The Great Transformation

When we bought our house our deck looked bad, and not the good bad, the bad bad. Dan was worried that it was a total loss, but I had hope. I knew somewhere in that mildewy, neglected wood was the potential for beauty. We slaved for 2 full days on this puppy and yes I was right, now it looks SWEET!! I guess we could possibly be okay at this homeownership thing. We have a little bit of handyness in us :)

This is what we saw when we first looked at the house back in April. Everything else about the house was great. The deck was the only real drawback. Can you tell why? Mildew, Algae, sinking corner... to name a few. Thankfully the listing realtor fixed the sinking corner we just had to do the rest.

Working in that cleaner to get off the gunk, this part took FOREVER.
This is what is looked like after the cleaning. WOW, look how great it looks already!
Ta Duh!!! What a transformation!! We are awesome, I am so proud of us. Although I never want to have to do that again. HOLY COW, I've never worked so hard!

To sum it all up...

Okay so its official. I am a terrible blogger. I love to read other people's blogs, but I have a hard time sitting down and posting on my own. It's not that I have nothing to write about, because Ella gives me plenty of good material. I even take pictures and think, "Hmm I should put this on the blog." But then I always say, "Oh, I'll do it later." Which never happens. So now I am still WAY behind. I haven't even written about our move to Michigan. So basically here is a quick run down of the last 3 months. After graduation we had to say goodbye to many of our good friends and our "Wisconsin Family." That was one of the hardest things I have had to do. I had a hard time not crying every moment. But we did have a few more good moments before we all left. Like here where we went for one more girls day out at Stir Crazy (mmm they have the BEST food, oh I really miss this place)

One more BBQ with the Jagers and the Austins (I miss you guys!!!)
One more round of Guitar Hero-this was an especially fun night, this is the night Ella laughed for the first time.
But all good things must come to an end so we had to pack up our stuff and go. Ella was a little confused the night before we left so here she is gripping her doll for dear life. She looks a little scared, but she was so cute.
The next day we loaded up our stuff and said goodbye.
It looks so lonely.
Closing the door one last time :(
One last picture-so many good memories here.
Welcome home Michigan!
This isn't the best picture but it'll do. You can't tell but this is the Michigan welcome center.
We were super excited (and pretty lucky) to get to move into our house right away and rent it from the sellers until we closed. This is us eating our first meal in our new house! mmm frozen lasagna and steamer bag broccoli and cauliflower (sure beats fast food).
I must say I LOVE our house!!! We have SOO much space. I almost don't know what to do with myself. I have been having fun trying to figure out where things go and decorating. Also big on my list is little improvements we can make to the house. First off was the yard. We have spent a big chunk of our time tackling that one. The previous owners took good care of the house, but when it came to the yard they were minimalists. We have had lots of bushes to cut and clear, and TONS of weeds to clean out. In fact back behind our garage there was some kind of a two level garden that was growing wild flowers(?) It was really weird because one tier was one type of plant the other tier was another. But they looked like weeds to us. Anyway it was a mess. I wish I had a before picture but I got my camera out too late.
The weeds were seriously like 6 feet tall.
We fed the missionaries then roped them into helping us clean up the weeds. HUGE mess. Thank you missionaries. I would have died. I have never seen so many spiders in my life. It was awful. yuck. We have a pretty cool yard though, there are lots of trees and it's really big. (I am sure there will be times when that seems like a bad thing-lots of lawn to mow) We've put in lots of hours and its starting to show. I hated yard work as a kid but it's actually really rewarding to see what you've done, I get excited now, I'm like "Hey should we do yard work today!?!". Our current project is the deck. I'll post before and afters-it is amazing.

Anyway, since we've been here we've done a few things-Dan started working (finally a paycheck!!!); we went with another resident to a lake house for the 4th of July. Dan was super excited to do a little sky skiing. Then we all went out on the pontoon to see the fireworks (Ella too, even though she slept through almost the whole firework show. I wish she would sleep that soundly at home.) But the bummer was we forgot the camera. So no pics of her first boat ride and fireworks. And the big one-we closed on the house, YAAHHH we are officially homeowners. I feel like a real grown up now.
Also during this time Ella learned how to roll over. We gave her food for the first time, and we bought her a high chair. When we put her in it for the first time she looked so tiny.
Since then she has grown a ton. She also learned she has toes
and has discovered that they taste really good-as does her thumb.
She's so darn cute though. We just love her so much. She's such a happy, smiley child.

Also, over this time we went to dinner at Dr. Elluru's home; he's a Plastic Surgeon that Dan was working with in July. He and his family were super nice. They have a lake house so they took us out on their boat for a little spin. This is how much fun we had:
Just kidding, Ella didn't fall asleep right away, it was after she threw a fit because she wanted to drive the boat.
It was really fun, we ended up towing a stranded boat back to shore so our cruise around the lake was extended, which was great.
Shortly thereafter, Ella and I took a little trek (okay flight) to Utah for a couple weeks. We had so much fun. Ella got to see all of her cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents. She was thrilled with all of the attention. We went to Park City with Dan's family for a few days. Went to my grandma's family reunion. Ella celebrated her 6 month birthday!! Where does time go, I can't believe she is already 6 months!!!
We had a grand old time. We were so sad to leave everyone behind, but I know Dan was really excited to have us back. Since then we've been getting back in the groove of things, Dan finally started Ortho this month so he's really excited. They have some great programs for the families here so Ella and I have been doing the play group and the ortho wives have a monthly girls night out. So it's been really fun. I love the city. It is perfect. Small city, but not lacking anything. It's so cool if you leave our subdivision there are corn fields and forests. It is so pretty. It's like we live out in the country but like 5 minutes away is the grocery store, Target, Kohl's, restaurants, etc. It is so neat! Also our ward is really great. I have done a few play dates and this week we are going to the farm with some of the girls. We are slowly getting adjusted. It's still hard though, I reaalllly miss our "family" and our real family. I think it will always be like that.
So there you have it, I know it's overwhelming but I knew I just needed to get caught up. Hopefully now the task won't seem so overwhelming and I can keep up on it!