Thursday, December 4, 2008

Family and One New Kleven

We have had the most amazing past few weeks! For two weeks, we had mom and dad Kleven come see us... all the way from Wisconsin! Originally going to be a weeklong visit, it lasted for another week and included glorious home-cooked meals ready for us when we got home from work, a dingy basement being painted, wallpaper scraped, furniture rearranged, and lots of other fabulous things tht would simply not have gotten done had we not had the visitors. They completely blew us away and blessed us immensely by giving so much time and energy to help us get settled into our new home.
A week later, my parents and brother and Champ arrived for thanksgiving! It was surreal to welcome them into our home and to show them around our corner of the world here in Michigan. The snow had softly fallen a few days earlier and there was a gorgeous little white blanket all over to greet them. We spent almost a week of hanging out, jamming on the guitar (the boys), dressing my windows with my little dressup box of hand-me-down curtains (I will never say no. Never.). We actually had my MI extended family over for a bustling houseful including kids and new puppy! Wait...did I say new puppy?
A few weeks ago I called on a fabulous craigslist ad boasting a litter of golden retriever puppies. Joel and I have, for the past year, disagreed on small dog or big dog (with a little nobleman like Champ in my background, can you guess which one I voted for?). But alas, we could not decide on one. It has been a long fought battle, and the closer we got to the day where he would be surprised by a new puppy, the more thickly I laid on the "I hate big dogs, let's never get one," and "look at Champ, Joel we reallly need to get a maltese," comments. I was on a roll. The day after thanksgiving my parent's "wanted to go into Jackson to go shopping." (This should have been Joel's clue # 1 that something was up and that someone was lyin'... my parents are NOT black friday shoppers... I think we made up some baloney about my dad wanting coaxial cable at best buy... a little more believable. As we neared Jackson and my palms got sweatier (did Joel seriously believe the fact that the big red Christmas bow I brought was truly for champ's little neck?) my dad mentioned, "oh... I have a friend I"ve talked to on the radio who is from Jackson, MI... he just moved here and I've GOT to see him." Joel bought it hook, line, and sinker and agreed to go out to Pleasant Lake to a remote farmhouse. Thank goodness for Garmins.
When we arrived, my dad went to the door while we stayed in the car and came back with the news, "he's in a wheelchair and wants to meet the whole family." At this point Joel jovially agreed and when the door opened out tumbled 7 roly-poly puppies, one after the other rolling over each other, squirming, wimpering, kicking to be the first ones waddling out triumphantly. "Hi puppies!" Joel said..."oh honey... they're golden puppies." Me, with a grin, "Merry Christmas Joel... which one do you want?"

It took a few moments to explain that there was no ham radio friend, and he had been hoodwinked by the Dunlap family. I don't think I've seen him smile so big in a long time. We finally settled on a placid snugglesford of a chunker buddha-belly boy who just wanted to lay baby-style in our arms, paid our money ("THAT'S why you wanted me to bring the checkbook!"), and spent the rest of the ride home naming him, doting over him, and snuggling the little cowboy.
THAT is how little Koda ("Bear") came to the Kleven family, and that is how we lose lots of sleep thanks to crate training and potty breaks and that is how we now need marriage counseling on how to raise our puppy and that is how Diana wants to quit her job and stay home and mother the little puppy breath-face. We absolutely love the munchkin, adore inventing nicknames for him, and abhor disciplining him (Joel is a little stronger in that area than I).

Stay tuned for more pictures of the little waddling wonder and of our fabulous time together with our wonderful families.

Friday, November 7, 2008

So, I found a really funny video about what happens to your social life after you get married. I absolutely love marriage, but both Joel and I agree it has been quite a change from being single college student/world travelers. Even though I wouldn't have it any other way...

It's amazing how many elements in this relate to us. Do they to anyone else?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Whew.... we have had the lovely American Foursquare, a.k.a. the Kleven's "Prairie Box" for about a whole month now. It's turned into quite an effort, and we haven't even started moving in yet! But we're figuring the more we can get done now, the easier our lives will be, especially since I (Diana) am not naturally inclined to moving furniture. Now that I have a break point to let you know what is going on, I'll update a little bit. Here is the original RED RED of the living room, and the argyle dining room in the background, accented by the red and white checkerboard entryway and the tulip backdrop to the stairs. I'm in redecoration-idea heaven, but there is quite a bit of work that goes into each item.

Painting, painting, and repainting. We have about five rooms down now, and more more more to go. There aren't really good "after" pictures now, since furniture is not moved in, but I'll throw in some "befores" so you have an idea of what is going on:

And here is some of the progress made:

The first is the living room. When we began it was a very striking and may I say, overwhelming red which contrasted HEAVILY with the white flooring and white mantle trim. Joel's parents came to visit us about two weeks in for a long Labor Day weekend, and all we did was labor till it shone! It was an absolute blast having them here, and with four hands working we got SO much done! We decided to neutralize the red and go for a calmer look with beige. Our original ambition was to strip the mantle, but the daunting amount of work ahead of us deterred us from that time-consuming task. Joel and his dad completely transformed both the living room and dining room in one fell swoop. The dining room turned from an argyle wonderland into a creamy beige, inviting elegant room.

Meanwhile, Mom Kleven and I set to work in the kitchen. I'll start with some pictures of the kitchen before Joel and I set to work painting the cabinets and refreshing the walls from saturated blue to refreshing yellow.

Well, it's getting a little late. I'll continue this with some more pictures. We've got quite the backup of photos and no shortage of progress, so be expecting more soon!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

August 18th 2008:

A mountain of paper work, legalese we pretend to understand, butterflies in our stomachs, and autograph practice that seemed to last for days. We left the First American Title Company with keys in hand, now finished with a nerve-racking and God-trusting experience of searching, offering, and closing on a house--our very first. With three moves behind us after less than one year of marriage, a place to finally call home is a dream come true!

Immediately, we rushed to grab some lunch with the keys to our new abode burning a hole in our pockets. 'Rosie' our Jeep screeched to a halt in the driveway as we tumbled out of her and into our very own "American Foursquare," giddy with excitement. We flopped down on the dining room floor in front of the [welcoming] argyle walls, unwrapped Arby's under the crystal chandelier and thanked God for what he has given us!!

"There are only a few life events that deserve a champagne toast.... a wedding, a new baby, and a first home... we'll be there at six with champagne." Our cousins Brian and Lisa joined us that night for a toast in our empty house. We snapped pictures, clinked glasses, and re-toured the new house with the fresh perspective of ownership.

Built in 1907, she's no spring chicken and has seen many families--a century-long storyboard pleading for the 'Kleven' frame. Her structure, thanks to a little www research, is commonly referred to as an "American Foursquare," or a "Prairie Box." To be quite frank, Joel actually makes his sweet wife slap him in the face each time they pull into the driveway... he can't believe it's really their OWN.

Well, we skidded in just at the end of a summer long street construction project--ending in a brand new street, curb, and gutter, with poured cement driveway only a week after we closed-- compliments of our new village. Welcome home, Klevens!

Above is the Klevens' new American Foursquare in all it's pre-beautification glory. Despite her [neglected] classiness, there's quite a road ahead in bringing her to potential. Granted, potential is what we saw in her from the beginning (not to mention we felt like Bonnie and Clyde when we got her, a foreclosed treasure/steal) . Yep, the girl's got good bones. We are thrilled to roll up our sleeves and highlight the great (and not-so-great) things we are finding with each bit of elbow grease we apply. That's the purpose of our blog--to let you in on the updates and makeovers on this charming/cranky/rambunctious old maid of a house, to enjoy the feedback/advice from all of you folk, as well as to keep y'all in the loop with adventures of the Kleven world.

If we have entertained you even a little, we have succeeded...