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Monday, April 29, 2013

Dust, Dirt and Grime

We spent the weekend cleaning!
Even though we thought we did a good job of cleaning while the crews were working,

Look at the dust that was on the floors after we pulled up the paper!
This was the third time this floor was cleaned!

Windows got a good cleaning too.
Yes, Flower Boy does windows!

Drewman mops floors too!
I just didn't get a picture of that.

I painted under the sink cabinets and the walls behind where the appliances will set.

The appliances were also moved into the house.
Cooper arrived at the perfect time!

The plumbers still have to connect the water line to the fridge, connect the gas line to the stove, connect the water line and drain to the dishwasher, connect the garbage disposal, set the sinks and set the tub.

The mud and tape guys arrived on Friday to do touch ups.

The painter arrived Saturday to paint the garage door brown, like the exterior trim, and do touch ups, as well.

We made our final trip to Lowe's on Sunday.
We picked up all the cleaning supplies and some last minute items needed to finish the floors.

There is plenty of cleaning to remove all the dust, dirt and grime, before we can seal the floors.
So to those that volunteered to help clean, we will be cleaning the remainder of the week.
No appointment needed!
Just come on out!

In Need Of A Manicure And Massage

Friday, April 26, 2013

Wrapping Up

Things are wrapping up in the house, as far as construction goes.

Yesterday, the back splashes were laid.

The kitchen back splash is a simple 3 x 6 tumbled marble tile, laid in a brick pattern.
We chose to have them dry stacked, so there will be no grout lines.
We like the look and think the tile blends well with the chiseled edge of the concrete countertops.

The bathroom vanities and the laundry room vanity all have the 4 x 4 tumbled marble tiles that are in the feature strips of the showers.
These will be grouted to match the shower grout in each bathroom.

This is the tub surround.
We chose to use the same feature strip that is in Flower Boy's shower.
Grouting should be taking place today.
The sinks and tub should be set tomorrow.

Speaking of the tub...
This little baby cleaned up nice!
Don't you think?
Who would have thought it had been in the HOUSE FIRE!

The hot water tanks have also been installed.
The electrician just needs to connect them.

Drewman's shower fixtures have been installed.

As well as, his toilet.
Man!  His floor is a mess!

This brings us to the next stage of the process...

After all the construction is complete in the house,
WE still have to seal the pallet wood floor.
(I still have to blog on it too.)
WE still have to seal the penny shower floor.
WE still have to finish and seal the paper bag floor.
WE still have to apply the finish to the paver brick floor.
WE still have to clean the entire house!

The appliances were delivered this week.
They are setting in the garage waiting on us.

We made a trip to Grove to pick up bedroom furniture, last weekend.
We purchased the bedroom furniture from my aunt and uncle.
They have "out grown" it, so to speak.
They wanted a different style of furniture and what they had is the perfect RANCHEY style for us!

We also have the remainder of the house furniture stored at The Santa Fe Furniture Company, just waiting to be delivered.

The phone company will be connecting the house phone.
The propane company is on standby to set the propane tank.
The satellite company is also on standby to install the service.

It is nice to be wrapping things up and checking final things off our list.
We are ready to be in the house.
We are tired and need naps.

Anyone up for a cleaning party?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Adventures In Concrete Countertops

We have had quite an adventure with the concrete countertops.
Some might even look back and think, granite would have been a better choice.
These babies were worth the wait!

The forms went up on the countertops towards the end of March.
All the cabinets were draped in plastic and taped off, so not to get any concrete, stain or sealer on them.
Rubber forms were set into the wooden supports.
The rubber form is what gives the "look" to the edge of the concrete.
We chose the chiseled edge "look".
Buck had a problem finding enough chiseled edge form to do our counters.
He mentioned we have over 90 feet of forms needed for the house.
This was the largest countertop job Buck had ever done.
As always, Buck came through!
He found the forms!

In past posts, we have shared Buck's craftsmanship and talents he has in providing us our "Ranchey" home.
And now the countertops.

Buck has his own blend or mixture of concrete for the countertops, just like he has his own blend of stain he used on our floors.

Buck and crew poured our countertops on April 5.
You might be thinking...
 "Wait!  Your completion date was April 4th."
Yes, but we pushed the date back.
If you remember, Flower Boy was gone for two weeks.
With him being gone, Drewman and I couldn't do everything.
We felt it best to push back the date, rather than rush the crews and have mistakes or problems later.
We are so glad we did!

A few days later, Buck pulled the forms.

Check out that chiseled edge!

The countertops set for a few more days to cure.
Buck and crew came back in, to start the staining process.
This process takes several applications and is the most time consuming.

The first application.
We chose two different stains.
Walnut and Cola
These are acid stains.
They burn into the concrete and stain cloths!
Just ask Flower Boy about a brand new pair of jeans...
Walnut is a very difficult stain to work with.
 Normally it takes several applications to get the desired look.

The next evening after the first application was applied, I came home and called Flower Boy.
"Buck is having some problems.  I'm not sure what is wrong, but something is happening.  He has everything draped off and there is a huge sander in the house."
All the crews know not to call me.
Flower Boy is the go to guy!
He keeps me calm and explains things to me, in a manner that I won't panic.
No calls came in...
We trust Buck!
He understands what we want.
We communicate very well.
He "gets" us!

The night Flower Boy got home from his two week training,
Buck explains the problems he was having.
Apparently the walnut stain "took" so well, it turned everything black.
Buck knew that was not the look we were going for.
He worked his concrete magic and got the walnut to have the color variation we wanted.

At this point, Buck and crew taped off some of the countertops to apply the cola stain.
I requested "rivers" of cola running through the countertops.
My vision was a creek bed or river bed look.
Buck and crew did such an amazing job of laying out my vision!
They started the "rivers" in Drewman's bathroom and finished them on the tub deck in our bathroom.
They are all lined up and continuously flowing the entire length of the house!
I don't know the amount of time it took for the guys to lay it out, but I was so excited to see it!

Of course, they had to set for a few more days.
Then the paper was pulled.
Buck knocked this one out of the park!

The base coat of sealer went on.
The colors POPPED!!
Check out that variation and blend!
I almost hate to have the sinks cover it up.

Yesterday, Buck and Nick finished with the final coat of sealer.

Drewman's Bathroom

The Island

The Kitchen Countertop

The Small Kitchen Countertop

Our Vanity Top

The Tub Deck
Sorry, I didn't get a photo of the entire tub deck.
You will have to see that in person.
It is my favorite!
and Buck's.

The detail on this work is fabulous!
Buck and Nick have spent many hours away from their families!
All to make my vision come to reality!
We couldn't be more thankful!
We believe we have formed a relationship with Buck that is a friendship of a lifetime.
Buck was the person that laid out our house on the first day of construction and has been with us through the entire process.
He and The Builder are not just folks that draw a paycheck!
They hold a special place in our hearts and always will!

Our hats are off to you, Buck!
Take a bow!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Heavy Hearts

Today, I am tired.
Tired in an exhausted from working so hard kind of way,
but also tired in a heavy heart kind of way.

So many bad things have happened in the news this week.

The Boston Marathon Explosion weighs heavy on my heart because I use to run.
I never called myself a runner, although I ran several 5K's.
I'm not sure I ever got to the point where I could run the entire 3.1 miles without walking or taking a break to catch my breath.
Running was something I really enjoyed!
I will run again.
Things just need to settle down a bit in my life.

I loved the feeling of crossing the finish line and looking at the time as I crossed.
I am not a fast finisher!
The important thing was that I finished.

I can't begin to imagine how those runners felt on Monday when they couldn't cross that finish line.
Or, when they arrived at the last leg of the race to find the aftermath of the explosions.

How can one or two people ruin the glory of so many? 

Another thing weighing heavy on my heart is the West, Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion.
Several things hit home.
One being, West, Texas is a small town.
The citizens of that town rely on the fertilizer plant as their source of income.
We live in a small town.
Our small town has done so much for us during our loss.
Our town, too, has a manufacturing plant that the town relies on to remain on the map.

Two being, the explosion was the same type of fertilizer that was used in the Oklahoma City Bombing.
The Oklahoma City Bombing's 18th anniversary is tomorrow, April 19, 2013.
I remember April 19, 1995 like it was yesterday.
I was pregnant with Drewman.
I was setting at my desk.
My office was located in a glass octagon building, on the second floor.
My office chair shook and the glass of the building rattled.
A few moments later, my heart sank as I heard the news on the radio.

Later that week, Timothy McVeigh was being held in our local courthouse as the key suspect of the bombing!

Sunday, April 28th will be The 13th Annual Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.

For me, this is where this story ties together. 

A few years ago, 4 girl friends and I ran the relay portion of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.
It was one of the most moving races I ran.
It wasn't personal.
It was being a part of a group to memorialize the victims.

Tomorrow at 9:02am, I will have a heavy heart as I did 18 years ago setting in my office chair.

The morning of the 28th, at sunrise, I will have a heavy heart for all those runners.
I know they will have fear as they run to memorialize the victims of such tragic events.
Some will run for the OKC victims.
Some will run for the Boston victims.
Some will run for the West, Texas victims.
Some will run for victims of cancer, defects and other diseases.
Some will just run.
ALL will have fear and heavy hearts.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Flower Boy receives the BEEF Newsletter each week.
This week's newsletter had some very interesting advice.
We believe it is something we follow and work towards everyday.

The first article is,
In this article a few things stand out.

"She can plan on getting coveralls and boots for at least one holiday or birthday during her marriage."
I received a pair of MUCK Chore Boots for Valentines, one year.
Zero complaints here!

There is also mention of "Shotgun Duty".
This is the job of opening and closing gates.
Those that ride "Shotgun" get gate duty.
I, however, am spoiled!
Flower Boy doesn't follow the "Shotgun Duty" rule.
I do open gates, but it is normally when the temperatures are nice and warm.
Winter chores, I just set in the truck.

In this article, the last thing that stands out, to us, is
"You Call Checking Cows A Date Night?"
Some of our most memorable moments have been while checking cows.

In another article, there are 13 tips we live by!
Of those 13, the one that is first, for us, is 
“God needs to be the center because with Him, the years ahead will be much more fulfilling.”
If you keep up with this blog, there is no explanation needed.
If this is the first time to read our blog, dig a little deeper.  
You will understand. 

The other tips in this article are;
Appreciate each other
Share similar goals and dreams
Enjoy working together
Don’t sweat the small stuff but stay strong on the stuff that counts
It’s okay to do your own thing, too
Two heads are better than one
Remember that marriage is a partnership
Respect each other
Always kiss each other good night
Work hard but play, too
Don’t take things for granted

We could relate to every word of these two articles.
There is always something that needs fixin' on the ranch!
What happens at the pens stays at the pens!
"Don't expect any more or less than to be working the chute, getting crapped on by cows and yelled at by your loving husband."
Most of the time, the yelling isn't remembered or meant towards the other.
A call saying "Cattle are out." will get either of us moving faster than anything.
Working together to solve a problem, although my mind works differently than Flower Boy's, we find the solution.
There was a moment during this post, that we both had to walk away for a bit. (Flames... not good)
"In order to make tomorrow better, we have to give it all we have today."
We each do things the other can't.
Ranching is in our blood!
It's what we work and fight for!

They don't write books on this stuff.
Ranching and Farming is a way of life.
You figure it out as you go along.
You learn from others.
Each day teaches us new lessons.

Although Flower Boy and I aren't married, YET (that is another post),
We are glad to know we are on the right track and live our lives by this advice.
Most of the advice was given by couples married for 40+ years.
That makes us smile.
It's all worth it!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Heads Up

In the post "Today Is My Birthday", I gave you a sneak peek of a project I believe has changed me more than any other project we have completed, during the house build.

Here is the Heads Up on how it all went down!

From the day we set down with my Uncie, to draw up the new house plan, I have had a vision of a
Heads Up Penny Floor in Flower Boy's Shower!

I wanted to use the slate tile we already had on hand.
I wanted three, yes 3, shower heads in that shower.
I wanted a clear glass shower door.
I wanted that shower to be 4 feet wide and 5 feet long.
I wanted the pennies to be ALL heads up.
I wanted to grout the pennies with black grout.
I wanted to seal the pennies with a water proof sealer to protect them.

Of course, with all the visions I have had going into this house build, I had no idea how to do the project.
Flower Boy stood with me on my vision.
He and I have researched, called, talked to professionals and reviewed different scenarios in our heads.
There were so many nay sayers, with only a few understanding my vision.

Pinterest became our best resource.
I found a photo, there, of a shower with the slate tile and the penny floor.
We spent countless hours attempting to track down the original shower.
We never found THAT shower, but did find a person who did a mosaic shower with a penny floor.
We followed those instructions.

The glue we used is WeldBond.
And boy does it work!
The bottle says it "Bonds Most Anything!"
I smeared some on a pair of pants and it is still there after several washings.

All it takes is one single drop!

Flower Boy set the pattern with the pennies.

Then it was smooth sailing!
For me, this is where everything CHANGED.
I realized with each penny I was picking up, I was focusing on their placement.
Each penny would slide into place without hesitation or problems seating.
I would pick up each penny, making sure to place the drop of glue on the tails side, then push it onto the floor.
As I worked,
I was focusing more on the "In God We Trust" than I was on the actual Heads Up of the penny.

There is a reason I wanted the pennies all Heads Up.
I thought it was due to the fact that Flower Boy WILL NOT pick up a penny unless it is Heads Up.
Now, I KNOW it is because of the words written on the Heads Up side.
"In God We Trust" says it ALL!
Through our entire journey, from the day of the house fire,
We have placed our faith and trust in God to guide, protect and direct us, to where we are today and into our future.
The placement of all 5382 pennies was my confirmation.
Not one single penny was cut to be placed on the shower floor.

After all the pennies were put in place, we allowed it to set for a few days to insure the glue dried and the pennies were set.
We then applied black sanded grout to the floor.

Then we wiped it clean.

You will notice around the drain there are four pennies above and four pennies below.
These stand alone for a reason.
The top four are the birth years of My Daddy, Our Big Kids and Drewman.
My Daddy's birth year is 1941.
This is the only wheat penny on the floor.
The lower four are a 2012, Flower Boy's birth year, my birth year and a 2013.
2012 and 2013 signifying the loss of the old house and the birth of the new house.

The floor will be sealed with a two part epoxy after all the construction is finished in the house.
We want the house to be dust free when the epoxy is applied.
No one wants dust particles or dirt affecting the look of this amazing floor.
We will also add a small bit of grit to the top of the epoxy.
It will prevent slipping but you won't be able to see the grit.

During this project I was reminded of a poem titled
"Pennies from Heaven"

I found a penny today
just laying on the ground
But it’s not just a penny
this little coin I’ve found
“Found” pennies come from heaven
that’s what my Grandpa told me
He said angels toss them down
oh, how I loved that story
He said when an angel misses you
they toss a penny down
Sometimes just to cheer you up
make a smile out of your frown
So don’t pass by that penny
when you’re feeling blue
It may be a penny from heaven
that an angel tossed to you
The poem has added to what CHANGED me.
No other words are needed here.
My Daddy is My Angel

Friday, April 12, 2013

It's Been Awhile

It's been awhile since our last post.
One week to be exact!
That seems like forever to you, I know.
We have found a way to have visitors at the house...
Don't blog and folks want to see what we are doing.

Flower Boy has been gone doing training for his job.
Drewman and I have been keeping the ranch running, going to work and school, filling out award applications and preparing for Drewman's upcoming ACT and AP testing.

There hasn't been much going on in the house, on our end.

Counter tops have been poured.
Here's a sneak peek...
Buck and Nick have spent a few nights away from their families during our house build.
We are thankful for them, but hate that we have kept them from their wives and children.
They are working very hard to make our counter tops original and exactly what we want.
It's a process to construct beautiful concrete counter tops!
I can't wait to blog about them.
For now, Thanks to Buck and Nick!
We DO appreciate you!

We also have mirrors in the bathrooms.

As well as, a garage door opener.

The shower door has been installed on the master shower.
All that is left to do there is finish the floor.
I can't wait to blog on this one too!

The best part of our past week is...
We have been very fortunate to not have to haul water to our cattle.
Several of our ponds were VERY low!
Thankful for the amount of moisture God has granted us and praying it continues.

Although we have backed our target date, for completion of the house, up a few weeks,
We believe it was a good decision.
These past two weeks have been very stressful, on all of us, with Flower Boy being away.
Drewman and I could not have completed much, without Flower Boy being here.
We are glad he is home!

Time to get back to the flooring projects!
It's Been Awhile!