Monday, December 30, 2013

A Very Merry Christmas

We had a wonderful Christmas.  We traveled to Pennsylvania to spend some time with my family.  Besides seeing the River House (which looks great!), we visited with some friends and went to a train museum. 

The train museum we visited is over 4000 sq. ft. of train display that models the tracks from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, MD.  Samantha really enjoyed it!


Samantha was super spoiled this year for Christmas.  Of course she thought it was great.  Here are some photos of our Christmas.


We left Pennsylvania the day after Christmas and Chris' parents came to visit for a few days.  We waited until they were here to celebrate our Christmas (where she was spoiled by that side of the family).  


And a few of the gifts she couldn't wait to try out.

We have added so much to our house that we need some major cleaning!

On Sunday we started to focus on de-cluttering and organizing.  All the items that we removed from the house (old kitchen cabinets, doors, sinks, etc.) have been sitting in the unfinished part of the basement.  We started removing items that we're donating or selling and started selecting cabinets that we want to use to organize our tools. 

This is how this area started (you can't see it from the picture but there are 4 rows of stuff).

Here is a slightly more organized space that will soon become our storage room. 

My big present this year from Chris was toy storage.  I spent some time assembling it and organizing all the toys.  Then while we were working in the storage area, Samantha did this.

Hopefully in the new year I can teach her to organize the toys herself!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a very safe and merry Christmas! 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Twas the week before Christmas...

...and Chris finished the hall linen closet!  What a great early Christmas present!  He worked hard to finish up the drywall compound, primed, painted, and installed shelves.  It's great to have a home for all our towels, sheets, etc.

Samantha and I did a few Christmas-y things this week.  We went to a train garden at a local community center.  She had a great time pushing all the buttons.  

We also had some fun playing with some Christmas colored salt dough.  We also made a few ornaments and crafts too. 

We hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Twelve Days of Home Renovation - November

On the twelfth month of home renovation we finished the retaining wall, finished the landscaping, went to a bar mitzvah, and ate a lot of turkey.

The retaining wall was finished this month and it is quite an improvement on pictures we took when we bought the house.

We went to our first ever bar mitzvah this year.  It was for our next door neighbors' son and it was a great party.  Samantha really enjoyed dancing!

We also got to see the baby during the 20 week sonogram.  We think the baby has Samantha's nose and big feet!

I continued to help Samantha contribute to the running of the house by teaching her to clean the oven!

No month would be complete without some crafts (like handprint turkeys).

Following Thanksgiving, Samantha was less than thrilled to meet Santa Claus after the Light Up Night parade!

We hope you enjoyed the Fourth Annual Twelve Days of Home Renovation!  We hope next year gets us even closer to "finishing" the major renovations!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Twelve Days of Home Renovation - October

On the eleventh month of home renovation we completed some additional landscaping, started installation of the retaining wall, finished the master bathroom and started preparation for the patio installation.

The landscaping went in fairly quickly even though it took us almost four years to install any - the before photo is pretty awful!

The retaining wall installation was fairly straightforward but took several evenings to complete (working with toddlers around is a challenge!).

We decided to purchase all of the material for the retaining wall and patio at the same time so these pallets of material will be here for awhile. 

Chris started working on removing the giant roots and stump that were remaining from the enormous tree that used to be in that area.

The master bathroom had been 95% complete for about a year so we finally finished it - a few more tiles, some shelves, caulk, and touching up some paint before it was done.

And October wouldn't be complete without pumpkin picking, visiting a farm, and going trick or treating!

Stay tuned tomorrow for the next installment of the Twelve Days of Home Renovation!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Twelve Days of Home Renovation - September

On the tenth month of home renovation I was suffering from some terrible morning sickness!

We had Samantha announce that she is going to be a big sister in March.  She is very excited about a new baby!

Even with the first trimester issues, we started to install some of the landscaping in the front of the house. 

Stay tuned tomorrow for the next installment of the Twelve Days of Home Renovation!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Pre-Christmas Fun!

Now that Christmas is right around the corner, we've been spending some time relaxing and having fun.  Although that doesn't mean that there is no work happening!

Chris worked in the hallway and linen closet to finally finish it up.  It is all ready for paint and shelves so I'll post some photos when it's complete.  

We got some more snow here on Tuesday (work was closed) so we enjoyed playing in it that afternoon.  Samantha really enjoyed sledding (although it was hard work for Mommy and Daddy to trudge up the hill each time!).  

She also made a pretty nice snow angel.  I am regretting teaching her how to make an angel because she tried on the floor of a store over the weekend!  I'll have to emphasize that it is only done outside in the snow...

We had some other fun events this week including a cookie exchange, decorating Christmas tree cones (icing and M&Ms on a sugar cone), My Gym, and library story time.

One of the best was the train garden with the Briczinskis.  Although the boys enjoyed it more than Samantha, she still had a lot of fun.  

She got a coloring book and a plastic fireman's helmet (which she's been asking to wear around the house).  The antique fire engine was pretty cool too!

On Sunday afternoon we went to a Christmas concert at our church.  Samantha did a great job sitting through the whole thing and got plenty of waves and smiles from those around us.  

It's hard to believe that Christmas is ten days away but with the exception of cookie baking, we're ready!

Twelve Days of Home Renovation - August

On the ninth month of home renovation we took a little break. 

One thing we did accomplish was removing the old porch railings and painting the porch concrete. 

Our garden continued to produce colorful vegetables and fruits.

Samantha got to play with some heavy equipment.

Not to worry, we were teaching her to use proper personal protective equipment.

And she was definitely ready for the upcoming football season.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the next installment of the Twelve Days of Home Renovation!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Twelve Days of Home Renovation - July

On the eighth month of home renovation we got a lot accomplished. 

The big project that we tackled this month was pouring concrete for a new sidewalk and basement slab.  We removed the sidewalk two years ago and used some paving pieces as a temporary solution. 

We rented the jackhammer again to remove the old concrete.

It took quite a few nights (after Samantha went to bed) to prep the area and install the forms.

After a little help from my parents, we ended up with a wonderful final result. 

A couple other small projects were the sealing of the driveway (which hadn't ever been done) and adding some shelves to a closet.

Some of the fun for the month included my Women's Mud Run and taking Samantha to the water park at the pool.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the next installment of the Twelve Days of Home Renovation!