• Updates

    Monthly Recap: June 2017

    Happy Summer!

    Our summer has been pretty great so far! We’ve been spending more time outside and in the pool. I love summer time, and it’s so nice to have a pool to relax in during the warm weather. Oh, and we have a lot of pool toys… and we play with all of them. I think the pool will be getting a lot of use this summer!

    Swimming pool | rainerlife.com

    Gavin playing in the swimming pool | rainerlife.com

    Gavin playing in the swimming pool | rainerlife.com

    Gavin playing in the swimming pool | rainerlife.com

    Pool time! | rainerlife.com

    We’ve been staying busy around the house, mainly working on yard projects. I started adding landscaping near the pool. We had the pool installed last summer, but never got around to landscaping around it. Figured the only way I would get any of it done was to work on one small area at a time. To get started, I added a bed of mondo grass between the flagstone decking and the fence. I dug out the area, placed stone edgers in the pattern I wanted, filled the bed with soil, and planted mondo grass. Between the stone edging and pool decking, I put in a drainage pipe and covered it with rocks. The water already drains that way, so, hopefully, that will only improve the drainage and help prevent the flower beds from being washed out in heavy rains. I will install more drainage pipe and rocks to improve the drainage, but it’ll be a slow process… maybe I can finish in July. I also started adding a few plants behind the pool. This will be a pretty large area to plant, and I’m not completely sure what I want to put there, so I only did one small area. Also, it was harder to dig out because of all the rocks buried in the ground from the pool construction. The soil isn’t great, so I’m digging out the grass and weeds and adding better top soil. Our only non-yard project was when our AC went out early in the month… thankfully we have a home warranty and they got the new unit installed. We have two AC units, so it wasn’t too hot in the house, plus it was pretty nice weather the week we were without a working air conditioner.

    Mondo grass bed | rainerlife.com

    On Father’s Day, we go to BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse. The food is good, the beer selection is decent, and Michael gets a Father’s Day pint glass. He now has 4 – 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. He got one in 2014 because we went on Father’s Day when I was pregnant with Gavin, and they gave him a glass since he was “almost” a dad. It’s now a family tradition.

    BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse Father's Day Pint Glass | rainerlife.com

    We toured a local brewery early in the month. We’ve been to ETX Brewing several times, but never toured it… we always just get a pint and hang out for a bit. So, we wanted to tour the brewery, hear more about how they got started, and see how they brew their beers. It was fun to see their set up.

    ETX Brewing brewery tour | rainerlife.com

    ETX Brewing beer | rainerlife.com

    For other fun activities, we go to the library, movies, and out to eat. Gavin enjoys storytime at the library, and he LOVES to look at books… he gets that from his mama. Michael, Gavin, and I went to see Cars 3. A fun movie that we all enjoyed. Now that Gavin is a little older, we can add taking him to the movies as a fun outing to do. We try to be home in the afternoon for Gavin to take a nap, which he only does a couple of days a week now. The photo below is after he convinced me to let him sleep in the “big bed” (mama and daddy’s room) and bring all of his stuffed animals to nap with him. He can be very persuasive!

    Gavin at naptime | rainerlife.com

    Gavin | rainerlife.com

  • Organization

    7 Apps for Staying Organized

    7 Apps for Staying Organized | rainerlife.com

    Finding the right tool to help keep you organized is a wonderful thing. There are so many online resources available today to help keep people organized, that it can be difficult to narrow down the best app for you. I’ve tried numerous apps, but have a few favorites that I’ve used for years. Odds are, if you’re interested in something, so are other people… and someone probably created an app for that topic. I use some apps for tracking one specific thing (e.g., Goodreads), while other apps are more general and can be tailored in a variety of ways (e.g., OneNote).

    My favorites apps for staying organized:

    1. OneNote – I know Evernote gets lots of talk, but I’ve found OneNote to have everything I need to stay organized. I use OneNote to keep track of recipes, travel ideas, and home projects. Michael and I have shared Notebooks to keep track of things too, like home projects.

    2. LastPass – This is a great app to keep passwords organized. It seems everything requires a password, and every website has different criteria, so you end up with dozens of different passwords. I’m always forgetting passwords, so it’s great to have an easy way to look them up.

    3. Pinterest – This is possibly the most popular way to keep track of things found on the internet. I have “boards” for recipes, home projects, crafts, and other things I’m interested in. I tend to go back and clean up my “pins” after a while. For instance, if I have pins for a home project we’re working on, and we finish that project, I delete the pins when we’re finished.

    4. Feedly – This app is how I keep track of blogs I enjoy reading. I divided the blogs into different “feeds”, so I simply click on whichever topic I am interested in catching up on. It’s a great way to read the blogs I want to keep up with.

    5. Goodreads – I read a lot of books, but I have a hard time remembering which ones I’ve read and which ones I want to read. I used to keep a spreadsheet of books I had read, and tried to keep a list of books to read. When I started using Goodreads, I got rid of my spreadsheet system because Goodreads makes it so easy to look up a book when I’m out and about. I use Goodreads to record which books I’ve read and which books I want to read. I’ve found new authors and books to read by searching around Goodreads and reading other people’s suggestions and reviews. It’s a must have app for avid readers!

    6. Discogs – I use this app to keep track of which vinyl records I own. This app isn’t only for vinyl, you can use it to track CDs and cassettes too. It’s also a place to buy music. I’ve never bought anything on Discogs, but there are lots of records for sale. There is a wishlist feature too, which is nice if you’ve been trying to find something specific. If you have something on your wishlist, and someone lists it for sell, you get a notification… if you have notifications turned on.

    7. Untappd – This is an app that I use to keep track of the different beers I’ve tasted. Since we enjoy trying new beers, and I have poor memory, I can look up a beer and see if I’ve rated it. Beyond that, I can see when I had it and even where I had it. There is a great sort feature also, so I can sort by brewery, beer style, highest rated, etc. Before I started using Untappd, I used a spreadsheet to keep track of which beers I had tasted. There are other apps similar to Untappd, and I’ve tried a few, but so far I’m sticking with Untappd. This app has a social media side too. You can add friends and see who’s drinking what and what they like or don’t like. You can also have a wishlist of beers.

    These are the main apps I use to stay organized. Some of them, like Goodreads and Untappd, have social features that help you share info and find new things that interest you. There are so many apps available to help people stay organized. What are your favorite apps?

  • Children

    5 of Our Favorite Bedtime Books

    Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase. For more information, click here.

    Every night at bedtime, Gavin picks a book (or three) and settles in my lap while we read books together. We’ve read a lot of books, but we do have a few favorites that we read over and over… and over! Gavin has a nice collection of books to choose from, and we’re always adding more books. The books listed below are ones we own and have read numerous times. We do check books out at the library a lot, and we usually read those at night too. I’m not including any of those on this list, but I definitely recommend using your local library to find new books to read together.

    5 of Our Favorite Bedtime Books:

    1. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site

    2. The Goodnight Train

    3. Steam Train, Dream Train

    4. The Going-To-Bed Book

    5. Goodnight Moon

  • Updates

    Monthly Recap: May 2017

    Happy Summer!

    Michael, Gavin, and I started the month off with the quick family trip to Houston. You can read about our trip here. We had a great time, and it was nice to get away on a short vacation.

    Gavin at Rocket Park | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the Houston Zoo | rainerlife.com

    Gavin and I went to a Mother and Son bowling outing with some other mothers and sons from our church. It was Gavin’s first time bowling, and he wasn’t too interested in it. At first, he was excited and wanted to roll the ball. Of course, the ball didn’t go very far, so I had to help him with rolling the ball. It was fun, and it was nice to get out with other moms and kids.

    Gavin picking a bowling ball | rainerlife.com

    Darinda & Gavin at Mother / Son bowling | rainerlife.com

    We celebrated Mother’s Day with a nice lunch out. It was a relaxing day, where we didn’t do much, but spent the day together. Those are great days.

    Darinda & Gavin on Mother's Day | rainerlife.com

    Gavin’s most recent soccer classes ended. He’s pretty good when he’s paying attention… it’s keeping the attention of a two-year-old that’s tricky. It’s been a good way for him to learn teamwork, while having fun with other kids his age. Since he’s not too interested in the classes, we’re taking a break from soccer for a while.

    Gavin at soccer | rainerlife.com

    Gavin with his Certificate of Completion for soccer classes | rainerlife.com

    Gavin and I have continued to work in the flower beds around the house. We’ve made a lot of progress, even though it seems to be a never-ending job. Good thing I enjoy working in the yard!

    Flower bed and pool | rainerlife.com

    Hydrangeas | rainerlife.com

    Daylilies | rainerlife.com

    We had a quiet Memorial Day weekend around the house. We had Gavin’s Honey and Pappaw (my mom and stepdad) over on Monday. Michael grilled burgers and brats, and we all had a nice time visiting and enjoying some food and drinks. It was a cloudy and rainy weekend, but we did manage to get in a little pool time.

    Pool time | rainerlife.com

    Michael and I celebrated our 5th anniversary on May 19th! We went out to eat at a local Italian restaurant to celebrate. It was a pretty low-key anniversary celebration, but it’s been a wonderful 5 years. Below is a photo from our wedding day.

    Our wedding day | rainerlife.com
    Photo by Elizabeth McClung

  • Children

    10 of Our Favorite Board Books

    Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase. For more information, click here.

    Gavin reading his books | rainerlife.com

    Books! Gavin and I love looking at books! During the day, sometimes we look at books together and sometimes he likes to look at books by himself. In his room, he has a shelf of board books, plus a few of his favorite paperback books. I keep all the other children’s books in the living room and office/play room. We usually read one or two books together during the day, and another one or two books in the evening. He has been known to pull all the books off a shelf and sit and look at book after book. It’s so fun to watch him! He’ll even grab one of his favorite paperbacks and take it to “read” on the sofa… he definitely takes after his mama. We have several favorites, and below are ten board books that we’ve read many times. We are starting to read more paperbacks than board books, but we still have our favorite board books that we go back to again and again. I usually let Gavin pick out which books to read, so the ones listed below are the board books he most often chooses to read together.

    10 FAVORITE BOARD BOOKS:

    1. Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle – We also have Little Blue Truck Leads the Way. Gavin picks them to read about the same amount of time. There are others also, but we only own two Little Blue Truck books. Definitely favorites for my little boy.

    2. From Head to Toe by Eric Carle – We love Eric Carle books! This one is a favorite because we do all the motions together, and Gavin thinks it’s hilarious!

    3. Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy E. Shaw – There are other “Sheep” books, but this is the only one we own. Can’t speak for the other books, but this one is fun to read.

    4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle – There’s a reason this book has been so popular for over 45 years! It’s a classic, and a good one for your child’s library.

    5. Robots, Robots Everywhere by Sue Fliess – Gavin loves robots, so this is a favorite because he likes to talk about all the different robots.

    6. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen – Another classic I recommend for a child’s library. Gavin was on a kick a while back where he picked this book out every time I asked him what he wanted to read.

    7. Inside, Outside, Upside Down by Stan Berenstain – We got this one for free at a library event, and Gavin loves it! This is our only Berenstain Bears books, and it’s a short fun read.

    8. Hands Are Not for Hitting by Martine Agassi – This is part of a series on behavior – other books include biting, kicking, and yelling. I got this book when Gavin was starting to hit us or others when he was playing, and I didn’t want him to think it was okay to keep hitting. It’s a great book, and one he ends up picking to read a lot. Which surprised me, but I guess that means it works.

    9. Happy Hippo, Angry Duck by Sandra Boynton – We have this one, plus six other Sandra Boynton books. Gavin goes through phases where different ones are favorite, but lately he’s been picking this one. Two others that he reads a lot are Moo Baa La La La and Blue Hat, Green Hat.

    10. Ten Tiny Toes by Caroline Jayne Church – This is another interactive book, and it’s so fun to read together!

  • US Travel

    Quick Trip to Houston

    Early in May, we took a quick trip down to Houston. Our main reason for going was to take Gavin to visit NASA. He is really into space stuff right now, and we thought he would enjoy seeing the Houston Space Center.

    We spent three nights, and did a different family activity each day. The first day, we arrived in late afternoon. After checking into the hotel, we drove over to the Kemah Boardwalk. The second day we spent at the Houston Space Center. On the third day, we visited the Houston Zoo. We drove back home on the fourth day.

    Kemah Boardwalk
    It’s been years since I visited the Kemah Boardwalk. It’s still a fun place! We walked around the boardwalk and had dinner while watching the boat traffic. Gavin’s too young for the rides, and we’re not big shoppers, so we’re happy walking around, people watching, and grabbing a bite to eat. We ate at The Flying Dutchman. We were able to get a table outside, so we had a good view to watch the boat traffic. It was a Sunday, and there was a lot of boats coming and going.

    Gavin & Darinda at Kemah Boardwalk | rainerlife.com

    Space Center Houston
    Our main reason for going to Houston was the Space Center. It was great! Gavin had so much fun! The Space Center had lots of interesting and informative exhibits. We arrived early – just before they opened. The Space Center opened at 9:00 and we wanted to have plenty of time to see everything.

    NASA Johnson Space Center | rainerlife.com

    Tram Tour – Astronaut Training Facility
    We started the day with the a tram ride around the NASA Johnson Space Center. The Space Center offered two tram rides, red and blue. We opted to start with the blue tram first. That tram tour visited the Astronaut Training Facility and Rocket Park. Since it was early, and not their peak time of year, there were only four of us on the tour… and our little family were three of the four! The tour guides seemed to like the small group and visited a little longer, giving us more information than they probably normally have time for in a packed tour. The tour goes to Building 9, a huge warehouse that houses all sorts of equipment the astronauts use to train before going to space. Plus, it’s where a lot of new tech is being developed. It was really interesting to see! The tram tour then went to Rocket Park, where a Saturn V rocket is on display. It was amazing to see a rocket up close like that, and Gavin thought it was fun to see.

    Building 9 at NASA Johnson Space Center | rainerlife.com

    Building 9 at NASA Johnson Space Center | rainerlife.com

    Building 9 at NASA Johnson Space Center | rainerlife.com

    Building 9 at NASA Johnson Space Center | rainerlife.com

    Building 9 at NASA Johnson Space Center | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at Building 9 at NASA Johnson Space Center | rainerlife.com

    Building 9 at NASA Johnson Space Center | rainerlife.com

    Warehouse for the Saturn V at the NASA Johnson Space Center | rainerlife.com

    Gavin & Michael at Rocket Park | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at Rocket Park | rainerlife.com

    Gavin & Michael at Rocket Park | rainerlife.com

    Gavin & Michael at Rocket Park | rainerlife.com

    Gavin & Michael at Rocket Park | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at Rocket Park | rainerlife.com

    After the tram tour, we walked around the Space Center. There are a lot of exhibits to see! The exhibits we saw were Space Center Plaza, Mission Mars, Starship Gallery, Independence Plaza, International Space Station Gallery, and Astronaut Gallery.

    Space Center Plaza
    This the the main area we first walked through once we arrived at the Space Center. On our visit, this area was set up with a lot of hands on activities geared toward children. Gavin was too young for it, but Michael and I walked around with him and showed him what some of the activities were and how they worked.

    Mission Mars
    This is a newer exhibit for the Space Center, and contains a simulated Orion capsule and a Mars rock you can touch. There was a lot of information in this area, and unlike the other areas, it has more on new tech and NASA’s journey to Mars. This was one of Gavin’s favorite areas.

    Starship Gallery
    This area of the Space Center is like a museum and contains some cool artifacts, such as a Gemini V, Lunar Roving Vehicle Trainer, the Apollo 17 Command Module, the Skylab 1-G Trainer, Mercury 9 “Faith 7”, and the Lunar Samples Vault, which includes a moon rock you can touch. I enjoyed this area, but it seemed to be too much for Gavin. He was looking every which way and kept running from one thing to the next.

    Independence Plaza
    This exhibit was very cool! This is a replica of the shuttle Independence, mounted on top of the original NASA 905 shuttle carrier aircraft. You can board both the shuttle and airplane. I think Gavin would have enjoyed this more if he was a little older. He didn’t seem to connect that he was walking around on the shuttle and airplane. We took the elevator up to the shuttle instead of the stairs, so when we got off the elevator, he was suddenly in the shuttle. I don’t think he really made the connection that it was the shuttle we had been walking under.

    International Space Station Gallery
    This area is also kind of more like a museum, and contains artifacts from the space station and interactive displays. There were some interesting things in this area, but we walked through a lot without doing much since it was geared toward older kids and adults.

    Astronaut Gallery
    The points of interest here were the Gallery Wall (photos of every US astronaut who has flown to space) and various space suits. Some of the space suits were Pete Conrad’s Apollo 12 suit, John Young’s escape suit, a shuttle launch entry suit, and the Orlan suit. This was a big open area and didn’t take too long too walk around. Actually, I walked around here while Michael and Gavin went back to the Mission Mars exhibit since Gavin was wanting to see that again.

    Tram Tour – Mission Control
    Later in the day, we went on the red tram tour. Actually, it was the last tour of the day, so we were on the first and last tram tours. Anyway, the red tram tour visited Mission Control and Rocket Park. I was the one that really wanted to go on this tour. Gavin wasn’t all that interested in it. The tour goes to the viewing room of Historic Mission Control. Everything is straight out of the sixties… because it hasn’t been updated, since it’s a historical site. It was cool to see Mission Control where so many important NASA missions were monitored, including nine Gemini and all Apollo lunar missions. After visiting Historic Mission Control, the tour went to Rocket Park. Since we had seen Rocket Park earlier in the day, we stayed on the tram to head back to the Space Center. Multiple tram tours were running at the same time, so trams rotated through Rocket Park to pick up visitors and take them back to the Space Center. That’s a great feature, since we were able to spend as much time as we wanted at Rocket Park in the early part of the day, and skip it later in the day.

    We spent a full day seeing the Space Center, and we didn’t do everything they offered. We had a toddler with us, so we took our time, skipped a couple of things, went faster through some exhibits, and slower through others. Plus, we must have gone through the Mission Mars exhibit at least three times. The must-see things were the tram tours and the Independence Plaza.

    The Space Center does have a dining area that sold different foods, like pizza, burgers, salads, and sandwiches. We ate a leisurely lunch of pizza, which tasted okay and was overpriced. Typical for this type of place.

    The Space Center had two gift shops, one large and one small. Of course, we bought a few things for our space loving little boy. His biggest delight was a space suit and a helmet. We bought them after lunch, so he wore them the rest of the day. He looked adorable all decked out in his space suit, plus he had so much fun wearing it and running around looking at the exhibits.

    Houston Zoo
    We went to the zoo on a Tuesday afternoon, which it turns out is a free time to visit the zoo. That means it was crazy busy! Parking was the worst part, but once we found a spot it wasn’t too bad. The zoo was crowded, but we still saw everything we were interested in seeing. The zoo is large, with lots of great exhibits, so we spent a few hours walking around. The Children’s Area was great, and Gavin had a lot of fun in that part of the zoo.

    Gavin at the Houston Zoo | rainerlife.com

    Hotel
    Staybridge Suites
    We stayed at the Staybridge Suites near NASA. It was a convenient location for NASA, and Kemah wasn’t a far drive. It took a long time to drive to the zoo, but Houston traffic is terrible, so it takes a while to get anywhere. The hotel staff was very friendly, and the hotel was clean. They were doing construction, but we knew that ahead of time and it wasn’t a problem for us. The construction did close off some of their parking, and twice we grabbed the last spot in the lot… and one of those times was only because a car left, freeing up a spot. We booked a one bedroom suite with a king bed. I wanted a suite so we could close the door if someone, like Gavin, wanted to sleep, but Michael and/or I wanted to stay up. For this trip, it worked out well for us. We didn’t do much outside of the room, but we did enjoy the breakfast each morning.

    Restaurants
    We ate breakfast at the hotel and grabbed lunch at wherever we were visiting (Space Center and Zoo), but we did go out to eat in the evenings.

    The Flying Dutchman
    Seafood resturant located at the Kemah Boardwalk. The food was good, the service was great. I had the shrimp & crab cobb salad, which was huge and no way could I eat the whole thing, but it tasted good. Michael had a steak. It’s always a risk to order a steak at a seafood restaurant, but he figured he’s in Texas, so maybe it would be okay. He said it was good, so I guess he was right. For Gavin, we ordered grilled shrimp. We had them hold the seasoning on his shrimp so they wouldn’t be too spicy, and he seemed to like them. We sat outside near the water and watched the boats while we ate, which was fun for all of us. A good dining choice while visiting the Kemah Boardwalk.

    Bone Daddy’s
    A BBQ joint in Webster. The food and service were good. I had the burnt ends with skillet beans and potato salad. Michael had hot link sausage and brown sugar ham with potato salad and mac and cheese. We both shared food with Gavin, so he had some of everything, except the hot link sausage because it was really spicy. We enjoyed the food and casual atmosphere.

    J Henry’s Draughthouse
    A family-friendly pub-like restaurant in Clear Lake. We wanted to try a place with a good beer selection, and Michael found this one listed online. We started with the soft pretzel appetizer, which is always a good choice with beer. For dinner, I had the beer glazed fish tacos, Michael had the chicken & sausage spaghetti, and Gavin had a cheeseburger. The food was good and the beer selection was great. Most of the beers were from Texas, and they had several beers we hadn’t tried. It was a good place to go for finding new beers to try.

    We had a fun, short family trip! I think Gavin had fun at the Space Center, which was the main part of the trip. So glad we were able to take a few days to get a short vacation in this Spring.

  • Updates

    Monthly Recap: April 2017

    Happy Spring!

    Michael, Gavin, and I started the month off with the Spirits of Oakwood tour. It’s a fun and informative tour that is held each year in conjunction with the Azalea Trails. Volunteers dress in period clothing portray local citizens that were buried in the cemetery. Sometimes the volunteer is a descendant of the person they are portraying, and they can give more information on the individual than you could find elsewhere. They change it up each year, so different locals are represented in the tour.

    Gavin had his first haircut this month. He’s 2 1/2, so he went a long time before needing it cut. Michael cut Gavin’s hair, and did a great job!

    Gavin's First Haircut | rainerlife.com

    Gavin's First Haircut | rainerlife.com

    One Saturday, we drove to Dallas to go to the vinyl record show. The show was located in the Richardson Civic Center, which is next to the library, so Michael and Gavin were able to go the children’s area of the library and play while I shopped. I found a lot of records to buy, so my little vinyl collection is starting to slowly grow. After shopping records, we went to The Flying Saucer restaurant to eat, and Michael and I were able to try some new beers.

    Gavin at the Library | rainerlife.com

    Beer Tasting | rainerlife.com

    We had a happy Easter! It was a great day – Mass in the morning, lunch with family, and fun watching Gavin hunt for eggs and play with his Easter gifts. On Good Friday, Gavin and I dyed Easter eggs with his Honey. It was his first time to dye eggs, and I think he had fun. I figured he would lose interest, but he helped with all the eggs. On Easter Sunday, Gavin’s Honey and Pappaw hid the dyed eggs around their house for him to find that afternoon. Easter Sunday evening, I hid some plastic eggs around the yard for him to find. So, he had lots of eggs to hunt for, but I think he had fun doing it.

    Dyeing Easter Eggs | rainerlife.com

    Dyeing Easter Eggs | rainerlife.com

    Dyeing Easter Eggs | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at Easter | rainerlife.com

    Hunting Easter Eggs | rainerlife.com

    Hunting Easter Eggs | rainerlife.com

    Hunting Easter Eggs | rainerlife.com

    Hunting Easter Eggs | rainerlife.com

    It’s crawfish season! We went to a crawfish boil at a local brewery, and enjoyed a couple of pints while there. Gavin and I love to eat crawfish! He ate more crawfish than I did, which is saying something, because I love boiled crawfish.

    Boiled Crawfish | rainerlife.com

    With this beautiful Spring weather, we’ve been spending more time outside. We’ve been playing outside and swimming in the pool. Also, I’ve been working in the flower beds around the house… weeding and spreading mulch. It’s always nice to get outside more, and now that Gavin is older, he can help me with some of the yard work.

    Flower Beds | rainerlife.com

    Flower Beds | rainerlife.com

  • Home Improvements

    Game Room {Before & After}

    Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means I may receive a very small commission, at no cost to you, if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase. For more information, click here.

    Game Room {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    The room we are using as a game room was built to use as a master bedroom. This room is located behind the kitchen and breakfast room, and we converted one of the closets in this room into a really great walk-in pantry (see the house floor plan). This room has a nice size bathroom off of it and part of that bathroom is what we call the guest half bath. This is another room that we finished last year, but I’m just now getting around to writing about it.

    The room was originally painted light blue with off-white trim, crown molding, and doors. I painted the walls gray using Behr Premium Plus Ultra matte/flat Anonymous (Behr – 780F-5) and the ceiling was painted with Behr Premium Plus Ultra matte/flat Full Moon (Behr – 780E-2). The trim, crown molding, and doors were painted with Behr Premium Plus Ultra satin Ultra Pure White. The interior of the closet was painted with Behr Premium Plus Ultra matte Ultra Pure White.

    Game Room {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    Game Room {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    Game Room {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    This room had carpet, but we wanted to have wood floors in here like in a lot of other areas of our home. So, we had the carpet ripped out and new flooring installed. It looks great!

    Game Room {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    Other improvements were:
    – Hired someone to remove the popcorn ceiling.
    – Replaced the ceiling vent register.
    – Replaced the return air vent grille.
    – Placed LED light bulbs in the ceiling fan and the closet light fixture.
    – Replaced the pull chains on the fan.
    – Replaced the bronze door knob on the game room door with a Baldwin satin nickel knob.
    – Replaced the bronze door knobs on the closet doors with Baldwin satin nickel hall/closet knob.
    – Replaced the bronze door hinges on both doors with satin nickel hinges.
    – Installed new doorstops for the game room door and closet door.
    – Replaced the windows.

    We hired an electrician to update the electrical work in our house. For this room, that was:
    – Replaced the ceiling fan.
    – Replaced the outlets with white decorator outlets.
    – Replaced the toggle light switches with white decorator rocker switches.
    – Replaced the cable outlets with white decorator coax cables.
    – Replaced the phone jack with a white decorator jack.
    – Had hardwired smoke/carbon monoxide alarms installed in the house – one alarm was placed in this room.

    Game Room {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    Game Room {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    We replaced the felt on the pool table when we set it up in this room. When we’re not using this room, we keep the pool table covered.

    It’s great to have it finished and the pool table finally set up and ready to use! This is a fun room to have! We haven’t been using the game room much lately, but it’s great to have when we want to relax and shoot some pool.

    Game Room {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    Game Room {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    Game Room {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

    Game Room {Before & After} | rainerlife.com

  • Updates

    Monthly Recap: March 2017

    Happy Spring!

    We’ve been enjoying this beautiful weather. Since it has been so nice outside, we’ve been to the park a few times lately. With everything in bloom, it’s fun to walk around and look at the beautiful plants. Plus, Gavin enjoys climbing on all the rocks and playground equipment. We’ve also been playing outside more around the house.

    Gavin at the park | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the park | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the park | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the park | rainerlife.com

    Gavin playing outside | rainerlife.com

    Gavin on his ATV | rainerlife.com

    Early in March, Gavin ran his first race! Ok, it was more walk/run than run, but he did great. It was a 1K for kids, and he walked/ran the whole race. I thought we would need to carry him part of the way, but he was a trooper and finished the race. So proud of him!

    Gavin & Michael in a race | rainerlife.com

    Gavin with his race medal | rainerlife.com

    Gavin finished his first session of soccer classes. He did well with it, so we enrolled him in another session of classes. Hopefully, he continues to enjoy it and learn a few things.

    Gavin at soccer class | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at soccer class | rainerlife.com

    Gavin ready for soccer | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at soccer class | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at soccer class | rainerlife.com

    Gavin and I went to the Discovery Science Place. We had been before, but it had been a long time. Gavin loved it! He had fun with a lot of different exhibits, but his favorite was the space exhibit. He loved it! He’s very into space stuff, and didn’t want to leave. He had a blast!

    Gavin at the Discovery Science Place | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the Discovery Science Place | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the Discovery Science Place | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at the Discovery Science Place | rainerlife.com

    This time of year is the Azalea Trails. The azaleas in our yard were looking good this year, and they seemed to be looking good all over town. There are different events held in conjunction with the Azalea Trail… one of these events is a quilt show. Gavin and I went to it with my Mama. We go every year, but we didn’t stay long this year. As you can see from the photo below… Gavin looks like a little boy that was dragged to a quilt show and isn’t having much fun. He did well, especially considering it wasn’t exactly that exciting for a two year old.

    Azaleas in our yard | rainerlife.com

    Tyler Quilt Show | rainerlife.com

    Darinda, Gavin & Beverly at the quilt show | rainerlife.com

  • Updates

    Monthly Recap: February 2017

    Happy Mardi Gras!

    February was a fun month for us! We stayed busy with some fun activities and family time.

    Gavin’s enjoying his soccer class. He does start to lose interest about half-way through the 30-minute class. Basically, he has the attention span of a two-year-old! He pretty good with kicking the ball, but he’s not great at following directions. Shocking, I know.

    Gavin playing soccer | rainerlife.com

    Gavin playing soccer | rainerlife.com

    We took Gavin to see his first movie – LEGO Batman. He really liked the movie… he’s really into Batman, especially LEGO Batman. He likes other superheroes too, but Batman is his current favorite. For the movie, he sat in his seat for the first half of the movie, but sat in my lap for the second half. He did talk some during the show, but it was saying things like “Batman” or “Joker” when they were on the screen. It was a successful first movie trip, so now we know we can add going to the movies to our list activities.

    Gavin & Batman | rainerlife.com

    I took Gavin to the Center for Earth & Space Science Education to watch a show called Earth, Moon, and Sun in the dome theater. It was a short show, but he loved it. He watched the whole thing… didn’t say much, other than the occasional comment about the moon. I think I watched him more than the show, and he had a smile on his face most of the time. He’s really into space stuff (rockets, astronauts, the moon, and the planets). The planetarium offers a few different shows, so we’ll be going back to see the other ones. They also have a small exhibit hall. They had an exhibit about the ocean, which isn’t something Gavin’s really into right now, but he liked the boats and coral displays. For other fun day-time stuff, we’ve been going to playgrounds, storytime at the library, and swimming in the pool. The weather has been nice lately, so we’ve been able to do more outside activities. The pool water is too cool to swim in, but we turn the heater on in the spa and Gavin can play in there. We just make sure we don’t set the water too hot and he can splash and play for a long time in the warm water.

    Center for Earth & Space Science Education | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at Center for Earth & Space Science Education | rainerlife.com

    Gavin on the fire truck at a playground | rainerlife.com

    Gavin at World of Wildlife Museum | rainerlife.com

    Gavin in the spa | rainerlife.com

    We celebrated Valentine’s Day with brunch on Sunday. We went to a local restaurant that offers a nice Sunday brunch. Unfortunately, Gavin was not excited about the outing, so we didn’t linger too long. On Valentine’s Day, Michael sent me a beautiful arrangement of roses.

    Valentine's Day roses | rainerlife.com

    One Saturday, we visited a local brewery that we hadn’t yet tried. ETX Brewing Co. is family friendly, so we took Gavin with us. The beers were good and we enjoyed the atmosphere. We’ll definitely be going back!

    Beers at ETX Brewing Co. | rainerlife.com

    We celebrated Mardi Gras in Jefferson, TX, at the Mysteries and Masquerade Mardi Gras parade. It was Gavin’s first Mardi Gras parade. He wasn’t so sure about it, but once he discovered the beads, he loved it. He loved it so much, he took the beads off his Mama, Honey and Pappaw, because he wanted to wear ALL the beads. He was pretty weighted down with beads by the end of the parade!

    Gavin & Michael at Mardi Gras parade | rainerlife.com

    The Rainers at Mardi Gras parade | rainerlife.com

    Gavinand his beads at Mardi Gras parade | rainerlife.com

    Last week, we went to a local barbecue joint that we go to fairly often, but this time we went on a night they had a band. The band was playing the blues, and Gavin loved it. He danced and danced. We’ve been avoiding going to places on nights they had live music because it’s usually more crowded, but now we know Gavin likes the music. I’m guessing we’ll be going to more live music places so the little man can dance.