Monday, January 26, 2015

What a Difference Paint Makes!

We've been working very hard this week to get the first upstairs room painted.  There was a lot of work to get to this point - every night Chris would disappear upstairs for a couple hours and return covered in drywall dust. 

Once the drywall was in perfect condition, we took turns over the weekend working on priming and painting.  We still have the second coat of paint to do tonight to have the living area ready for carpet and installing the new railing.  It's impressive how much a simple coat of paint will change a room. 

 

The stair area also needed a little facelift.  Just painting the trim around the sides made it look a lot better and cleaner.

 
To do the drywall and painting work above the stairs Chris rigged up a very interesting scaffold.  It was definitely not OSHA approved working conditions but it got the job done!


We still have the bedroom, bathroom, and closet area to finish upstairs before we want to get the carpet installed.  Hopefully by the end of February we'll finally have this entire floor completed.

The weather this week gave us a little bit of snow so Josh got to go on his first sled ride.  He really enjoyed it! 


Josh was also able to play in the turtle sandbox (minus sand).  He found some pieces of ice on the bottom that he used to help his teething pain.  Speaking of teething - number 8 finally came in this week too. 


And of course Samantha really enjoyed the hot chocolate she got after playing outside.  


Josh is getting to be a big boy - he had his first serving of chili...


...and enjoying playing with his tools so he can help us on the house some day.

 
And I'll end this week's post with a Samantha-ism that I found particularly funny/weird this week:

"Josh, your ears are so beautiful!  When you are bigger, you can wear earrings and eat candy!"

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dump, Dump, Dump!

January is generally the time when people try to remove clutter and organize their homes.  Ours is no exception but it is a little different than most homes.  We have been under construction for 5 years and have accumulated a TON of stuff.  This includes things we removed from parts of the house (kitchen cabinets, doors, etc.) that we hung on to in case we could use them somewhere else.  Since the end of our projects is in sight, we were finally able to get rid of a lot of things. 

My parents came down over the weekend and we took 5 truckloads out of the house - half of one to the scrap yard, half of one to the Salvation Army, three to the dump, and one to my parents house (for the River House).  Here is just one area of the basement that we cleaned up - it's quite a noticeable difference (you can even see the hideous floor!).  The items remaining are ones we plan on using in the basement - cabinets in the laundry room, tub in the bathroom, counter and sink in the kitchenette.


This week was also a trip to the doctor for Josh's 9 month checkup.  He did a great job and is still a little on the tall side but he's starting to slim down.  He was 30.5" long (99th percentile) and 23 lb. 5 oz. (96th percentile).  


The only other big thing going on was the National Championship game - Samantha and Josh think that it was due to their decorations for the big game.  Chris is of course very happy with the outcome!


Chris is still working upstairs on the drywall - it's looking great!  We hope to have the full upstairs finished by the end of February.  It will be nice to have one more big project finished - we'll keep our fingers crossed!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Decluttering, Drywalling, and Dressing (Warmly)

It has been very cold around here this week so most of it was spent at home.  It also snowed and so of course we had to go out and play in it.


Samantha loved playing in the snow - she went out three different times the same day.  There wasn't enough snow to sled in but she had fun playing with shovels and spraying colored water on it.


Unfortunately, I didn't get to spend much time outside with Samantha because one member of the family was unhappy with the immobility of his snow gear.


All Josh wants to do is crawl and cruise and he was too bundled up to do much of anything.  Maybe next snow will be deeper and I can pull him in the sled.

We have been working hard in the house.  I've been working to go through everything in the house to get rid of things we no longer need or want.  It's a terrible task but it is about five years overdue.  Since I'm going through things to make the house a little neater, I'm also deep cleaning one area at a time (and our oven hasn't been this clean since it was new!).

After the kids go to bed, every time I see Chris he is covered in drywall dust.  He's been working very hard to get the upstairs ready to be primed and painted.  It is a tedious task so at least we're both doing no-so-fun jobs.

One fun project I completed this week was to make growth charts for the kids.  We were even able to hang them this weekend too so it's a fully completed project (they're rare around here).  


Samantha has lately been showing a lot of interest in words and learning to read.  I started her "lessons" this week.  The book we're using progresses very slowly and each lesson is very short so we do them while Josh is taking his morning nap.  The lessons also include some writing practice.  Here is a picture of her "m" - not bad for not even 3 years old!


Being stuck in the house for days has been a little challenging.  Fortunately, Samantha has been playing pretty well with Josh lately.  Here's a video of them "playing ball."

video

And finally, here are a couple pictures of our cold day tower building.  You can see how much fun she was having with both the building and knocking down!


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

MIA No More - Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!


I know we've been MIA from the blog for awhile.  We were battling sickness and traveling a lot the last couple months.

We had a great Thanksgiving with family.  We double dipped for Thanksgiving dinner and were able to see all the family.  Samantha loved seeing all her cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.  Josh was just happy to have so much attention!




When we got back from our Thanksgiving trip, we had a notice on our door about high water usage.  I called the county to find out what was wrong and it was determined that we had a water leak between the county meter and the house.  This did not make for a happy start to December.

We hired a contractor to install a new water line but in true "money pit" fashion, it was not all that we expected.  The line from the county meter goes out about 2 feet and then the homeowner line is attached to that and then is supposed to head toward the house.  In our case, the line went in a very different direction first.

 


So about $4000 later we at least have a new water line.  If I had known we were going to have such a hefty bill in our future I would have kept working for a little longer!  The whole experience was quite stressful and kept us stuck at the house for an entire week between county people, contractors, inspectors, and Verizon (because our line was cut in the process) coming to the door.  Let's hope we have nothing else like that again! 

Even through the stress at the beginning of the month, we were able to do a few fun Christmas things with the kids.  We attended "Light Up Night" in Saxonburg - complete with a live nativity (including camels!) and Santa.

 

We also went to see some Christmas lights around town and went to ICE at the National Harbor. 


Samantha was very excited about the holiday.  Lighting the Advent candles each night and talking about Jesus' birthday were definitely some highlights of the preparation.

We traveled again for Christmas and the kids were definitely spoiled rotten by our families!  Samantha was so excited about all the presents she received - every time she opened another gift she exclaimed "I LOVE it!!"  It was adorable but of course when we tried to take a video of it she stopped. 

I'll just post a handful of pictures we took over Christmas - the kids had a great time!
  




 

Our New Year was very low key.  I took the kids to "Noon Year's Eve" at the library to have a nice countdown party.  Then we were able to watch the "Midnight at 7" fireworks from our driveway (a perk we will miss if we move from this house).  New Year's Day was spent eating lots of good luck food and watching the Ohio State game (so you know what we'll be doing on the 12th too!).

We have big plans in the coming weeks to finish the upstairs and to remove a lot of the clutter from the house.  It's not so much a resolution as a necessity!  I'll also try to do the fifth annual "Twelve Months of Home Renovation" soon (better late than never!).

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Disney World Vacation!

This is a very picture-heavy post.  It took us until mid-November but we finally went on vacation this year.  It was quite a vacation too!  We went to Disney World for a week and had a great time.

This seemed like a good time to take the kids because Samantha loves princesses.  We definitely got to meet a lot of them!

 



 


Of course she wasn't the only one to get some princess love - they adored Josh (particularly Cinderella and Rapunzel!).  On a side note, lipstick is hard to remove from an infant's forehead!


 

Don't forget the stars of Disney - Tinkerbell was a huge hit!


 


 

We spent 6 days in the parks (3 at Magic Kingdom and one at each of the rest (Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios)).  We had some ups and downs but overall we had a great trip.  Samantha particularly enjoyed some of the rides - especially Dumbo, Mad Tea Party, Barnstormer, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, It's a Small World, and the Tomorrowland PeopleMover.  Most rides aren't great for picture taking but here are a couple of the Tomorrowland Speedway.

 

 

One thing that surprised me about Disney was how much time it took for me to plan the trip - reservations for the resort, dining, FastPasses, etc. all have to be booked well ahead of time.  It takes just about forever to go through the dozens of Disney related websites and books to figure out the best way to do everything.  I think Chris and my parents are glad that I'm the one the did all the leg work so our trip went as smoothly as possible.

There are so many things I could write about our vacation but I'm just going to post some more pictures instead.









 





It may not have been a relaxing vacation but it was a fun one!