SO - just an update. Several months have gone by and we are close to being finished with our kitchen remodel. In the middle of this redo, we took a 5 week trip and sent our son to school overseas for the next year. (he was the one scraping off the popcorn ceiling).
We gutted 3 rooms, kitchen/family room and a large laundry and utility area. Suspended celings came out, popcorn ceilings were removed, fluorescent fixtures went to the dump, we rewired, replumbed and refloored. We did all the work our selves except for some carpet installation in the family room.
We still have things left to finish. Back splashes, fireplace mantel, pictures on the walls and window treatments. I still can't find some things that were packed away in storage for the summer and of course - nothing is in the same place!