Thursday, August 28, 2008

I just thought these flowers were pretty

I took this picture up in Park City where it isn't as hot as down here in the desert valley.  The flowers seem brighter this time of year.  Probably because they haven't been fried in 95 degree plus weather for the last 6 weeks.  I love warm weather, but can't say I don't look forward to autumn.  

My dad came last night to visit for a week.  The kids started school on Tuesday and this is a big change for all of us.  So, of course, Chris decided that he needed to take a business trip.  Isn't that the way it goes?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Who woulda thought I'd get so excited about a garage?

We decided that we the only way to continue on the basement project, and still have a bit of space down there, was to organize the garage and then put all the stuff in the basement into the garage (toys, games, etc.).  This will be temporary until we get a wall unit with shelves and drawers.  So at about 10:00 AM yesterday we started emptying the garage.  This is what it looked like around 1:00 PM.

But check out the view when you turn around.

Fortunately, we live in the desert and it isn't supposed to rain for a week or more.  Why does that matter?  Because most of the stuff is still in the driveway.  I have gone through a ton of stuff and we have a huge pile of stuff for a garage sale.  It will feel good to actually know where things are.  

Now we have to tackle the attic of the garage.  It's full, too.  (see the stairs in the back?)  We want to empty it so that it can be a play room/music room.  Maybe even a photography studio some day?????

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The basement - getting closer!!!

Here are some photos of the progress:

This is a shot of the shower.  The doors are just hanging out until the closet is created and the door to the office is moved.  (I just thought of something...we don't have a door for the bathroom?!!)  As you can see, it's going to be awesome - super large and will have borderless, glass doors.

This is a shot of the office/bedroom.  The weird "storage" wall to the right is actually a shelf.  It's a part of the foundation.  The drywall on the bottom half is just covering the foundation which I believe is made of a stone, dirt, cement mixture.  Chris decided to add framing, and eventually doors, so that we could use it for storage.  I thought it would be really cool to put a twin mattress up there for one of the kids - like a secret hideout.  I measured - there's room.

This is a picture of the other side of the office/bedroom.  To the near left is going to be a small closet.  Right past the closet is a hallway to the bathroom.  Right now that is the only access, but we have plans to move some things around (after we win the lottery) and then it will be accessible from the family room.

This is the hallway to the bathroom.  The wall protruding out to the right is the back of the shower.  The sink/vanity will go right where the ShopVac is sitting.  There was an old tool bench in the backyard that I found behind some bushes.  I pulled it into the garage and have started refinishing it.  I have already purchased a white vessel sink to put on top of it.  I think it will be really cool to have something like that in a new space - a piece of the house's history.

We are back in the thick of our remodeling projects.  Concentration is on the basement - adding an additional bedroom/office and a SECOND BATHROOM!  Chris is handling the bulk of the work, although we have hired a fairly cheap high-schooler who is often willing to help.  The level of Chris' expertise is pretty astounding.  I feel grateful that we don't have to hire a contractor, but I feel badly that all the responsibility is on his shoulders.  We were trying to get the bathroom done for some visitors last week and next, but it's not going to happen.  I need help with the tile choices.  I am thinking a palette of black, charcoal gray, beige, light gray and white.  Neutral yet a little unique.  The mosaic accent I'm looking at (for the back wall of the shower) is here.  (Unfortunately, the site won't let me direct link to the product.  If you have time to look - it's under "Glass Mosaic - Platinum.  The one I like looks most like "Celadon Swirl" although it doesn't appear to be green in the photo or in real life.)  The bulk of the tile, floors and other two walls of shower, would be this.  (Again, no direct link - this one is called "Urbanite".  The walls would be the "carbon" color in 12 x 12s and the floors would be "carbon" in the 8 x 24).  I think, to save money, we'll put a short "baseboard" of tile around the room and then paint the walls a light gray that matches the mosaic tile.  

As far as the office/bedroom, I have no idea for colors.  Obvious choice would be the same gray, but one of the kids may move into it someday and I don't think I'll want to paint again.

Have better ideas?  Let me know.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Happy Birthday, Christopher

We've been together for almost eleven years.  This weekend I was reminded that I don't know him as well as I should.  On Friday, I offered him the choice of two things for a birthday gift:  a 24 hour rental of a Harley-Davidson (the one I really hoped he'd pick!) or a university extension writing course (he secretly wants to have his own blog and make millions so that he can stay home while I go to work).  He thought over his options for about a millisecond and said, "Didn't you know that my motorcycle license expired?"  Then on Saturday, after returning from the grocery store thinking I had picked up all the necessary basics, I was quickly corrected.  I think his exact words were, "How can you have known me for so long and continue to forget to buy the things that I like?!!"  Defensively, I raised my voice (not too much) and responded that I am always thinking of him.  That he is my universe - of course I give him what he needs.  I just had no idea he would get so worked up over orange juice.  You would think I forgot the gin!

I am glad that these are the types of "conflicts" we're encountering at this stage of the game.  After nine years of marriage, I am as secure as ever in the decision I made to marry Chris.  As the two of us hit the big "44" this year, I'm realizing that things change with age.  There are weird things that happen to your body, and different challenges as the children age as well.  

I am so lucky that I have such an amazing man that's willing to watch me get even older - or is it that he's lucky I'm willing to watch?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

We just call him "Almanzo"

Harrison is learning how to be a pioneer this week.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hiking at Solitude

We took the kids up Big Cottonwood Canyon to get out of the heat on Sunday.  The hike started off pretty easy.  All I had to worry about was one of the kids falling off the boardwalk into the swamp, but at least that fate is better than falling off the edge of a cliff.

On the drive up the canyon (yes, this picture is out of order) I just stuck my camera out the window a few times.  Every view was better than the last.

Heres the girl.  Why is she holding her arm up like that?  She's showing me her Statue of Liberty pose.  Oh.  Of course.

The climb was one mile, but 700 vertical feet.  For some reason I wore Tevas instead of hiking shoes.  I really didn't think we'd get off the boardwalk.  When I thought I couldn't go over another rock, I looked to my left and this is what I saw.

When I looked down, though, THIS is what I saw.  Is that a black widow?  It sure looked cool.

We missed the height of wild flower season.  There were still some flowers blooming as the elevation increased, though.  These flowers were so sheer that I could see through the petals.

Here's the boy in his Brett Favre jersey.  He announced yesterday that he is no longer a Packer's fan.  Now the NY Jets are his team.  This photo was taken about 45 seconds before he fell in the water up to his chest.  This lake was our reward for making it to the top of the trail.  A storm was blowing in and the wind was whipping.  The temperature dropped about 25 degrees and Harrison was freezing the entire mile down the mountain because he was soaking wet.

Found this old sign.  We loved that some handy man probably put it up with whatever screws he had in his tool belt.  No two are alike.

We made it to the bottom without getting rained on, without breaking any bones, and without any whining.  I love that the kids are getting acclimated to this kind of outing.  

Best part?  It's free entertainment.  

Friday, August 08, 2008

One little step for the cleanse, one giant step for the frig

The clutter around here seems worse, than in other homes, possibly due to the fact that our house is pretty small.  We have a finished basement, but tend to spend all of our time upstairs in two rooms - the kitchen and the living room.  

One day I was annoyed by the amount of crap on the refrigerator.  I'm all for saving the kids artwork, but it was getting out of hand.  I wanted to throw it all out, but I also wanted the kids to feel like we revered their craft and art projects.  My mom never let us put stuff on the frig, so I tried to come up with a compromise.  What I discovered was magnetic paint.  

I decided to paint a wall at the end of the kitchen with this paint and transfer some of the artwork, etc over to that wall.

Here's what I used:  painter's tape, "Nail Hole Patch" for the nail holes in the wall, a foam roller so that the paint rolls on super smooth, a paint brush for the edges, a paint tray (which I covered in foil to avoid a bigger mess), and a can of magnetic paint.  This stuff is crazy.  That little can weighs about 5 pounds - okay maybe three, but whatever it is - it is really heavy.  Oh - and the paint stirrer is really necessary.  The paint doesn't present in a typical manner.  It is really watery on top, when you first open the can, and then it is really thick on the bottom.  It took me about 5-7 minutes to thoroughly mix the paint.

Here is the wall I chose.  This picture as taken after I taped and patched the holes.  I ended up extending the tape to the ceiling so that the line was straight and crisp.  

This is a picture of the wall after it was painted.  The can suggests you put three thin layers on to make it more magnetic.  I was glad that the space I covered was relatively small.  On the left of the picture you can see some of the mess that was on my frig.

And here is the final "after" shot.  The magnetism isn't as strong as the frig, but I still like it so much better.  I found that lighter magnets worked much better - and heavier objects can't be hung at all.  

I like it.  It's different, that's for sure.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Still cleansing

We have a garage that families from blocks around covet.  It is a oversized two-car with stairs in the back that lead to an attic/studio room.  The room has subfloor, drywall, ceiling fans and lights.  I have had dreams of it becoming my photography studio since I laid my eyes on it, but alas it has become a storage unit.  As we finish the unfinished parts of our basement, we are slowly squeezing out all the inside storage space that we have.  Of course the attic isn't large enough to store everything, so we put the rest in the large two-car bay area.  

Now it's full, and we park our cars in the driveway.  All year round.  In an effort to get at least one car in the garage, and to get rid of stuff in the name of cleansing, I found this steamer trunk.  I picked it up from a neighbor's garage sale back in Green Bay before we moved.  I probably paid $10 for it and was sure it was going to be a beautiful addition to our 1895 Victorian.  I couldn't really find a great place for it in that house, so I dragged it across the country to this house.  Half the size and not Victorian.  Not sure what I was thinking.  

So here I am.  Ready to sell it on Craigslist.  Prices on ebay go anywhere from $100 to $850 (when they are restored).  What do you think I could get for it?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Harrison fell off a swing tonight at the park because he was standing on it being reckless.  My big boy, who doesn't want to be called "baby" anymore, came running to me and wrapped his little arms all the way around my waist, shaking with tears streaming down his face.  I instinctively knew how to comfort him and within a minute or two he was running back to play with his sister.

When a person is hurting emotionally, I can't hug away the pain.  Watching a person you love, in pain, has got to be one of the hardest things to experience.  I can offer my ear, my shoulder, or a bottle of his favorite beer, but none of these can fix what is broken.

Not having control over life, and it's events, can be awful.  However, I also know that things usually happen the way they are supposed to.  I will try to hang onto that thought.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

It's been so hot!

Our house is all brick and heats up like an oven.  We are learning, finally, how to get the most out of our air conditioning.  We have an elaborate process that involves fans, opening windows until a certain time of day while leaving the air on, opening windows without the a/c on, and closing blinds and shutters.  Our house is pretty dark in the front rooms as it is.  Dark paint and northern exposure.  When we close the shutters I find it almost claustrophobic.  However, I will do what I have to do to stay relatively cool.

Last week we decided to dance.  Each of us picked a CD to play and then we partied.