Friday, December 30, 2011

Man Gift to My Wife Pt. 5

Alright so this is the final installation in my home improvement projects for now that I promised to Renae by the New Years (it wasn't that she was really asking, these are just some things that have been on our list for a while that I knew I had time to get done).

When we first moved in, the living room was where I wanted to concentrate all of my efforts. Realistically though we thought that we should just make it livable at the moment, and then come back to it later. One of the things that I wanted to do was to add recessed lighting....Renae said no.

I also wanted to update the lighting in the kitchen because I hated the ugly lights that came with the house. We looked a few different options for lighting in the kitchen, but they were all pretty expensive. For example, just to replace the two existing lights with decent looking fixtures we were talking at minimum $120. That was not ideal to me, because I wanted to brighten up the room...not just pay a lot for more shadows.

Real quick run-down of how awesome this little project turned out to be...it was such a blessing. I ended up creating an estimate for the products needed to complete this project. To run all the wire, add lights, get the covers, the bulbs, all the little things that people usually forget about I came up with our number. Then I hit all sorts of good deals on the supplies and my dad was clutch by providing us with some free electrical wire, we ended up basically doing the living room lights and getting the kitchen for almost free!!!!

Enough of that, here are the pictures:
Kitchen Lights
Notice the ugly light fixtures. In their defense they  do not have their glassware on, but the glass only made it darker in the kitchen.

Note to anyone doing things in their ceilings when they do not have a basement...you are most likely going to find all sorts of wires and pipes running through your ceilings which may alter your original plans :) I found this out during this project.

Two recessed light housings in, and working on the third one for this run. Dad was getting the bulbs in for the test.

As you can see here, I cut the hole perfectly the first time...and just my luck I hit hot and cold water pipes for the bathroom :-D Not a problem though, just move the hole.

Then we began working on the second run of lights.

We had Renae be our official "Light Tester" on the first bank. It was crucial to finally have a light over the sink so we weren't working in the darkness anymore.
This was the second light that gave me issues. There was a sewage pipe for the toilet right in the center of this cut. The shallow style housing wouldn't fit by like 1/6 of an inch. So...move the hole.

Gave a shot at throwing some mud on the patches...I'm not that great with spackle.

Threw some paint over the sanded mud, and now it's time to let it dry over night.
All done in the kitchen...well for now, I can't wait to get my hands on the kitchen updates.

Living Room Lights
The before shot...sorry that it's so dark.

The other angle before shot.

I had tons of help between my dad and my son helping me out. Here Logan was helping me to adjust the template to trace for the cut.

Luckily we were able to run all the wire we needed with less trouble than I thought we would have.

Running the wire was fun, we had to notch out holes at every joist, but my dad had a new "toy" that we used that made our lives so much easier! Thank you Milwaukee tools!

We called in Renae to give the official test once the lights were up and wired...they all worked like a charm.

Those pesky little notches needed to be metal plated to protect the wire and then filled in with patches and covered with mud.

All holes are patched and drying...ready to be painted.

Nice little toggle dimmer switches to control the lighting.

Patches painted and waiting to dry.
All done in the living room...except for newer furnishings and wall decorations.

The right side.

The left side.

A Little Something Extra:
Blow Out Patches
I owe this to a friend of mine who taught me this little trick. To fill in holes when mudding try using a blow out patch it looks like this:
Cut out a rectangle or square of the drywall that is big enough to cover your hole....even leave some extra room for plenty of overlapping.

Then flip the drywall over and cut of the size you need. This one was used to cover that big hole I made that was under the water pipes. Gently cut and break away the piece that you don't need leaving the paper on the front. Then when you are ready, load the parts of paper with mud, throw it into the hole and secure it (usually with a small piece of wood that you anchor in the hole) and the smooth out the mud from behind the paper and cover the patch.

Christmas with the Crnks

The first part of Christmas day was spent with my family (the Reigners) at Uncle Eric and Aunt Carol's house. We had an awesome time with them in the morning and left in the afternoon to head back to our house. This was a special Christmas day, not only because it was Logan's first Christmas but also because it was the first time that Renae and I have ever hosted her families Christmas day events. It was nice to finally not have to drive to three different locations on Christmas and we were excited to have our home be used for this exciting time of the year.

We got home and made sure that everything was in order, we took the dog out, fed the baby and began setting up the tables. Before we knew it family was showing up and the food table was getting filled up. We weren't exactly sure when all of the family would show up so Renae's mom decided that we could share that time as the immediate family with opening our gifts. It was nice to have everyone cozied up in the living room opening presents and sharing stories.

Midway through opening gifts Nana and the rest of the family arrived. The living room became packed and the conversations began to flow. I took a moment just to step back and realize that this was our house filled with our family. That was huge because that is something that Renae and I have wanted to do for such a long time, but never we able to do because of living in tiny apartments.

We had Christmas dinner together. My Mom-Mom, Grandpa and Aunt Megan showed up later in the evening to be with us and Renae's family. It was overall a great time. We were a little worried about having space for everyone, but now realize that our house is comfy and cozy and can fit close to 20 people without feeling too overcrowded.

Here are some pictures from Part 2 of Christmas Day:

Mommy and Logan opening up Round #2 Gift #1 on Christmas day!

Logan not sure whether he should play with the screw driver or take the bow off of his head.
Oma showing Logan how to use the stacking ring set.

All the siblings together for Christmas...Uncle Mark, Renae, Uncle Ryan and Galina!

Uncle Ryan navigating his way through New York!

The Crnkovich Christmas would not be complete without the Lottery tickets!

The ladies enjoying some after dinner conversations.

Renae caught me breaking my good eating streak! But how could I resist Aunt Judy's chocolate cake with peanut butter icing!?!?!?

Renae and Galina at too cute...they were meant to be sisters.

Logan did get a little over stimulated on Christmas...if you think about it, that was a lot of people and tons of attention all in one day...o and with only two short naps.
Great Uncle tom was trying to teach Logan how to put the toys back in the tub.

Even though Logan just kept taking them out and throwing them, and making up a game with Uncle Tom, he was still patient with him and kept showing him what to do. This was priceless.
Again, it was great to have family over to celebrate Christmas. I could not imagine a Christmas without seeing all of the family together. After everyone left, Logan was asleep and the dishes were done I couldn't help but to just hold Renae for a moment. Of course the day was busy, and we didn't get too much time together as a couple or even a small family...we still enjoyed the day and would not have changed a thing. I am definitely looking forward to next year's Christmas when Logan is a little more aware of what is going on and can be a little more interactive with the gifts...but I am not trying to speed up time.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas with the Reigs

Christmas day was just too much to try to fit into one blog, so I have decided to split it up into Christmas with the Reigners (my side) and Christmas with the Crnkovich's (Renae's side). In year's past we have traveled to two or three locations all in different corners. The craziest year (and worst for how it caused Renae and I to have tension with one another) was a year that we went 45 minutes to my parents house, to drive 1hr 45 minutes to Renae's Aunt and Uncle's house, to drive another 1 hour and 45 minutes to Renae's parents house. All in all that day we spent over 4 hours in the car and went crazy! I blew up the night before because I was so stressed with rushing around, and feeling constricted to time and obligations that on Christmas Eve I had Renae pull over by over development and let me walk home.

Anyways...Christmas with the Reigner's. Tradition is key. We always start with the youngest and work out way up through the oldest. I believe 5 years ago we added Carol to the family (sister-in-law), then 4 years ago we added Renae (my wife..duh), last year we added Emmy (my niece) and this year we added Logan (seriously!?!?).

A quick outline...and then the pictures:
We usually get together around 9am.
Presents are separated and piled by who they are for.
The there is a light breakfast and fun snacks (with much desired fresh coffee! Thanks Eric)
Hugs and stories are shared.
Then it's on to probably 2 hours or so of opening gifts and sharing stories about the gifts.
There is usually snacking going on during that time (and more coffee refills)
Followed by people playing or tinkering with things that they received. 

OK, now the pictures...with the captions:

The Reigner Cousins first Christmas together with Aunt Megan and Uncle Eric.

Ahhhhh...Carol's freshly baked Pull Apart / Monkey Bread

Mom-Mom's famous "Christmas Breakfast" casserole.



Logan was held captive by the family under the mistletoe and given the Reigner 1-2-3 Kiss Attack

I'll admit, no one really wants to see their parents get mushy...but this is a cute picture. LOL I helped my dad out by taking numerous pictures and asking them to hold on for a few moments.

Logan was eyeing up Aunt Carol to make sure that she was putting the gifts in the right places.

Logan opening up his first ever Christmas present!

He knew exactly what to do, the Sippy cups from Aunt Megan went straight to his mouth!
Logan's method of opening the gifts was to eat the wrapping paper...it kinda worked, but was also very time consuming.

Renae got a lovely new necklace from Aunt Carol!

Mom-Mom got a hand made warmer from Renae...I want one for my shoulders now :)

Mom and Dad each received numerous Sear's gift cards so that they can update some of their kitchen appliances!

Aunt Megan read one of Logan's books to him...WE ARE! I am almost certain that he will be a PSU student 18 years from now!

Welp, sometimes the gifts just get the best of you :)

Who knows their sons better than their fathers? Eric and I each received one...I hope for Renae and Carol that they actually work.

Uncle Eric received his new "toy"...I'm sure he will find a project to use it on soon enough.

I have to pause and make a comment here. Every year my dad takes charge of the clean up and he does an awesome job. I cannot remember a Christmas when we didn't ball up our wrapping paper/trash and toss it to him basketball style hoping to make nothing but net...thank you for your years of dedication and service!

This was one of Logan's favorite gifts of the day. Hie reaction was priceless. After almost getting lost in the gift bag that this monkey pillow came in, he pulled it out and just began smiling, laughing, jumping and hugging on the monkey. He then went even more crazy when I tried to velcro it around his waist so that it was permanently hugging him.
All in all Christmas was yet again amazing.! I am a creature of habit and thrive on tradition. I do not know what I would do without the traditional Reigner Christmas morning. There are many things that I would give up through the year, but seeing my family on Christmas morning is one of those things that I wish to keep and want to protect. I love you guys and want to thank you for creating such an awesome and memorable for family Christmas with Logan.