Monday, November 28, 2011

Turkey Eating, Friday Shopping, Light-Up Nighting, and Baby Showering

We’ve had a very busy week! I spent the first part of the week working from home. On Monday we had a “Quick” Energy Audit. This basically meant that they told us the same things they told us in the first one but this time they gave us CFL bulbs, water line insulation, shower heads, and faucet aerators.

On Tuesday, I had my 3 hour Glucose Tolerance Test. I was so hungry when I got out of there! The worst part about the test is that they have to stick you 4 times to draw all the blood they need – I ended up with quite a few bruises. I just learned that I passed all 4 samples so I don’t have gestational diabetes – yay!

We took vacation on Wednesday and drove to Chris’ parents’ house. We got to meet our new nephew Zach – what a cutie! I was even able to snap a picture of Chris feeding him…

We really enjoyed the time spent with family this weekend. We stayed with Chris’ family until after their Thanksgiving dinner and then headed to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving with my family. So we double dipped and we’re both a bit heavier today because of it!

On Friday morning, my mom and I went shopping for Black Friday. I was able to finish almost all of my Christmas shopping and got Chris’ birthday present too.

Friday night was the big “Light Up Night” in my hometown so we went out to dinner and then to see the parade on Main Street. My high school alma mater was playing in the championship game the following day so of course the band and football players were all there. Towards the end of the parade they always have the manger scene – Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, shepherds, sheep, wise men, and camels. And of course the Grinch is always the “pooper scooper!”

My mom threw me a baby shower on Saturday – she did such a wonderful job! Everyone had a good time. My mom used my old monkey collection to decorate – and the cake matched the invitations too. We ended up getting a lot of really nice presents – our family and friends are too generous!

So after a busy Thanksgiving weekend, we got back to Maryland with enough time to put up more tile in the bathroom. We should be able to start on the fancy tile tomorrow night.

One more thing – Chris finally received his prize and score sheets in the mail from the beer competition.
The overall impression comments were great:

“Excellent beer. This was a real treat to drink.”
“A very nice and complex beer, with rich flavor notes. Wow!”
“Absolutely excellent beer! Thank you!”

Hopefully he’ll continue to improve and maybe next time he’ll win some money!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tiling and Nesting

The work on the house this week revolved around tile. On Tuesday we grouted the bathroom floor.

At the store, our options were limited for grout colors in non-sanded so we ended up buying bright white. Of course once we had it finished (and it had cured), we decided that we didn’t like it. So the logical thing to do was to remove it and find some we liked. A word to the wise – if you think you don’t like the grout color, remove it while it’s still easy to remove!

Saturday was spent installing the 12”x12” tiles in the tub surround (notice our lovely shim and tape job to keep everything in place). We didn’t get all finished with it though – there was an exciting football game to watch! Thankfully Penn State won so I was happy the rest of the day (I can’t say the same for Chris!).

Sunday was supposed to be finishing up a lot of the tiling. Unfortunately, we had other things to do. We had to go shopping for grout and other fixtures for the tub surround.

When we got home from shopping, we decided that today was a pretty good day to clean up the leaves in the yard. We are one of the only houses in the neighborhood that does not hire a lawn service so our yard was looking pretty bad. Fortunately, our neighbor across the street had given us his “yard sweeper” before he moved out last year – it is not perfect but it does the job much faster than raking all by hand. Chris also was able to cut the grass (and any small remaining leaves) one more time before the weather turns bad.

After the yard work was taken care of, Chris decided to brew some beer so that it will be ready by Christmas. While he brewed, I was in super-nesting-mode. If this nesting phenomenon continues, we may actually have a half organized, clean house by the time the baby arrives.

Speaking of baby stuff – we went to our first “Prepared Childbirth” class on Monday. They last for 5 weeks for a couple hours each session. It was nice to meet other couples that will have children the same age as ours.

Most people that know I’m pregnant still tell me that I’m carrying very small. At the class, I was definitely the smallest one there (one lady is so big that she looks like she should have given birth 2 months ago!). So far I have gained about 18 pounds and my stomach measurement is right on track. Below you can see the comparison from 8 weeks to 28 weeks – I definitely notice the difference!

I had a few baby related appointments this week – a sonogram, a screening glucose tolerance test, and a midwife appointment. I had to have a second detailed sonogram because the baby’s umbilical cord only has one artery (it’s supposed to have 2). This could cause the baby to be small but at this appointment they determined that the baby was in the 44th percentile for weight at 28 weeks (2 lb. 10 oz.).

They also do a 3-D image of the baby’s face. Our baby was uncooperative and had its hands by its face the whole time. The images seem rather distorted – either that or our baby has enormous lips, a wide nose, and a black eye!

When I went to the midwife, I found out that I failed my glucose tolerance screening test. Now I have to go for the 3 hour test to see if I have gestational diabetes. Before this test they gave me a specific carb rich diet that I have to be on for 3 days beforehand. So now I’m cramming in the carbs for my test on Tuesday. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that I don’t have diabetes!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Beer Awards and Tile Floor

On a whim, last week Master Brewer Chris entered a brewing competition. He had brewed a Weizenbock (BJCP Style 15C) a while back and decided to enter it into the “Turkey Shoot” competition through MALT, a local home brewing club.

The competition was quite big (over 150 beers) and he came in second place in his category (out of 9 beers). This is his second competition and his second award – last year he won the “Brewer’s Choice” award at Franklin’s. I’m so happy for him but I’m starting to wonder if there is a brewery in our future (it would be a fun type of engineering)!

On to house stuff - at the end of last week we had a bathroom that was full of drywall dust. Chris was able to finish up the last couple coats of drywall compound and to do all the sanding and sponging. We had off for Veteran’s Day and we used that time to prime the walls and ceiling and paint the ceiling while we waited for our tile to arrive. That evening we installed the cement board on the floor.

Our tile arrived on Friday afternoon. It was on one pallet and weighed 650 pounds – and this is for only one bathroom! We put it all in the living room to let it warm up a bit.

On Saturday, we played around with the tile design. For the floor we tried two brick patterns and a diamond pattern.

We decided on the second brick pattern – it will match what we plan on doing in the tub surround. On Sunday afternoon, we finally got to work installing the tile. The bathroom is long and narrow so I ended up spending a good 8 hours having to look at Chris’ behind. I was the “go-for” and the tile cutter.

Chris was a very busy boy laying the tile – and trying to get it even with uneven floors is a challenge!

A friend of ours allowed us to borrow his professional tile saw – this thing is great! The hardest cuts were around the toilet drain and the tiny wall next to the bathtub. They weren’t perfect but they will be covered with a toilet or a piece of bullnose tile.

Over the long weekend the bathroom went from this…

…to this.

I wish we had more of these long weekends!

Monday, November 7, 2011

We Have Power and Tile (on the way…)

This week didn’t seem very productive but we actually got through a very big hurdle. All along we thought that picking the tile for the bathroom would be fun. However, it is anything but.

The problem with picking tile is that there are:

1. Way too many options on color/style
2. Once you pick a color you have to decide what size(s) to buy
3. Then find a matching/complementary accent tile out of the thousands of options
4. Then you have to decide how you want to lay them out
5. Finally you get to determine how many you will need (actually the easiest and most enjoyable part of the process – at least for 2 engineers!)

So we’ve gone back and forth between using floor tile that we already have (and buying a complementary tile for the tub surround) or going with a completely different tile color altogether. After many trips to the store and searching online, we finally decided on the main bathroom tile color. We are going with the Vallelunga Pietra Romana Avorio tile – we still haven’t decided on an accent tile for the tub surround though.

We also decided on a tile design for the bathroom (after coming up with 50+ options). The floor will be a simple brick pattern but the tub surround will be a little fancier. We were able to save some money by using 12”x12” tiles on the bottom of the surround and the fancy expensive ones above.

Now we just have to wait for the tile to arrive (of course we have a lot of other things to do in the meantime).

On Friday the electricians came back to install the outlets and switches. I temporarily installed some lighting in both bathrooms so we don’t have to use the big work light (it gives off so much heat that it turns the room into a sauna).

The electricians were joking that they should wrap themselves in bubble wrap when they come to our house so they don’t have any more accidents. This time our bathtub was ready…it’s now covered in tape, a sheet, two comforters (from Goodwill), and cardboard.

One thing we learned over the weekend is that door frames today are not the same size as they were in 1960. We kept wondering why the door frame sticks out about ¼” from the drywall in the bathroom. We measured both old and new door frames and realized that the old door frame was extra wide to account for the very thick plaster on each wall. So now we have one wall with plaster (the hall) and one with drywall (the bathroom). We looked at all of our options and decided the easiest would be to add thin (1/4”) drywall to the bathroom side and buy a box extender for the switch box.

On a fun note, our grocery store this week had “Super Double Coupons” where they double coupons up to $1.98. We ended up saving $200 on groceries (we may have gone a little overboard on some things but at least Chris will smell good for years!).

Since the weather was so nice this weekend, I painted the exterior door in the kitchen. There was a little accident during the process though…

Even though it’s a fuzzy picture, I think you can tell what happened. It may be time to donate my hair again!

On a pregnancy note, I think the “nesting” phase has begun. I just can’t seem to stand all of our clutter and dirt anymore. It is so bad that I even cleaned my officemate’s desk this morning. Hopefully I have the energy to do the same to the house!