tiling done but the pantry closet and doorway out to the garage. I may never stand up straight again after almost 12 hrs on hands and knees, but I think the hunched look is really working for me. We hope to finish up the tile tonight and grout tomorrow. Next up, paint and kitchen backsplash. I better go eat my Wheaties!
With most trials in my life I have to wait a few months/ years to learn how my trial was really blessing in disguise. However, with our recent flood indecent (see day 8) the blessings have become clear much sooner. On Tuesday morning, our state farm agent sent a plumber over to take a look at everything and give us an idea what the damages might cost to repair. Blessing number one, the backerboard we had slaved away at was still usable and would not need to be replaced. (My back thanks him). Blessing number two came when I was finally able to get a hold of the company that did our home inspection. I vaguely remember them saying that their services included a free 90 day home warranty. Sure enough we did have a 90 day policy and by luck (tender mercy) the flood had occurred with just 10 days left on the policy. After talking to the warranty company is looks like they should cover everything with no deducible. That night we celebrated our good fortune by ripping out the dry wall for the backsplash. Nothing makes for a party like demolition duty! Tim also leveled out the landing to the garage using a clever puzzle of wood scraps. We decided to crash at the house that night. Yeah for the air mattress. (this is sarcastic by the way)
Ripping out the wall!
Our fabulous gutted kitchen. Oooo I can't wait for the before and after pics!
Tim keeping things on the level.
Wednesday morning, Paul (the plumber) came over to fix the pipes. It was cool to watch him tear down all the drywall in the ceiling. I've never thought about everything that goes through the walls before. He explained all the pipes and wires. It made for a very educational morning. After exposing the pipes and turning the water back on, we still couldn't find any leaks. After some more detective work, Paul figured out that our upstairs toilet had a been installed or repaired incorrectly so that the water that was supposed to refill the bowl each time we flushed actually returned to the tank. Not only did this cause the water level to rise and overflow, but it also allowed small amounts of bowl water to return to the drinkable water system. GROSS!!! So blessing number three is that without the flood, we could have been drinking toilet water forever. Blessing number four is that if we had not turned the water off Sunday morning before we left, the whole house might have flooded. To repair the toilet would cost 10 dollars less than replacing it (and this was a getto fabulous toilet) so blessing number five is that we got a sweet new toilet. Perhaps the greatest blessing through the whole thing is that while Paul the plumber and his wife (she delivered the new toilet) chatted about life, we got to talking about religion. They knew nothing about Mormons, in fact the wife Susan didn't realize we believed in God. I did my best to explain our beliefs and in the end gave them my spare Book of Mormon I always keep in my car. They seemed very excited to learn about our beliefs and were grateful for the book. I hope they read it. If for no other reason than a chance to share the gospel, I am glad my toilet flooded. After the new toilet was installed and the water turned back on, I cleaned out the washer and dryer and ran a load of towels. Then Kennedy and I cleaned the bathroom. After a poor nights sleep on the air mattress, I was not up for another night of manual labor. Ta-da blessing number sevenelder's quorum showed up and helped Tim with the electrical work and cutting and installing the backerboard for the back splash. I was able to head home and get our apartment put back together and get Kennedy in bed at a decent hour for a change. Things are just working out for us and I know it has nothing to do with us. I am so grateful for the gospel that allows me the faith to get through trials and the knowledge that I am being blessed by them. I know we will continue to be watched over and taken care of and that is a great feeling to move forward with.
Today started like any other day. We decided not to do any work at the house today to give ourselves a much needed break. Instead we wanted to run a few errands and organize the house a little. These plans changed when we arrived at the house tonight to find a puddle of water in the middle of our kitchen dining area and water dripping from the ceiling. It didn't take long to figure out that the water was coming from the upstairs bathroom where another puddle sat behind the toilet. AHHHHHHH!!!! Here are the facts: 1) We were last in the house Sunday night around 8 pm. I dropped in quickly to grab a few things and there was no water issue to be seen. 2) We had turned off the water that morning around 9 am before leaving the house for the day. (We turned off the water each night because of the refrigerator water issue -see day 3) 3) We have done nothing more than flush the upstairs toilet since getting access to the house. 4) The toilet did not appear to have overflown and the previous owners say they never had a problem with the toilet. 5) The upstairs bathroom had no other water except directly behind the sink So.... what the heck happened?????? We got most of the water cleaned up and the dripping contained. Ironically the only backerboard damaged was the part we stayed up until 5 am finishing. I guess we should have called it a night at 11. The drywall on the ceiling will definitely need to be replaced and maybe some of the flooring upstairs. Hopefully that is the extent of the damage. After the first moments of panic and frustration I can't help but think that this might be a blessing in disguise. From what we can tell, the leak or whatever was a plumbing failure and was of no fault of our own. If that is the case than the flood was bound to happen eventually and much better it happen now before we have tile and furniture in the home than after. Our FHE lesson before heading over to the house was from Elder James B Martino's conference address titled "All things work together for our good." I know that the Lord is watching over and blessing us. Thinks will work out even if we have to do extra work. Stay tuned for more exciting adventures in home ownership.
Damaged backerboards and puddle.
Tim removing the light fixture that had filled with water. Note the line of water on the ceiling where the water was dripping down.
The culprit. (Sorry for the sideways pic- I can't get it to rotate)
After our late night on Friday and a cold and uncomfortable night on the air mattress, team Clawson was a little reluctant to get a start on the day. It was apparent that our goal of mudding and laying all the backerboard by noon and starting in on the tile that afternoon was unrealistic (ok insane). I dropped Kennedy off at the Dalebout's for the day (thank you thank you thank you) and stopped off to teach a quick piano lesson while Tim cut the last few pieces of backerboard. When I got to the house I set about leveling the front entry way and a few other areas with mortar that we needed to harden before applying another coat of mortar and the backerboard on top. From this point on the details get a little hazy and I have no idea at what point we were actually ready to lay the mortar and backerboard. I recall dimly needing additonal supplies and a trip to Lowes in the pouring rain. The Jensens brought us Subway at some point (thank you). Tim ran to another hardware store for screws to tighten the sub floor and stop creaks. More rain and cold. Then random sun. I made a trip to 7 eleven for chap stick and ice cream bars. Then came the laying of the backerboard. I estimate this started around 3 pm, but that could be totally wrong. We kicked things off by mixing way too much of the mortar at one time so I was forced to keep going forever with no breaks. (Thin-set only stays usable for so long. Good to know) My job was to lay the mud and locate the piece of backerboard to cover it. Then Tim would help me lay it in place. After it was down, Tim set to fastening it to the subfloor with a ridiculous number of screws. I swear each board needed 30 screws each. Tim calculated that he used around 1500 screws that long long night. So along we went mudding and screw driving long into the night. Around 7 Tim picked up Kennedy from the Dalebout's (again thank you thank you thank out) and took her to the Dunnigans. While he was gone I attempted to lay a piece of backerboard on my own and nearly killed myself. The most frustrating thing was that we forgot to mark where each piece went when we picked them up so it was like doing a giant heavy jigsaw puzzle while watching your step for wet mortar patches and already laid backerboard. I may never do a puzzle again. The Dunnigans dropped Kennedy off (thanks million to you guys too) and checked in on our progress. At this point we had about 3/4 of the floor laid and the question was do we call it a night or do we push on until it's done. Call us crazy, but we put the K to sleep, cranked up the tunes, and laid stupid backer board until 3 in the morning. Tim stayed up and additional two hours completing all the screws. Whew! Just thinking about it makes me tired. We wisely decided to crash on the airbed again that night as driving in our condition was hazardous to both us and those on the roads at that unholy hour. So we woke up Mother's Day dragged our aching bodies out the door and went home to shower, sleep, go to church, and sleep some more. Thank goodness for a day of rest!
Sorry for the delay. I know everyone is at the edge of their seat with our home improvement project and I hate to leave you hanging after the extreme adventures of days 1-4. This past weekend was killer and I am just now recovered enough to report on our latest antics. Friday, day 5 dawned bright and earlier with Kennedy and I setting off for a day of child care. I friend of ours in the ward is graduating from med school and needed someone to watch their 4 girls and visiting relative's 3 boys while they attended the ceremony. Counting Kennedy I had 3 kids under 2 (one a 14 mo old) 4 under age five and a very helpful 8 year old. From 11:30 until 7 pm, I pulled out every babysitting trick I knew to keep those kids entertained. We survived... barely. After such a physically demanding day, I arrived at our new house more dead than alive. We had planned on sleeping at the house that night and already had an air mattress ready for me to flop down on. This I did and the whole family joined me in a much needed power nap. After our nap, I ran out to grab a pizza and treats to fuel our long night ahead. Tim did some final preparations on the sub flood and I set about cutting the door trims so the tile would fit neatly underneath. Once that was done Tim and I started in on the backerboard. For those of you unfamiliar with this building material, it is a cement board that comes in 3' by5' sheets. It is surprisingly heavy and not as easy to cut as the guy at the hardware store let on. We employed several methods to cut these pieces down to size, but the whole project took much longer than anticipated. I finally called it quits around 1 am with 3/4 of the board cut. Tim powered on until all the boards were cut and then crashed for the night.
This will probably a quick post as I am super tired and have a lot to get done today. Yesterday was very productive one for team Clawson. We completed a marathon shopping spree at Lowes. As predicted, we used four carts (one regular cart, two flat push carts, and one wood cart) and spent just over four hours in the store. I would like to give a special thanks to Alise at the check out stand for her patience and speed. We are now the proud owners of several tons of tile and tiling supplies, 6 plus gallons of paint and primer, a neat pile of molding and trim, various tools and supplies, and a troy built 21" push lawn mower. Whew! I still can't believe we got it all home in one trip. Thanks again to the Jensens for car swapping for the day. That explorer can fit everything. I would also like to thank the Howards for watching Kennedy for "a few hours" that turned into just about all night. I don't know how we would have gotten anything done with the runt scurrying around while we tried to shop. After we got out loot back to the homestead and unloaded it, I was suppose to come home and sleep. But there was always just one more thing to do and I ended up putting Kennedy to sleep upstairs and prepping sub floor with Tim until midnight. We had our first experience with mortar as we needed to fill in the gap between the top layer of sub floor and the walls. We kinda winged it with the mixing as we didn't have a beater attachment for the drill yet, but I think our goop looked the same as the demo at out tiling class last week. I stayed and worked with Tim until I finally listened to my tired body and left my super human to finish the rest. The poor man came home around 2 am. He really is amazing! Well I think that was about all from yesterday. Tonight we lay the backer board. We are planning our first sleep over at the new house. (p.s. we got the refrigerator water situation under control and can now turn the water back on for the house. Yeah!) We figured if we are up till 1 am anyways we might as well crash over there. This means that I probably won't get a post up on Saturday as we will push right on to tiling and may not get back to our apartment (and computer) until late. Go Clawsons!