Friday, November 30, 2012

Girls Night Out (or In)

My high school group of friends is unusual (in a good way, hear me out).  A few of us married our high school sweethearts and many of us have stayed in very close contact throughout college, most moved back home and we have continued to see each other on a regular basis.  
We used to do girls nights or at least happy hours on a semi-regular basis...
Since babies have entered the picture, the girls it seems, tend to get a little more left out.  It's easy for guys to sign up for Thursday night softball, or organize a tee time, it's a lot harder to plan time with the girls, kids or not.  
Recently we've been trying to be better at it.  We've gotten together at a few of our hosues for girls nights over the last few months, and everyone brings something to share!  Babies are welcome, it's up to the discretion of the mama:).  Then the kids can play, we get caught up and the guys may even get a happy hour out of it!
In addition to girls night in, we recently had a "Baby's out, Mamas Night Out," to celebrate recent additions to the growing group of little ones.  Babies were not invited and the guys were on deck for the kiddos.  We went out for dinner and drinks to celebrate Meghan and that baby Madeline is out!  It is so important to set time aside for time with just the girls, and we had so much fun.  My girl friends are so great and so supportive of each more thing to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mazy Dayz

I'm still going with the excuse that since my kitchen reno has fallen severly behind, so has the chronicling of our life.  Today we're heading back to early October.  Nate, Griff and I headed to the Twin Cities Corn Maze in Brooklyn Park.  Before we even got through admittance, Griffin was weaving in and out of the corn which lined the parking lot.  Bonus points to you if you can find him in this picture before Nate gets to him:).
There he is!  My how he's grown since last year at the pumpkin patch....
And he required a tackle just to stop the momentum and remind him that we were actually going somewhere fun, if we could only get through the main gates.
We finally got him headed in the right direction.....
Well sort of....he needed some constant re-directing.
And we were smart to snap a few pics before entering...
...because, getting them "on the way out," is never a good plan.
We also got to meet up with some friends from (Nate's) college, Chad, Laura and Owen.  Isn't he the cutest little thing!  He was such a good sport, enjoying the corn maze even in the cold temps.
There was a little kiddie maze in the middle that was tall enough to keep Griffin contained, but short enough that we could keep an eye on him.

We just had to keep an eye out for the little curly toe head making his way throughout the maze!

There was also a petting zoo....with goats, chickens, sheep and a little cow.
Upon entering we talked about how we need to be gentle and approach the animals slowly so we didn't scare them.  To be honest, I thought Griffin would be afraid of them and it wouldn't be an issue.  Shows you how well I know my son. :)
True to Griffin form, he was chasing the animals, trying to pull their tails and torment them any way he could.
You can tell by the look on his face, he's just planning his next move, scoping out his next tail-pulling victim.
Our next stop was the corn pit.  This thing is genious for an 18-month who can't run fast or far enough in a given day to keep up with his energy level.
It took so much energy just to walk around he actully got frustrated and sat down (for a few minutes)....
....until he figured out he could throw corn...
All in all it was a great day at the corn maze.  We burned a lot of energy, had a few meltdowns, and got to pick out our pumpkins, which the squirrels later ate on our front step, and Griffin likes to remind us, "Qurrrrls ate our pumpkins!  Hey Qurrrllss!  Stop eating our pumpkins!"




Monday, November 26, 2012

Pretty Yummy in Pink

Well, this is pretty belated...since we found out we were having a girl on October 15th:).  But I am intent on making things special in their own way for our second child, while realistically knowing things will be different than they were the first time around.

It started with the ultrasound. Apparently finding out it's a girl isn't quite as obvious or dramatic as finding out it's a boy. We left the ultrasound being like,"Are we going with this call? Are we for sure it's a girl?" Whereas with Griffin we had clearly seen the evidence that we were having a boy.

When I got home from our appointment I started cupcakes to be exact. I just wanted to be able to tell the grandparents in a special way and since we didn't have the patience to do the give-the-envelope-to-the-bakery thing, I decided to do the baking myself.
Just plain and simple, pink cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.   I wrote "girl" on a few of them since I didn't know if all the grandparents would be home for the delivery. 
My step-dad's reaction was the best.  I wasn't there but my mom gave him the cupcake and said, it's from Lesley.  And his response was (after a bite)..."mmmm, cherry?"  Mom, "No, did you see that they were pink?"  Ian, "Oh, is it for breast cancer awareness month?"  I love it!  I thought that was even a pretty intuitive and clever response! 
I also have to admit that at first glace the baby girl clothing out in stores was unappealing as it is overwhelmingly pink.  And I am not a pink person.  But doing the cupcakes and looking at a few cute things my mom had picked up got me more in the baby girl clothing spirit....and I promise we will get the nursery ready before she arrives, but since the kitchen stuff is still camped out in there, it's just a waiting game.....

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Kitchen Update Week 3

Why has it taken me so long to update progress on our kitchen renovation?  Because in the first 2 weeks...nothing happened.  Yeah, our kitchen was demolished and we began life without a dishwasher/sink/over/range and very little progress, noticeable or otherwise was made.

We packed up our kitchen the weekend before Halloween.  Demo was supposed to begin on Monday but it was pushed to Tuesday. 

 So we had entirely cleared out our kitchen, dismantled our sink, removed our dishwasher....basically were living as though our kitchen were being remodeled, but nothing happened for a few days.  A preview of what was to come....
 It looked nice all cleared out.  Like a clean, fresh start.

And this is where our make-shift kitchen is.  Notice the cart in the corner with the microwave and toaster oven.  This picture was obviously taken toward the beginning of the process because today it looks much different.  For example, on top of the cart and microwave and toaster oven are boxes of cereal, Cooper's food container and you can't even see the ugly stencil design on our dining room table because it's hidden with mail, paper plates, etc.

 And this is where our kitchen stuff is.  Remember last week when I couldn't update you on our office room with a new pic?  This is why.
 One last view....before any real progress happened....
And then one day later.  Tile floor gone.  Backsplash gone (single tear since they were my first tiling projects).  Cabinets gone (no tears!).  Soffits gone. Check. Check. Check!
 Here's a better view of the floor.  The linoleum beneath my tile job has not been demo'ed yet....but it will!
 Day 2 of demo....wall framed for pass thru! And yellow pocket door gone, check!
 This is an old pic.  We actually had him lower the height of the pass thru slightly from what you see here.
Now, fast forward.  This was not my intention to fast forward so far, because I did in fact take a picture of every step, everyday...but somehow I cannot locate them on my camera.  I'm sure it has something to  do with the Apple IIGS computer I'm using (remember those!  Zany Golf was soooo much fun!).  But anyway, fast forward two weeks to today.  Which is kind of how the progress felt anyway, so maybe I did that on purpose-yeah, let's go with that.

Pass thru opened.  Kitchen re-dry-walled.  Semi-painted.  Gas line installed.  Cabinets installed. Sink back in.  Old countertops back in.  New countertops measured and awaiting install.....
Here's a look from the other side...
 Another view from the backdoor (I couldn't really get in since the tile was just layed)....look closely for a sneak peak of the new floor!
 Well here's a closer up view....
 Still to do: A lot.

-Finish floor (since we can't move the fridge out of the kitchen we have to jimmy-rig it to the other side, tile an then move it back, rinse, grout, repeat.  You get it.  Oh, and then add transition pieces between the kitchen and other rooms.

-Finish painting (re-paint ceiling, trim and touch up walls).

-Re-install: dishwasher, range and pendant above the sink

-Re-install trim (some cuts and painting still need to be made) and shelf above the fridge

-Install range hood

-Install new countertops (to go over cabinets that were previously not covered by countertops

-Install backsplash

I think that pretty much covers the major things.  As of this weekend we are back in action with a sink---wahooo!  I never thought I'd be so thankful to be able to do dishes in a real kitchen sink again!  Once the floor is in and grouted we will be able to put back in the dishwasher and oven and then will truly be back in action cooking.

Meanwhile, we are SO thankful for all of our family and friends who have helped us out by having us over for meals or sending leftovers to our house.  We promise to have you over when the kitchen is done so we can cook for you!

Oh and we're also thankful that no one is asking us to bring anything that needs to be "cooked" to Thanksgiving! :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Flashback: basement

For some reason I can't find the before basement photos.  But if you've seen a 50's basement with asbestos floor tiles and a drop down ceiling, you've seen our basement.  In fact, this is the only photo I could find and it actually is pretty accurate.  It looks as though going down into the basement was like walking into a cold and hard dungeon.  That is exactly what it was.

Not that a more recent one looks all that much less-dungeony.....but the carpet sure helps!
It's basically one big open space.  And we have loved having a carpeted room, especially for Griffin.

This picture was taken before our basement was overthrown by plastic baby toys....ugh.

There is also a fireplace opposite the loungin' area.  All we've done to it is re-paint the inside a nice deep fire-safe black and paint the brick white.  We also added a little molding to the shelf to spruce it up a bit.

Looking down the hall leads to the bathroom, which was there, we just re-finished.  And by we, I mean our friend/contractor, Jesse.  This was the first time we hired the work out, rather than tackling it ourselves myself.  I was pregnant and it just seemed like too big a job for a pregnant lady.
And here is the bathroom.  It's only a 1/2 bath, but since there is no bedroom in the basement, there wasn't really a point to add a shower.
We have absolutely loved having this extra space, especially after adding an extra body to our family!