Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Its Starting to Look Like a Home

Saturday I picked up some hours in a nearby facility so that i could add to my furniture/decorating fund. There is also a honeymoon fund, wedding fund, hardwood floor fund, glass display case fund, scrapbook fund, model airplane fund and on and on and on and on :) Anyway, I put in several hours and hurried home to work on the house. I knew the library needed at least one more coat of paint and then it would be on to the dreaded kitchen with all its tiny spaces and corners. I arrived home to find Tom and Matt painting our kitchen. I was so excited, what an excellent surprise! The paint covered really well (finally! a room that wasn't a two or three coater) and with three people went on very quickly. The main downstairs rooms are all painted. There is a short hallway and a bathroom that still needs some color, but i am totally stuck on ideas for those spaces, so they will have to remain as is for awhile.

The colors are giving the house more personality and i think once we get some furniture moved in it might start to sink in that i really get to keep this house! Tom and I spend a good portion of Sunday furniture shopping and did decide on a couch and loveseat set that we liked for the den. There is also an ottoman/coffee table and a small chair that i can't wait to sit and read a book in. I picked up a new book to read the other week and now i am saving it just for that chair. My little reward for getting my apartment packed up. Hopefully they will deliver the furniture before the end of the week! We would love a flat screen TV for above the fireplace, but that will have to wait until we have things to sit on, things to eat on and things to sleep on. Oh and something to dry our cloths in. Mom is gifting me her old washer, but the dryer is dead. That or its the one that made the horrid screeching noise all the way through the cycle.

My moving day is Sunday, awkward, but that’s the way it worked out with the elevator schedule. I don't think my apartment will be completely packed by then, but we will be able to move out all the furniture and large items. I can't wait to actually live in this house!


these are good men, i love them

thank you matt!!

library, the flash gives it a pink hue, its actually a deeper color, more of a plum or dark wine shade

my fantastic kitchen color, I am so pleased with how it turned out
someday i would love matching appliances, but these work and are in excellent condition, so no new matching stuff for me yet!

the dinning area and den
 Please excuse the mess, its more of a work space than a home right now!

~ Dori ~

PS someday i promise to write about something that has nothing to do with our house!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mowing the Lawn

For those of you who don't know, I grew up in tiny Arthur, Illinois, population 2100 (hey, that’s what the sign said as you drove into town). I am an only child and I lived in a small two-bedroom house. It had one little bathroom and it was heated by... well, I have no idea what kind of heating system it was. I just know that it blew hot air strait out the heater and I loved to sit in front of it, especially when my hair was wet or I was cold. OK, I’m getting distracted. This post is supposed to be about mowing the lawn! Anyway, small town life can get a little slow, especially in the summer when most of your friends live out of walking distance. My main chores growing up were 1. Fold laundry 2. Put laundry away 3. Wash the dishes 4. Clean the bathroom 5. MOW THE LAWN. I emphasis this because one summer, with my friends out of town, I developed a phrase my mother hated. "I'm bored." So my mother said, "Every time you say that you are going to either mow the lawn or wash the dishes" Now seriously people, there are only so many dirty dishes, and really how often can you mow a lawn? But let me just say, for the record: It is a BAD idea to test your mother. The dishes were always clean that summer. And believe me when I say, you can mow a lawn about every 3 days. No really, its possible! So I am good at mowing lawns. I haven't had to do this in a very long time, but believe me, it’s a skill you don't really loose over time. So, when we bought our new house, it became clear that Tom intends to be the man of the yard. Excellent, this works for me. I'm all for some good old-fashioned "man of the house" behavior.

Now, lets take a very brief look at Tom's background. He did not grow up in a small town, he did not grow up an only child and he did not have a yard (at least not one that took like two hours to mow with a self propelled push mower 3 times a week that one summer that I tried to test my mother). Now I know this about Tom and yet, it’s just not sinking in. He calls like 4 times when he’s trying to buy a mower to discuss what kind we should get. He debates the pros and cons. He researches different kinds, debates if he really needs self propelled or just a push mower. Now I'm not poking fun at Tom, I'm poking fun at myself. Because I am impulsive and I have what Tom calls a “devil may care” attitude. I prefer to reframe that like any good social worker. My reframe is this; I worry less than he does:) Tom thinks things through, researches, makes sure hes getting what he really wants and needs. (meanwhile I am still trying to figure out why this is so difficult, its just a mower) We finally get the mower and I’ve got to pack an apartment full of stuff so I want to go back to my place. And Tom is looking for the choke, and I’m half annoyed because I know you only need to prime the motor in an old lawn mower. And he seems to want me to stick around at least for part of this seemingly significant event. And then it finally hits me, what should have been crystal clear all along. He's never mowed a lawn before, at least not a big lawn that requires a self-propelled mower. Duh, he’s told me this, but it doesn't quite sink in until that moment. This is why what lawn mower to buy was something that required serious consideration. This is why he wants me to hang around for a bit. This is why a girl should really listen to her fiancĂ©! So Tom got a lesson on how to mow a lawn and I got a reminder that, as a social worker, I really shouldn't need: Not everyone grew up in Arthur, IL and mowed the lawn at least twice a week growing up. So here are some pictures of my man and his mower!

Tom's bright shiny red mower

My handsome man working in his yard!

had to put this in here - please note the U of I hoodie!!
haha, busted sportin' the orange!

Finished product! Nicely done honey!!

Oh, and just one final note - I found out years later that because of that summer of constant yard mowing, the neighbor boys used to refer to me as "lawn mower lady" Thanks mom.
~ Dori ~

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fall Fun

We are loving being homeowners, but with all the painting and packing going on we were missing out on fall in indiana. So we took a little break for some time with friends and pumpkin carving...
Originally we were looking for a pumpkin farm, but that was a little harder to find then we first thought, so we stopped at this roadside stand

Pumpkins selected! (notice the tiny one in Kevin's right hand; that's for baby Nolan)

Here's our loot! Pumpkins for Tom, Dori, Crash and Ducky. Spagettie and Butternut squash for eating, as well as some fresh green beans
I LOVE cooking in my kitchen, this is way better than apartment appliances!

Dinner; chicken and fresh green beans in front of our fireplace

It was a perfect evening!

may the pumpkin festivities begin!

Digging the junk out


Happy Pumpkin, with a great little tooth
(Tom drew my idea for me, i am not so artistic!)

Tom's Puking Pumpkin (ewe), but i have to admit, i laughed!
he had way to much fun with this

our porch pumpkins!


Monday, October 12, 2009


...the main hallway, formal room, stairway and upper hallway are done.

- Tom

House painting and family bonding

As promised, here are a few pictures of the inside of our new home. Thanks to Mom, Dad, Steve and Grammy (I still can't believe that name stuck) our house is becoming a home that represents our personalities. We put in a LOT of work in two days and I am so very thankful my family took time out of their busy lives to help us get started on our redecorating mission! Tom and I went to Lowe's on Wednesday evening and got our first buckets of paint - base coat for the master bedroom, paint for the "formal" living room (there's also a den) and paint for the guest room. On Thursday morning I got up early and headed to Lowe's again, this time to pick up lighting for the kitchen and dining area. Tom had to work so he missed out on a lot of the fun, but hey, we gotta actually pay for the house :) By noon my family arrived and the painting fun began.

There is a leaf blower in my kitchen! (also, it looks like my mother is sitting on my fathers head)

Grandma and mom took one look at the ceilings and declared that a paint job was in order. Steve manned the roller and within two days ALL the ceilings were bright white and clean! In this pic Steve is painting what will be my craft room for scrapbooking, origami, card making and whatever else I end up playing with.

Yes, that's a leaf blower. It's set to vacuum mode and my dad is cleaning out the bathroom vent. He had way to much fun with that (Also, i would like to point out that once the house is painted and we are moved in, no leaf blower will be used as a household appliance! I don't care how much Dad and Tom beg!!)

"Thomas, get the camera out of the way before I mask it!"

"Wake up sleepyheads, we gots paintin' to do!"

 Solution to sleepy slaves - provide coffee in large quantities

Ahhh, much better, the work continues with the master bedroom!

More trimming

Grammy is hard at work in the master bedroom. There is a small vanity outside the master bathroom which i am sure i will enjoy. The former owners left me a vanity chair. Its quite gold. Tom's gonna spray paint it black for me so it blends in a little better.

Steve is still painting ceilings

Dad is done with the leaf blower

Trimming the guest room

Guest room, coming along nicely (FYI - that color turned out much darker!)

Lunch time!

Rolling the wall in the formal living room - there was actually a giant paint run exactly where this picture is taken, probably i was making that mistake as the picture is being snapped. I tried blaming it on my mother, but seeing as i was caught on film roller in hand, i was totally busted (oops!)

Formal Living Room - this picture is taken from the entry way of the house
Dad is updating the lighting - he is rather proud of his work :) So am I, it looks great!

Our kitchen has become a work station. I can't wait to actually get paint on the walls, stuff moved in and actually live in this space!

Buddy, my parents dog. Hes guarding the steps :)

Steve, paint warrior!

That's it for the pictures! There were a few other really fun things that happened during these two days that we did not manage to catch on film. Tom and I treated the "slaves" to dinner at Kona Jack's (in case anyone is wanting some trivia, that is also where Tom took me on our very first date). It was a wonderful meal and I am very grateful that Tom thought of the location, I couldn't think of anything and we would have settled on a boring chain restaurant had he not thought of that. Also, UPS delivered Tom's laser level and the UPS man said "Is this the Choy residence?" Ok, its a small thing but I grinned like an fool for an hour. And finally, Jen and baby Nolan stopped by to say hi to my family and see the house. It was so fun to have just have someone drop in randomly. Again, a small thing, but a great reminder that we have a home and friends close enough to just make a quick visit. No planning or buzzing in to the building required!

Right now i am in Grand Rapids, MI for work. I miss working on our house and I feel bad because Tom continues to spend his evenings painting and fixing up while i hang out in a hotel room out of state. I am blessed with a fiance who is willing to keep working on stuff, even when he has to do it alone.


Sunday, October 11, 2009


To prepare for moving in, we're painting the house first.  It occured to us that the house felt like it had no personality for some reason and it finally dawned on us that it was because all of the walls of the house were white.  Further investigation revealed that the walls were originally blue or pink upstairs, and bright red in the basement.  I can't imagine what the other rooms were.  Fortunately the white paint offered good coverage for our paint project.

Dori's parents, Grammy and Steve were kind enough to come by to help out with the initial painting on Thursday and Friday.  Steve's being in town was also so that he could drive Grammy home for her surprise (while she spent the last week and a half at Cliff and Doris', Steve and JD had ripped out the linoneum in her kitchen and replaced it with some nice ceramic tile).  She's going to have quite the surprise when she gets home!

In the last few days, I've discovered the following:

1) I hate painting ceilings;
2) I hate masking;
3) I especially hate painting stairways;
4) Paint is bloody expensive.

We did discover that our paint of choice is Valspar.  It's about $32 a gallon but we're getting a $5 rebate per can, which is great since I think we've bought 10 gallons of various colors so far.  As of writing, the front door is done, the formal room, main hallway, stairwell and guest room are done; the master bedroom is partially done (base color is complete but we still need to mask for the stripes), and the rest has yet to be started.  The basement will be left alone as the flat  white paint and flourescent light is a great combination for airbrushing.

We've also starting replacing the faux gold hardware throughout the house, such as the locks and the kitchen light.  The dining area chandelier is being replaced too, though we haven't installed that yet.  The old dining room, which will be converted into a library, will have that faux gold chandelier replaced with a Tiffany lamp, which would go great with the color we've picked and the built-in bookshelves that we've convinced Cliff to build for us.

So we've pretty much been at the house at one point or another ever since we took possession of the house, and four days since we really started working on it.  Today was the "lightest" of the work days, with most of the day spent at Lowe's picking up the last of the paint, combing Craigslist for a lawn mower, spending some chill time watching football with Jen and Kevin, and 2 hours getting the stairway done.  It's starting to feel like some progress is done as I'll be done with this color tomorrow, and I'll be able to start on the library Tuesday, and the den on Wednesday.

Alright, it's 1:15am, I'm exhausted, and I need to get some sleep.  Hopefully all of that stuff I typed made sense.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Year In Review (well, more than a year really)

October 6 was my 31st birthday. It slipped by without much fanfare this year for multiple reasons (it was on a tuesday, we had a wedding the weekend before, we're busy with home ownership, blah blah blah). Tom did take me to a local eatery which turned out to be not as nice of an environment for a quiet birthday dinner (bit more sports bar than we expected) BUT had fantastic food. And since Tom knew the chef we got to chat with the chef and owner for a bit, which was also very fun. As usual, Tom treated me like a queen and the evening was special and memorable.

At 31 your a bit old for gifts, but i might have to laugh about this years loot. Grandma gave me a lovely card and some money (thanks you Grammy!), Tom is taking me to Bloomington for some book shopping fun in a few weeks and (this is my moment of grownupness) my parents bought me a 6 foot step ladder. Now seeing as we are painting a house and had no ladder, this is a very practical and useful gift. At first, I must admit, i was a bit dissapointed. But then two things hit me. 1. those things are expensive and we really really need one 2. i'm getting married. Which means this is the gift that keeps on giveing. Tom can use my birthday gift for all kinds of things!! Hanging Christmas lights, changing light fixtures and light bulbs, cleaning vents, chasing cats out of trees, painting, washing windows and siding... the list goes on and on. (I am in SO much trouble when he sees this :)

I've mentioned before in this blog that it has been a very blessed year and hands down the best year of my life. I won't bore you with details, its pretty obvious just looking at this page that this is deffinatly a mountian year, not a valley year. I would however like to take a few moments, in pictures, to share with you some of the people who were with me and supported me in those years that were good in their own way, but not always as fun and joyful as this one has been.

krissa and i met in CA, while working in what is still the toughest job i have ever had. She became a life long friend and we shared many things, including being single longer than basically all of our friends. (she was one of the people who talked me into eharmony and was married the weekend before i met tom)

Meet Laura, (you know, Greg's wife, Laura!). I met Laura through her husband, who i worked with at Oaklawn. We quickly developed a friendship and for a long time we laughed because everyone called her "Greg's wife, Laura" Because we all new Greg, but Laura was new to us. She and Greg have moved to Kansas and I miss her lots! (Greg and Luke are featured in my last blog)

Meet Jen, mother of Nolan, wife of Kevin. I met Jen, like nearly all of my close friends, at Oaklawn. She is a women of much grace and compassion and I am blessed to call her my friend (and neigbor!) Jen has had a very busy year as well, she graduated with her MSW, moved into a new home and had a child within the last year!

This is Kevin on his 27th? birthday. I think it was before he was "officially" dating Jen. (he is pictured with Krista, who we miss because she ditched us for London!) Kevin is a man of intensity (and we love him for it!), as well as very supportive and understanding friend and somehow after a few years i once again find myself living within walking distance of his house.

Janellie!!! Ok, i'm the only one who calls her that. Meet Janelle, my cousin and wonderful friend. We have shared many fun adventures together including a road trip from San Fransisco, CA to Arthur, IL when i moved back to the midwest after spending some time in California. We also used to share "car issues" For several years, when she drove a neon and i drove a saturn, what happened to one would happen to the other. If she got pulled over, i was gonna get pulled over soon. I need new tires? So will janelle! Oh, and if one locks her keys in the car, the other better beware, it will happen within a few weeks! We now both have "healthy" cars. But we still drive to fast, get lost and lose our keys!

Phill!! I miss Phil! He used to live across the hall and within walking distance of my house. Then he moved and i moved and life went into fast forward. You can meet Phil at the wedding, hes gonna be an usher (i wonder if he would be willing to be the sound guy too?)

My mom and "sister aunts" (with Justin in the background) The older i get they more they become friends and sisters more than just aunts. They allow me to play "aunt" to their children and Karen is my "other mother" and is the one and only reason i ever had clean cloths during grad school

There are many people that i don't seem to have pictures of (i've crashed more than one computer, i think it was 5 in the last 3 - 4 years at last count)... Eric, Matt, Erin, Steve ("the uncle"), many family members and friends. the little photo review wasn't meant to be all inclusive. Its just a little walk down memory lane and a review of a very small percentage of the people who have blessed by life over the years. Thanks you.


PS It seems i forgot to download the pictures off of Tom's camera, so the latest updates on house paining will be blogged soon. Probably tomorrow or monday