Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend Bathroom Work

Samantha got to spend a lot of time with Daddy this week…I spent the first few evenings of the week grouting the shower and bathroom floor.  It took about 10 batches of grout to finish.  Once again we made our own grout color – 1 part Delorean Gray, 2 parts Bright White.  We still have some bullnose tiles to install and grout before we’re fully done. 

On Thursday afternoon we visited a local glass shop to look at some shower doors.  They are coming to the house this week to take measurements and give us a quote.  They said it will take up to 2 ½ weeks until they can install the door – so we won’t be able to shower in there until at least mid-June. 

We did get a lot accomplished this weekend.  There were a few outdoor activities – cutting the grass, watering the garden, etc. but most of the work was bathroom related.  

Saturday afternoon was spent at Lowe's buying the last materials we need for the bathroom.  Chris spent some time putting trim around the door and window – it looks much better now!

We also touched up some drywall, paint, and installed the second medicine cabinet. 

The biggest thing remaining is the vanity.  Back in December we found a second-hand desk unit that we plan on turning into our vanity.  It has plenty of drawers and shelves for a master bathroom and it will be fantastic when it’s done. 

There is a lot of work to do to the vanity but so far everything has gone pretty well.  Obviously we have to work around plumbing which is the majority of the work.  However, the vanity is much shorter than we would like so we have to add some height.  We are going to use a frame of 2”x6” with fancy molding on the outside.  We spent a lot of time Sunday night working on the plan for the vanity – it required many trips up and down steps and a lot of measuring!

So far we have the cuts made for the plumbing lines to come in the back and we installed/modified the half shelf (it used to house a surge protector). 

This was a pretty big week of firsts for Samantha.  On Tuesday she rolled from her back to her stomach for the first time.  Now that’s all she seems to want to do.  For a girl that used to hate tummy time she has been spending a lot of time on her tummy lately!

Now whenever we put her down to sleep (on her back) she almost immediately rolls over.  A common occurrence is to see her flipped and rotated 180 degrees by morning. 

Since it was so hot here this weekend, we decided to take Samantha on her first trip to the pool.  At first she wasn’t too sure about the cool water but eventually she seemed to enjoy it. 

Chris and I both noticed that Samantha’s legs seem thinner this week – we think she finally started growing longer instead of just wider!

Hopefully by this time next week we’ll have grass seed in the front yard and a finished vanity!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Super Busy Week!

We did a ton of work this week – but it doesn’t always look impressive in pictures. 

In the bathroom we finished tiling the shower and most of the “baseboard” tile.  Chris put in more drywall compound in a few big areas.  I painted the door and finished painting the top of the wall (near the ceiling).  We installed one of the medicine cabinets.  I started grouting the shower. 

Grouting is going to take a lot more time and then we will be able to start installing fixtures.  We have quite a bit of work on the vanity before it will be ready to install though. 

The weekend weather was wonderful so we actually got a lot done outside.  We finally finished cleaning and bundling up the branches from “Hurricane Chris.”  I put landscaping fabric around the hops and some garden plants.  Chris strung up his hops.  We had our first garden harvest – some salad greens, peas, and strawberries (they are all delicious!).

The landscaper finally came back to remove the rocks/roots and to spread out the topsoil.  We had hoped that they would have covered all the roots in the front yard but unfortunately it didn’t cover them all.  We asked them to bring more topsoil so we’ll see if it happens.  It does look much better than it did before.  

During the week I did some more “crafty” things.  Chris’ parent’s 50th anniversary is coming up in June and his siblings are throwing a party.  I offered to make the invitations so I was busy putting them together and doing some calligraphy (I’m not very good at it though!).  It was a nice change of pace.

For the last couple years my parents have been yearning for an old house they found for sale right near the Allegheny River.  Through a lot of drama, they finally ended up buying “The River House” on Monday.  It is a very old house and it needs a ton of work but they plan on taking their time as it will be a place they can go to relax when they are retired.

It is not “river front” property but it is as close as you can get.  There is a great view of the water and it’s only steps away from their house.  

The house has 4 bedrooms, living room, kitchen, and basement.  The bathroom is actually a bath house that is detached from the house.  There is also a nice size garage behind the house.  There are a lot of original items in the house and the whole property was poorly maintained for many years.  We have never been inside the house but look forward to it soon.  However, I know we’ll have to pay them back for all the work they’ve done on the Money Pit!

In Samantha news, she started squealing in delight this week.  She is doing a lot of laughing, cooing, razzing, and smiling.  She has already doubled her birth weight (she was 14 lb. 1 oz. Sunday night).  She is also starting to play more with toys – she was hugging her stuffed monkey today.  She is such a happy girl and we’re so blessed to have her!

I wanted to post a few pictures from a couple weeks ago.  She was staying with our friends while we were at a wedding.  Jared is 2 ½ years old and Scott is 8 months.  It’s hard to believe Samantha will be that big soon!

Here are some pictures from this week:

Let’s hope I can finish grouting this week!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother’s Day and Gardening

This was my first Mother’s Day and it was wonderful. Chris made me both breakfast and a very nice dinner. I got flowers, a card from Samantha, and bison (not the traditional Mother’s Day gift but it’s so tasty!). Hopefully Chris will have an equally wonderful Father’s Day!

We were able to get a little bit of work done in the bathroom this week. The tiles remaining are the unique cuts. Some of them require a double bullnose cut (one on each side). This means we have to switch blades on the saw quite frequently.

Since the trees in our front yard were removed last month we knew we needed to do some landscaping. The area needing the most work is partly on our property and partly on our neighbors. They got a landscaper in to give them a quote to smooth out that area. While he was there we asked for a quote to smooth and seed our front yard. Normally this is something that we would tackle ourselves but with all the heavy equipment involved we decided to pay for it.

Our front yard has a ton of roots on the surface and large holes (from getting the trees cut down). Also, the majority of the yard is really weeds (very little grass). The work we’re paying for should make the whole area much better.

It seems like the area between the properties has a lot of very large rocks (boulders?). They are so big and we have no idea how they are going to remove them all.

They brought in 30 yards of topsoil on Thursday and once everything is smooth they will seed the yard.

The big accomplishment for the weekend was all the yardwork. Chris finished cutting down/up trees so we can put all the yard debris out for collection soon.

We had to rent a tiller (ours is having some issues) in order to get our garden planted. Chris worked all night Friday to finish tilling. On Saturday, I planted and planted and planted. We have a very large garden and two big planters. Hopefully they will all start growing well now that the plants are in the ground. We’re glad we’ll have so much fresh food here since Samantha will be starting solids by the end of summer – it’s much better when you know where it came from!

Speaking of Samantha, she is amazing us all the time. She is incredibly strong for a baby her age…the other day she was doing crunches (although I’m sure she doesn’t care about her abs!), she holds all her weight on her legs, and she started jumping around in her jumper chair and exersaucer.

She is much more verbal this week as well. When she is playing there is almost constant noise coming from her – mostly razzing and cooing (of course she stops when we try to take a video!). She is able to keep herself entertained for about a half hour at a time which allows me to do some things around the house.

She always seems to have her thumb in her mouth when she’s not otherwise entertained. Hopefully that won’t be a habit that lasts too long (it’s a hard one to break!).

She is reaching for a lot of things too – she pulls down the toys in her gym and the bouncy seat (thanks Diane and Steve!) and shakes them or tries to put them in her mouth.

Here are a few more pictures from the week:

We really, really hope we get more completed on the bathroom this week! It’s hard now since there is so much outside work to do…

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Hurricane Chris Hits the Money Pit

This week was productive but not much work was completed on the bathroom. We are down to the tiles that all need special cuts (bullnose on both sides, etc.). We hope to get more completed this week.

We did get to go through a lot of the stuff in the basement. We have a months’ worth of recycling with all the boxes we had collected. Yes, I am a box hoarder…you just never know when you need a good box! I was happy to get rid of them though. Our basement feels so much bigger now and will soon be ready to install the HVAC ducts.

I also worked more on the planters. I have had to work on them piecemeal because Samantha doesn’t let me get much work done all at once. I had finished the assembly last week and just had to install the liners and tubing for the water reservoir. I started putting in the potting mix but wasn’t able to finish – hopefully this week.

We had great weather this week so we worked a lot outside. Chris started tilling the garden but had mechanical difficulties. He was able to fix the tiller and then had the pull-start handle break. He replaced it and then the handle broke again when he was giving it a tune up. Hopefully he can either fix it or we can rent one so that we can plant soon.

Chris went a little crazy with the tree pruning and removing bad trees on Sunday afternoon. It definitely looked like a hurricane hit the backyard. But the trees look better and are much healthier now.

We have so many bundles of branches set out for pickup and we’ve only bundled about half of what he cut down. It’s just one more thing we’ll have to do this week.

One reason we didn’t seem to get much done over the weekend is because we went to a wedding on Saturday. It was our first time leaving Samantha with someone other than family. She was a “little sister” for Jared and Scott for the day. For some reason she took three good naps while she was there…I need to have Diane come over when she won’t nap for me!

The wedding was for our friends Tom and Danielle. They had the ceremony outside at the Inner Harbor and had great weather. It was so nice to have a “date” and not have to do any house work that day!

It was a pretty busy week for our little girl. We met with the New Mom’s group on Monday at the mall for lunch and then for our normal Thursday meeting we went to the library. The library has a lot of great programs for kids. The one we attended was called “Play Partners” and was filled with songs, books, and puppets. Samantha really enjoyed it so I think we may make it part of our weekly routine (they have it twice a week).

Samantha is getting much better at the “razz”berries, learned to stick out her tongue a lot more, and is sucking her thumb most of the time. We think she is going through a growth spurt because she’s been waking at night to eat and she’s been taking many more (and longer) naps than usual.

Here are pictures for the week.

The goal for this week is to finish the planters, till the garden, and to finish the tile in the shower. Wish us luck!