Monday, March 26, 2012

Tiling a Shower During Baby Naps

We were incredibly productive this week. We worked on tiling the shower every night after Samantha’s bath and during her naps over the weekend. While we’re not finished yet, we accomplished a lot for having a baby!

We worked in small sections until we either ran out of thinset or until the baby woke up. Below you can see the work we did at each point. Hopefully we’ll be able to finish tiling this week!

Samantha acted as supervisor during some of the tiling work…she is a tough boss!

While Chris was at work, I was able to do some work while Samantha napped. The side of our garage has some day lilies Chris’ parents planted before but we’ve definitely neglected it since then. So I decided to remove a lot of the weeds so that they have a chance to grow (this side of the house needs some major work later!). Samantha did a great job sleeping in her stroller but unfortunately woke up before I was done.

We were also able to plant some trees this weekend. We had some small trees from the Arbor Day Foundation and we have to plant them in a protected place for a couple years before transplanting them to their final spot. We had some mulch left from the stump grinding last week so we won’t have to worry about mowing around the tiny trees.

I had a couple appointments this week so I wasn’t able to get much done around the house during the day – it makes me feel like a slacker! I had my six week post-partum midwife appointment on Thursday. I have lost over 25 pounds and I was given the green light to do whatever I want. I’m excited to start running and exercising again – it’ll make it easier to lose these last several pounds. I found a bunch of my pre-pregnancy jeans today and am able to fit into them so hopefully it won’t be long before I’m back to my normal weight.

In baby news, Samantha has been growing like a weed – a chubby one. She is definitely smiling and cooing a lot more which is a lot of fun for us. We’ve been taking her on a lot of walks when the weather is nice (which was just about every day this week). She is holding her head up even though she still doesn’t like tummy time very much. She loves books and we read a few each day (the Sesame Street books are great!). We also got to Skype with Grandma and Grandpa Bennett for the first time – I’m sure it’ll be fun for them to see her change each week. Here are some photos from the week:

We have only 3 more weeks before our permits expire for the bathroom work – let’s hope it is finished by then!

Monday, March 19, 2012

We Really Do Like Trees…

…although you may not be able to tell it after this week. When we first bought the house we got a ton of trees removed – some were inches from the house, some were diseased, some were on the roof, and some were just ugly and shading the whole yard.

At that time we left a line of pine trees on the right side of the property and two big trees in the front and back yard (partly to shade the house since we don’t have air conditioning). We have been worried about these trees for awhile though. The two big ones in front and back are silver maples. They are known for their shallow root base (we’re worried about the foundation) and they are “self-pruning” (meaning that they drop large branches every few weeks). The pine trees on the right are just ugly and some were dead or diseased.

So we finally decided to get them all removed before the maples dropped their helicopters. We also had some of the other dead/diseased trees in the backyard removed. Our neighbors were good enough to help us with the cost of removing the pine trees even though they are on our property – thanks!

Our tree guys were here for 3 full days. After the first day we were a little concerned that we had made a mistake but the emptiness has grown on us quickly (and it gives us a blank slate for landscaping).

The tree removal process is pretty impressive. The big tree out back took them over a full day to remove and grind the stump. It was about 6 feet in diameter and only 10 feet from the house (and hanging over it). Samantha and I went to run some errands when they were taking that monster down.

Here are a few pictures from the tree removal followed by the before/after shots.

Over the weekend we started installing the tile in the master bathroom. We bought marble tile and decided to seal them first to prevent any staining.

We were able to install some of the tile in the bottom part of the shower and some of the accent tile in the shower shelf. The most difficult part of the tiling process is deciding which order to install the tiles and how we need to cut certain tiles (bullnose, back cut, etc.). Hopefully we have it all figured out now and the rest will go smoothly.

One random thing from the week was the wild turkey in our front yard – it just roamed around one morning.

Samantha had a pretty good week but she has started her “Purple” crying in the evening. She cries and there’s nothing we can do to comfort her. Unfortunately it seems like the crying session starts as soon as we’re ready to eat dinner.

She is still growing – I think her cheeks and thighs get chubbier by the day. This morning Chris described her as “an angel with male pattern baldness.” We’re hoping she grows some hair on top!

Here are some pictures from the week:

Hopefully next week we’ll have more tile to reveal!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Big 3-0

I can't believe it but I turn 30 today. I definitely feel a little old!

Chris asked what I wanted for my birthday and I told him a finished bathroom...I guess my present will be a little late!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tile Coming Soon…

This week was spent getting the bathroom closer to laying tile. My parents came down for the weekend and my dad and Chris worked on installing the backerboard and the mortar bed in the shower area. We are now to the point where we can probably start tiling in a few days.

While they were working in the bathroom, my mom and I did things like painting the den door and decorating the nursery. And of course there was a lot of playing with and holding Samantha!

My mom also chopped off all my hair so that I can donate it. It is nice to have all that long hair gone!

Because my birthday is this week, we went out for dinner and brunch. They were the first times Samantha was in a restaurant and she did very well.

Samantha had her 1 month doctor’s appointment today and she is growing like a weed (a chubby one!). She is now 22 inches (90th percentile) and 10 pounds (75th percentile). The doctor was very happy with her growth and progress with her strength and development.

We keep wondering who Samantha looks like – I tried to put together a few pictures of us as babies. I think it’s obvious that she got Chris’ hair (since I was a bald baby for a long time!) and eyelashes but the rest we’re not sure about. What do you think?

Here are some other pictures from the week:

This week should bring about a huge change to the exterior of the house. I plan on posting a lot of pictures of it!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Tree Pruning and Shower Floor Work

After work this week Chris worked on pruning the trees out back. We kept waiting for the weather to get cold to prune but we never had a winter this year – hopefully it won’t hurt the trees! It’s great to have it done but now we have a big pile of tree limbs out back and the county doesn’t start picking them up again until early April.

The end of the week was spent preparing the master bathroom shower floor for tile. Chris installed tar paper and backerboard for the shower shelf. We have to install drywall on the back of one of the pieces of backerboard so we installed a waterproof material on the back so there is no chance of any leaking in the future.

While cutting some small pieces of backerboard Chris had a little incident with the utility knife – a deep 2” cut on his finger. That made the rest of the work much more difficult.

Fortunately, Samantha decided to take a couple long naps this weekend so I was able to help out. I installed some blocking near the bottom of the shower to keep the mortar bed in place. Then together we installed the tar paper and mesh on the shower floor.

We purchased the Quick Pitch system to help get the proper slope for the shower floor. We had to mix up about 80 lbs of sand and Portland cement for the pre-pitch layer. We should definitely wear gloves next time – our hands are like sand paper today.

Chris did a great job installing the mortar bed. Once it cures, we need to put in the waterproof membrane and then the second layer of the mortar bed. Hopefully we’ll be able to finish it this week (if Samantha cooperates with her naps!).

This week was a pretty good one for Samantha – she’s still gaining a lot of weight and has been sleeping in 3+ hour stretches at night. She enjoys her baths and is starting to smile a lot more. She seems to stay awake a lot during the day so her napping has a lot to be desired…something for us to work on! Here are some pictures from this week.

My parents are headed down this coming weekend so hopefully we’ll have more to report on next week!