Our Renovation: Week 1 & 2

Living through a renovation is hard for any family.  Doing it with two toddlers it has it’s own set of unique challenges.  The construction part isn’t even close to the most difficult part.  Toddler meals and trying to keep the kids out of the crews way have been the hard part.   

Breakfast hasn’t been too challenging since there are several options where no heating is involved or just a toaster which is all we have.  The kids have been getting a lot of waffles and yogurt and cut up fruit.  A few mornings when eggs were all Reece wanted there were tears but for the most part we’ve skated by easily.  Lunch hasn’t been too bad either since Reece eats PBJ every day now if we are home.  Kat gets cut up cold cuts, cheese, fruit, a slice of bread and I’ll eat a salad or sandwich.  Dinner has been the big question mark each day.

cluttered dining room
Our temporary kitchen

We waited for summer to start our renovation because of the nice weather, but of course the first 3 nights we had no kitchen it rained.  Cross off my idea for grilling!  I ordered pizza since my fridge was pretty much cheese and milk.  I’m trying to not make a habit out of ordering out too often since it gets expensive fast and there’s another month of no kitchen in our future.

The first night we were able to grill I invited a friend over so I could figure out what I was doing and someone could keep an eye on all tiny beasts.  It was also my first time grilling. Ever!  So it was nice to not be working on how to figure out a coal grill and making sure my two tiny beasts weren’t getting into trouble. I didn’t burn anything, hurrah!  I also didn’t add enough coals, so there was barely enough heat to finish our meal. Oops, lesson not learned, did this most of the following nights as well.

My second night grilling I was solo with the two tiny beasts.  All things considered it went well, nothing burnt or uncooked and no casualties.  If you have been following me on my Instagram Stories you might have witnessed my triumph of multitasking when my husband is overwhelmed with grilling while I’m with him helping out.

grilled chicken strawberries carrots
First of many uneaten meals since the kitchen renovation started

Since our dinners have become mostly BBQ I’ve learned my toddlers do not like chicken on the grill, even if it’s in the most yummy marinade and the only option is hot dogs and NEVER forget to grill up some corn on the cob.

baby eating corn on the cob
Nom nom nom, corn on the cob for days

The start day was a Monday which is good because Kat has daycare all day and Reece was still in school so he was out of the house the first morning during the majority of the demolition.  Which led to a false sense that maybe things will go according to the timeline.  Hahahahaha.

kitchen renovation no walls
End of Day 1 in the kitchen renovation

For four days the plumber was held up on the project before ours, plagued with issues of faulty parts then the warehouse sending incorrect replacement parts before he could start work on our kitchen.  Thursday evening he came by the house and did an inventory so he could shop the next day morning and get to work.  Friday he showed up and moved some pipes and was done after about 3.5 hours of work.  Then realized, based on where cabinets were being installed, additional pipes would need to be moved as well.  Monday the plumber was sick and couldn’t make it. Tuesday he came and finished what he needed to do.  After that things started moving along better.

renovation pipes
One of several problem areas where plumbing needed to be relocated

The electricians came by Wednesday and by the time they were done we could see dramatic results.  Just kidding.  They did a lot of work but Rich and I could not tell you to save our lives what they had done and what was different about the kitchen.  After the plumber and electrician were pretty much wrapped up with any prep work they had do to the crew got to work.

The biggest challenge for the crew is probably Kat and Reece.  They are SO curious and fascinated by the crew and their work.  We try to be out of the house for most of the day, but sometimes activities don’t get started or the kids drag the their feet getting ready for the day and pester the crew before we can head out the door.  A small hole about 4 inches big in the tarp covering the doorway very quickly grew to 4 feet.  Reece and Kat love to stick their entire bodies in and check what’s happening.

Kitchen reno giant hole
This is the wonderful “viewing” hole

The crew keeps it pretty clean in the kitchen so it’s not a death trap in the kitchen and they sweep up the floor from the kitchen to the front door.  The house has been slipping slowly into a pit or despair since kitchen stuff is in the bathroom and dining room but it hasn’t impeded too much on our lives.  The timing (summer) is a big help.  Another big help is that Kat and Reece are able to still nap even with our house being a construction zone.  Thank you sound machines!!!  If we were still using bottles, I think I’d be asking if there’s such a thing as disposable bottles.  Our bottle days are behind us and at meals we can give the kids plastic cups.  Maybe we set realistic expectations of what to expect.  All and all, so far, living through a renovation hasn’t been as terrible as HGTV would have you think it is.

toddler siblings kissing
Kitchen renovations are a great reason for even more fun in the sun and naked backyard time

Stay tuned to see if this is still true week 3 and beyond!

Living Through a Renovation… With 2 Toddlers

We recently took on the endeavor of a bathroom and kitchen renovation. Which, now that it’s happening, feels a little insane, but this is our forever home and we felt it’s time to start making it our home with more than just fresh paint in the bedrooms.  

At first glance, the kitchen seems fine.  Cooking in it daily though, helps to pull back some of the layers of this crazy onion of a kitchen.  The seller had painted very old cabinets, replaced some of the hinges, added a new countertop and bought mid range stainless steel appliances that were dented floor models.  Ultimately, besides the counter, it was all an awesome kitchen facade.  

The worst part about the kitchen was the layout. With only about 20” of prep space it was my own home kitchen nightmare.  I make at least 3 meals a day that involve cutting boards and several food items sprawled about.  The daily use was a pain, holidays a shit show.

With our new layout plan there will be several feet of counter space to prep and shelving in the cabinets that pull out so nothing can get lost in the back like a Bermuda Triangle of kitchen space.  Plus a second oven!  We found a contractor we trusted, a parent at Reece’s preschool.  Now the “fun” would begin.  

You might think the stress of a renovation would start once demolition of the kitchen starts. No, no… Nope… No… You would be wrong.  Especially if you have children.  You have to make many decisions, and if you’re organized, you’ll want to have everything picked out (and in some cases ordered) in advance.  

Which leads me to stresses prior to demo day.  Trying to shop with young children running around the store is hectic at best.  When we went to the appliance store the kids were running in different directions, touching everything, Kat wanted to use the potty then wouldn’t go, then ask to go again, and to top it off Reece had a pee accident even though he had tried to potty minutes before.

We still needed to figure out the counters and tile and didn’t feel like having an appliance store repeat.  Our monthly date night was coming up so we ended up using the time to go to the granite showroom and tile store.  The glamour!  We picked three quartz samples we liked and requested a quote and brought home some tile samples so we could pick based off the finalized counter choice.  Our hope was that one of the three quartz prices would be much cheaper therefore making the decision for us.  Turned out the difference was within $200 so cost wasn’t really a huge factor. 

Quartz Choices
Our top 3 picks

After much flip flopping I made a decision.  It may seem so simple to simply call and let the granite place know what our pick is, but for some reason when you have kids phone calls and emails are such a pain.  After about a week of Rich or I promising to order the counter “today” I finally sent an email.  On to picking a sink and order the tile as well!  We obviously waited another 2 or 3 weeks before I could finally bring the tile samples back to the store and order the backsplash.  

During the procrastination period of tile ordering, we checked with the contractor that the sink we wanted would fit the space.  It was then that we, sadly, realized maybe we should have picked an apron sink prior to the cabinets being delivered since they would have needed to know that beforehand.  Scratch the apron sink, boo!  We checked out a showroom with tons of faucets and sink options, but they never sent us quotes. Only extremely annoying since we had to bring the kids this time and it was pretty close to our appliance store experience.  

After checking online we found their prices were about twice as much for the same sink at Home Depot or Amazon sooo… Off to Home Depot we went, with the kids.  After a few pictures and lots of screaming and crying we made a hasty exit.  Luckily, we could take what we found from the Depot and check reviews on Amazon in the quiet of our home after bedtime.  The sink was delivered the very next day!

Kat and Reece try to cramp into the cart
Fun at Home Depot

Once most of the decisions had come together we got a start date and the days leading up to it were spent packing our kitchen.  Luckily I had a day where Reece was at preschool while Kat was at daycare, so I got 2 hours of packing started.  And by started I mean, I moved all the crap in our attic that was in the way, blocking the stairs, out of the way.  Our attic is huge.  The small amount of things we do have up there my husband had “organized.”  Which means, it was a hot mess.  Baby clothes tossed on top of boxes, holiday decorations lying across the stairs.  Good thing I had all this kid free time to clear up the kitchen! Oh wait…

Kitchen dining room renovation
Our makeshift Kitchen in the dining room during the renovation.

After I picked up Reece from his long 3 hour day at preschool, we had lunch, and he napped for 3 hours, so I actually did get a lot accomplished then.  The rest of the packing happened the Saturday night and Sunday before the demo.  Saturday we stayed up until 11 packing up, then the next day my brother came by and took the kids to lunch for 2 hours so we could wrap up packing.  Uncle Matt got lucky and Kat had a huge blowout so they didn’t get to go to the park together, but at least we finished what we needed to do.

We were, ready for demo day!!!  Ha… Not really…  Stay tuned for Week One!