Sunday, November 30, 2008

My birthday diva!

Tuesday, November 25th, was Luci's 4th birthday. All the kids at school get to wear a paper birthday hat on the day of their birthday and Luci was no exception! This also happened to have been the last day of school before Thanksgiving break and was the day that UPK parents were invited to come to school for the "Thanksgiving Feast". Meema and I went and I got this humorous shot of the birthday diva in all her glory!

We had Luci's offcial party this past Saturday, and though attendance was down due to a nasty stomach bug going around, she still managed to score quite the haul! Both Drew and Luci had mild cases of this same bug several days earlier, but were over it within a day or two. Dean also caught the bug and was down and out for a full day as well. Somehow, I managed to miss far!

As for construction news...we have a kitchen! Well, there are still many things to do, but we have cabinets and appliances, so it's at least functional! Below, is a shot of our breakfast area. The table and chairs will most likely be replaced with something that matches better, but that's very low on the priority list and I wouldn't be surprised if they stayed for quite a while. The new frdge is seen on the left, though this is not its permanent home. The people at Lowe's miscalculated the measurements and neglected to order filler strips so that our appliance openings would be big enough. It's a relatively easy fix, and the aforementioned filler strips have been ordered and should be here sometime this week. Also of note is that the two lighting fixtures do match, they just look like two different colors in the pictures. The granite is not yet installed, they come this Tuesday to make the template and then I have no idea how long it takes to actually get installed after that. In the meantime, we have some pretty nice OSB plywood down and boy is it nice! ;-)
Here is a better view of where the fridge is SUPPOSED to go! The area that happens to be loaded with boxes from Luci's party is where our fridge will end up.
Here you can see the other side of the kitchen. This morning, Jim and Dean moved the cabinets to the right of the stove and slid it in place. We enjoyed our first kitchen cooked meal tonight of steak and onion rings! There will also be a range hood over the stove, but it is currently sitting in the box right now.
And last but not least, I have FINALLY gotten my Christmas decorations up! "Finally?" you may ask? Usually I have my house decorated by the second week of November at the latest, but I've been soooo busy lately that I haven't had much time. It's done now, and below, you'll see my beautiful Christmas tree! This tree is pretty old, we bought it around 12 years ago, but it has held up very well and I absolutely love it! Normally I'd be itching to buy something new, but I just can't imagine finding a newer tree that I'd like more than this one! Until next time!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy 4th Birthday, Luci!!

Happy birthday, Sweet-Pea! We love you more than you'll ever know! (Incidentally, this is also Monty's birthday! He's 1!)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A thing of beauty!

The light...I can see it! You know, the one at the end of the tunnel??? Here is the latest from our homefront. Below, Kenny is getting ready to prime the sanded walls.

He primes the red wall in grey to lessen the number of coats of red we'll need.
Rollie (don't ask me what his real name is!) paints on the first coats of red. It went on rather pinkish, but dried to a nice dark brick color.
Rollie and Paul paint on the light brown on the rest of the walls.
Rollie helps Dean start the hardwood flooring. We picked out a nice 3.25" red oak for the kitchen.

Drew helps out in the sweeping department.
This is Kenny's daughter, Trista. She helped vacuum and then ended up staying overnight with Drew and Luci. We put our sleeping bags on the floor in front of the tv and the girls got popcorn and watched The Polar Express.
Here's the installed floor in the kitchen. Even without the poly it looked fabulous!
This is a "before" shot of my dad's bedroom. He got 2.25" red oak for his room.
And here is my BEAUTIFUL new kitchen floor!!! Man, this picture just doesn't do it justice! It's absolutely gorgeous!!! This is just the first of 3 coats of poly, but it'll pretty much look this way after the final coat.

After my two photo shoots today, my dad and I drove to Sears where we picked out and bought a new stainless steel refrigerator with a bottom mount freezer, a stainless steel convection oven range and a matching range hood. We opted against putting a microwave over the range as I prefer to see when my food is about to boil over or burn in the microwave, not to mention making it tough to clean without a step-stool! Instead we bought a tall cabinet that was designed for a wall oven at or near countertop level and we'll put the microwave in there so it looks like it's built in. It's a rather old microwave, so when it does end up kicking the bucket, we'll probably replace it with a stainless one to match the rest of the appliances. Our dishwasher is in a state of limbo at the moment. It is a black one which would match just fine, but it has been sitting outside while we put up the addition, and we've had some pretty cold weather here, so we're not sure if it had water in it or not. If it did, it probably froze and broke something somewhere, in which case, we've already picked a stainless one at Sears to replace it. If not, then some money! So anyway...sorry if I'm bragging...I somethimes can't help my exuberance when I'm overjoyed! (Just ask anyone who bumped into me while we waited for Drew or Luci's referrals!)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Music to my ears!

Drew had her very first piano lesson this past Thursday. She was nervous before going but was hopping down the driveway and squealing with delight afterwards holding her new piano books to her chest and beaming from ear to ear! Ok, so to say she loves it (so far...) is an understatement! I have a keyboard at home, but the keys aren't as large as real piano keys, so we'll have to invest in one of those eventually. While she's learning which fingers are which and notes and things like that, the small one is fine. Maybe Santa will bring her a bigger one???? (Actually Casio has one at Wal-Mart for less than $100, so it's safe to say that the big guy will be bringing one!) Her piano teacher, Miss C. is actually her music teacher at school, so she knows her really well. I know her really well too, since I sing with her in Sweet Adelines! Anyway, below, Drew listens intently to Miss C.

Miss C. has a Baby Grand Piano which I'm told is usually a treat for the kids to play!
I just threw this one in because I liked it. It's a pretty sunrise with fog that I woke up to a few days ago.

And finally, some house news. Let's see, the downstairs has been mudded, but I believe needs one more coat today and then we should be able to start sanding tomorrow or so. I was supposed to drive to Syracuse to pick up some hardwood flooring today, but my brother has made off with the truck. He went hunting. So I might have to wait until tomorrow to do that...let's hope he gets back from hunting early. We've wrapped the wainscoting from the dining room into the doorway to the kitchen so it looks like a nice transition...still needs to be stained yet. Dean is currently upstairs sweeping and mopping in preparation for mudding up there. We wanted to focus on getting the downstairs done know, the whole kitchen thing??? Our cabinets will be here one week from Tuesday, so we NEED to get flooring down and sanded and stained before that day. All this week we should be able to paint, so it's coming together!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pictures, finally!

Ok, so I'm getting some flack for no asked for it! Let's start off this post with some Girl Scout news. Drew's last meeting was a "swearing in" type ceremony where she got pinned. Normally, she'd receive patches for her sash, but I had bought them previously from a local Girl Scouting store, I just hadn't put them on yet which explains her empty sash.

The girls got busy right away earning a new patch by creating some Christmas ornaments for a troop of soldiers from Fort Drum who are currently deployed to Iraq. These ornaments are part of a care package the girls will be sending.

Here's the whole brownie troop showing off the decorations.
A few days later, the girls met at the local Dollar Tree to buy some personal care items for the care package.
This past Saturday, we had a VERY informal party for Luci's birthday.

This gift was a Pucci Horse which Luci LOVES and insists on sleeping with every night!
Next, she moves on to our gift.
Both girls have been asking for doll clothes for Christmas, so I decided to treat Luci early. Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to find affordable doll clothes anywhere that will fit their babies, which are small. So I decided to get her a bigger doll and just buy cheap newborn clothing from Wal-Mart! She loved it! However, later that evening, I was informed that she didn't care for the doll, which made Drew happy because she loved it! Luci loved the clothing, blankets and shoes, just not the doll, which was ok since it was a cheapy doll anyway. She ended up using the accessories on another large doll which used to be mine when I was younger. Whatever makes her happy, I guess!

Luci gets silly with the diaper bag.

And now for some house stuff. Below, you'll see part of our existing dining room wall.
Take the picture off the wall and scoot the hutch over...
Add a little saw action...
And you have a window...
Remove the wainscoting and now you have a doorway!
This is our new entryway into our new kitchen! As you can see, it has been sheetrocked. Today we got the insulation blown into the attic space. Our contractor, Kenny, put the first of three coats of mud in my dad's room (which also has been opened to the dining room). I believe they will be putting the facia and soffit on tomorrow. The two windows I previously told you about have been removed and reinstalled where they belong. We have a new door in our new room. They put Tyvek on the gabled many things going on at once, I'm really not sure where they left off.
Below is a picture of the granite we ordered for our countertops. The two paint chips above it are the two colors I've chosen for the kitchen walls. The ceiling will be white. The colors aren't exact (I held the chips up to the computer monitor and they're a little lighter than the actual colors, but you get the idea.) The picture also doesn't do the granite justice as you can't see the depth nor the red flecks and there is much more black in the sample piece than is shown in the picture. Oh'll have to take my word that it's beautiful! That's it for now!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Update! Episode 4!

Sorry, I have no pictures in this post, I'll really try to post some tomorrow. Anyway, we now have all the ductwork and wiring done. The sheetrock is all done with the exception of the bathrooms and window sills, etc. Tomorrow, we move the two remaining windows out of the old part of the house and into the new. We'll also buy another external door and put that in place in our bedroom. We're holding off on the actual deck where this door leads to, but eventually that'll get done too. They have yet to blow in the attic insulation, but since we are opening the old house into the new, that needs to get done ASAP. Plumbing is all done with the exception of connecting the two shower/tub drains with the plumbing in the basement. Dean ran the new gas line in the wall and needs to run it in the basement to where our new range will be. We have to insulate the basement knee-wall and around the rim board. I'm hoping Dean orders the hardwood flooring tomorrow, but we'll see. We also need to look into building porches/decks off the new doors. There's so many "little" things that also need to get done, but I'm not listing them all here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Halloween and housework

Sorry, I'm a little late posting Halloween stuff and I really don't have that many pics, but they all start looking the same when you snap pics of them going door to door. Below, Drew and Luci pose with Hannah, playing the part of Little Red Riding Hood.

The first place we hit had a haunted house set up in their garage. As we approached I heard an adult yell, "Level one!", meaning presumably that they should take it easy since the next victims were rather young. Drew was the only one who actually wanted to go in, but we convinced the other two it wouldn't be that bad. Luci's deathgrip on my hand led me to believe that she was being VERY brave! We made it through the first 30 seconds ok, but when someone reached out and grabbed her foot she lost it! She practically climbed up my body by herself! Thankfully it was a small garage and we made it out of there in under a minute and as a reward for going through, the kids got extra treats in their bags!
Below, the girls trick-or-treat at the home of a local dentist who was giving out...what else?...toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss.

It was a great night for trick-or-treating as the weather cooperated fully by granting us 50 degree temps and no rain or snow! Half-way through the evening, Drew had to pee and since we were no where near home, we found a dark patch of grass. Tragedy averted. She's a true camp kid! Anyway, they all got quite the haul and when we were done, Jim and Julie got some beverages and joined us at our house for some entertainment. The girls played upstairs in their room and the adults hung out in the soon to be finished addition drinking and chatting.

Speaking of addition, today, the guys are finishing up the last bit of shingling left. The last few days, they got the insulation done (except for the blown-in stuff going in the attic) and the wiring, plumbing and ductwork done. There may be a few loose ends to connect here and there in regards to the plumbing and ductwork, but for the most part it is done. They have sheetrocked the entire ceiling upstairs and the kitchen and have just the ceiling in my dad's bedroom and bath left. Next up is sheetrocking the walls. I have picked the colors for my walls in the kitchen. I received a sample of the granite we ordered in the mail and have been taking it with me to Lowe's to play with color schemes. On three walls, I will have a nice warm light brown, kind of the color of coffee with creme in it, and on a third wall we'll have a dark brick red color. Both colors are found in the granite. The ceiling will be white to keep things bright among the darker colors. I can't wait to see how it turns out!! I already know that my dad's room will be a Yankee's theme and I'll paint the upper half of the walls a pale grey and below the chair rail will be dark navy blue. As for the rest of it...I haven't gotten that far, but I'm sure all rooms will have warm earthy colors as my tastes tend to gravitate in that direction. So there's the update as it stands today.

In other news, Dean and I were buttoning up some wiring issues late last night when something got in his eye...yeah, he's regretting not having his safety glasses on NOW. I couldn't see anything, but he couldn't keep from rubbing it. We went to bed hoping a good sleep would help, but Dean ended up coming home early from work with his eye looking worse than ever, so we hopped over to the ER which was blissfully NOT busy and a little dye and blue light later and they found a scratch on his cornea. The director of the ER is actually an adoptive mom to a Chinese princess herself, so she grabbed Luci and dressed her up as a doctor to "help" Daddy. So Daddy came home with some antibiotic for his eye and Luci came home with a whole bagful of "goodies". She had fun! I don't think Dean had as much fun, but he felt better when he left the ER (no doubt due to the numbing medicine they put in his eye!)

And lastly...if you're reading this blog and you haven't yet voted...GET GOING!! It would please me if you voted for Obama, but that's your personal choice. The important thing is to vote! Countless people have died fighting for the right and priviledge that we take for granted! So get off your keesters! No excuse! GO VOTE!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Inspiring words from Jackie

I follow numerous blogs written by adoptive families around the country. This morning I read Jackie's blog, and was inspired by her post this morning and wanted to share it with others. It deals with same-sex marriages and same-sex couple raising children, so if you lean to the right and don't agree, perhaps you may want to skip this one.