Sunday, June 24, 2007

Stuff we did this weekend

Went to a pirate-themed birthday party.

Tore stuff out of our basement, took out that door on the right and framed in a new bathroom.
Tore down some plaster and lathe in our new bathroom.
Practiced baseball at a park up out of the heat in Park City.

Ella at the same park.

My attempt to be artsy at the park

I think it looks pretty great so far!
We also went to one of Harrison's baseball games and had dinner with a great couple and their kids. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera to capture the hilarious attempts to maneuver a Slip 'N Slide for the first time or Harry's two amazing hits.
I also finally planted my pots for the new porch (so I could take photos and show that off), but it's been so hot that over half my flowers have died. I planted them anyway and will give them a chance to come back. I watered them four times today to make up for missing yesterday. Now I'll probably kill them with too much attention!
Feels like this post is a laundry list, but this is all I have in me right now.
Looking forward to the end of the week. My in-laws are driving out from Wisconsin later this week.  My in-laws are keeping the kids next week so that we can go on our first overnight trip for four years. We're heading to Napa and San Francisco. It's hard to even imagine that much time away from the kids.
I'm sure I'll manage.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Photos from my trip to the Como Zoo and Conservatory

It started with illness. I was feeling flu-ish and icky. That turned into strep throat. This often happens after I've finished the school year - as if my body knows that I don't have to get up and go anywhere official. Unfortunately I did have to go places. I had about four days to get ready for a trip to Minnesota with the kids. About 9:30 PM, the night before my 7:00 AM flight, I was able to stand and pack. I managed not to forget too many things in spite of my foggy, doped-up state!
It took about 36 hours on antibiotics and I was able to walk around the Mall of America four times without collapsing. This is quite a feat completely healthy - that place is enormous. My brother took some time off and he, and his three kids, galavanted around the Twin Cities with us for four days. It was really great to do a bunch of touristy things that I usually don't have time for.
Chris joined us for the weekend and my brother took the kids for an overnight. First time my kids have been away from us since Ella was 14 months old. Long overdue.
Harrison and Ella are still exhausted from trying to keep up with their three cousins. Even though we did lots of activities, I think their favorite thing was running in my dad's backyard. I so miss having a large yard.
Much more to write about, but apparently I promised to take the kids to the park "first thing" and it's a little past that right now.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I get to buy a new toilet!

This is the beautiful unfinished portion of our basement. A NEW bathroom will be going in right there. Can you see it? The bookshelves will be gone. The door will be gone. It will go right there.

See it?

We’ve lived here three years and have done absolutely nothing to improve this house. Oh, I lied. We put up a shelf and hooks, by the back door, to hold outerwear and store mittens. After the four year saga of remodeling an 100+ year old home in Wisconsin, we were pretty thrilled to just sit tight after moving in to this house. Hell, Chris wouldn’t even mow – he was so fed up with all the projects.

But slowly, and I probably should have expected it, my husband’s need to re-do, rearrange and remodel has returned with gusto. His brother is a contractor and the two of them have come up with some pretty amazing ideas to make this house more livable. Phase one: create outdoor living space. New front porch (check), and new retaining wall in the back (check) with new fence and deck (still in planning stages.)

Phase two: second bathroom. We cleared out the basement area where it is to be located and waited tonight for a concrete guy to come and saw cut something to somewhere so that I can take a shower. He didn’t show. Neither did the mason guy. Which leads back to phase one.

We originally wanted a fire pit in the backyard. We so want our house to be welcoming and fun for teenagers some day. Anyway, the fire pit has turned into a fireplace. This is what happens when the men on my husband’s side get together. They are dreamers. Planners. Nothing is too big, too hard or too much for them.

It scares me to death. I come from a long line of conservative Northern Europeans who keep their money and feelings close to their vest. We don’t dream big and then everything that goes well is just a big surprise. This contrast in our upbringing has been a source of conflict lately. I say, “How much? Are you sure? Can that really be done?” and he says, “Who cares? Or “Not that much.”, Of course I’m sure. Anything can be done.”

I have to admit that watching the progress we’ve made, in the last six weeks or so, has been pretty exciting. The front porch still needs finishing touches (brick trim and a railing and stain) but the hard part is all done. The deck is being laid out as I write this. The pilings will be put in starting this week and then it will be built soon after. I don’t know about the fireplace, but everyone assures me that it will be “easy” to pull together. The fence? I have no idea. Our neighbor has designed it and will help build, install and pay for half. Yea!

So…while all that is being done – we may as well throw the furnace in the attic. Apparently all we have to do is “put a bigger hole in the ceiling” and then build a platform. A furnace guy will show up, tear out all the duct work and rearrange it so that it will work “top down”. All this so that I can have a taller ceiling in my new bathroom.

I wonder if all those adorable graduates I spoke to yesterday really realize the stuff they’ll be stoked about in the coming years. Never, ever in a million years could you have convinced me – at age 18 – that down the road I would be willing to pay thousands to move my furnace AND be happy about it.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Things are looking up

It's been a productive weekend...

...I put together my new porch furniture and have lounged on it no less than seven different times since yesterday afternoon.

...I just finished the first draft of my commencement speech! It's two minutes over the time allotment I've been given, but that's better than two minutes short!

...and I received a phone call yesterday morning telling me the best news of all. I HAVE A JOB FOR NEXT FALL!!!! I will be returning to a high school setting. I'm impressed with my new principal and truly looking forward to this new change in our lives. It is full time, but my work day will end earlier than my previous full time position. I hope to still have plenty of time to give the kids everything they need.