Thank You

Although Thanksgiving has come and gone (in the blink of an eye it seems), I still want to take some time to reflect on the things that I am thankful for this year:

(1) My little peanut.....of course:

Over the years I have heard the phrase, "I could just eat you up" countless times.  Normally its coming from someone of an older generation, so I assumed it was an old school thing.  But now, I can honestly say that I understand exactly what they meant.  No wonder some animals eat their children......they are just TOO damn cute!!  :) 

(2) My amazing husband.  He hasn't taken 1 day off since Pace arrived......just totally swamped.....but you would never know it.  He is so helpful and thoughtful and supportive.  Despite his long hours, he still manages to be around and available whenever we need him.  He must feel like he is being pulled in a million different directions (picture stretch armstrong....or inspector gadget, if you will), but he does it with such a calm, cool demeanor that it looks almost easy.  I'm not saying that motherhood isn't daunting, but I guess I just appreciate that he is trying his best to be everything for us.  He never ceases to amaze me.  Never.

(3) My wonderful family:  Without them, I really don't think I would have made it through the last three months.  Pace is an amazing child (like sleeping through the night at 2 months, amazing), but it's still a tough job and everyone has been unbelievably supportive.  It is wonderful to have them around for my own sanity, but I also love that Pace is becoming so close to his grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins at such an early age.  I am truly blessed.

My family

My In-Laws
My Mom

My mom, especially, has been my rock.  Any time I needed anything, she was there by my side....whether it was a last minute drive to be with me while Brian traveled or a phone call in the middle of the night to ask advice or just vent.  Pace looks unhappy in this photo, but I assure you that you can't wipe the smile off his face when grandma is around.  Just pure joy.  He almost always gets the hiccups when he is with her because he giggles so much.  It is adorable.  I just love watching them bond. 

(4) Friends: It amazes me every day how lucky we are to have so many wonderful friends in our lives.  They have all been so thoughtful and generous and supportive since Pace arrived.  He came into a world with so much love and affection around him.  I could not be more grateful for all of the well wishes and visits and phone calls from everyone since he has arrived.  On the days when I felt like I was the worst parent in the world (for no particular reason, usually), I could turn to my friends and they would tell me how they did the same thing or they felt the same way at some point too.  I knew that I was never the only one in the world that was feeling that way or dealing with that emotion, but sometimes it felt like that and I didn't know what to do.  But just 2 minutes into a conversation with one of my friends and I would be laughing and smiling about it.  What would I have done and what will I do without you all.  Not only am I thankful for the wonderful people that have been in our lives (both individually and as a couple) for years and years, but I am also so grateful to God or the real-estate fairy or WHOEVER it was that brought us to this town and this street.  There are 4 other babies under the age of 1 on my street (who will all go to school with Pace) and even more babies his age right around the corner.  We are truly blessed to be in this neighborhood and in this house (which I am also thankful for). 

(5) The ability to stay home:  I don't think I've updated you all on my situation, but B and I decided that it would be alright financially if I stayed home a little longer with Pace before returning to work/school (whatever I decide to do).  I did ask my company for a part-time schedule, but they really needed someone full-time for my position.  I was a little disappointed at first, but now that I have officially been a stay-at-home-mom for a few weeks, I feel so much better about the decision.  I couldn't imagine missing all of his smiles and laughs and cries.....any of it.  It is all so precious.  I was never really in love with my job, anyway, so this is the perfect chance for me to start over.  Maybe go back to school or take some classes.  I will decide on that in the next few months, but for now I am enjoying my one-on-one time with Pace.  He has changed my world and I am so excited to see what the future brings for the both of us.....

And of course, (6) I am thankful for all of you that have continued to read despite my long hiatus.  I apologize for dropping off the map for a while, but I really appreciate that you stuck by my side and continue to read.  It means the world to me.  And I really do have a lot of fun stuff happening in our casa that I can't wait to share with you.  From the slow-moving basement renovation to the little art/photo projects I've been working on.....I have a lot to fill you in on!!  And now that Pace is starting to get into a nap schedule during the day, I can allot some time each day to sit down and write.  I'm sure you haven't been waiting with bated breath for my next post (haha), but I hope that you will tune in over the next few months for some exciting changes!!  I have also been bad about visiting all of your sites lately, so I promise to get back into that as well.  I am truly lacking in the inspiration department these days, so I'm eager to see what you have all been up to!!!  

So thanks again for reading and following along with my crazy life.  And even if no one is reading this anymore, it feels so so so good to be writing and thinking again....haha!!  And not the kind of thinking that is required to fill a 6 oz. bottle or do the laundry.  I almost feel a sigh of relief now that I've written....like a weight is lifted off my shoulders and I can relax now that some of those thoughts have been released from my mind.  Does anyone else feel like that when they write?

And I'm sure there are a million and one things that I am forgetting on my thank you list, but those are the real important ones.  Other than that, there are just some other general ones, like financial stability, health, etc.  But those aren't as fun to talk about......

What are you thankful for this year??


Basement Renovation: Phase 1

We officially broke ground on the basement project.  Let the madness begin...

To save some money, we have decided to do as much demo and framing as we can before calling in reinforcements.  And since we aren't going to be able to help with the electrical, plumbing and heating portions of the renovation, the demo and framing are the only parts that we can really contribute to at this point.  

Here is what it looked like after a full day of framing last weekend:

Part of the basement (near the boiler) is being left unfinished for storage space, so the wall being built in this photo has a door frame cut out (on the far left) so that we can have access to everything when the rest of the space is built out.  We are planning to use two bifold doors to give us the most amount of room to move large items in and out of the space (including the boiler, if necessary).  If we used french doors we would have to make the adjacent hallway that much wider, which wasn't ideal considering the small space we have to begin with.

In the photo above, you will see a space built out for a future wine/beverage center.  There was a great deal of real estate beneath the stairs, so we thought it would make the most sense to be able to tuck a little entertaining area in there there, along with some shelves for storage.  Instead of just boxing the space out, why not make use of it? 

We added this extra lolli (lalli???) column (the dark grey metal post in the center of the photo..haha) for added support to the beam above that is carrying additional weight from the wall opening in our kitchen/dining room area.  It was not required during the kitchen renovation (read more about that here), but it couldn't hurt while the area is all opened up.  A little extra support is always better than none, right? 

And here is that storage room doorway I was speaking of earlier.  It will help us to get some larger items in and out.  On a totally unrelated note, I can't believe how much STUFF we have in there.  Ugh!!  I'm pretty sure those 4 tote bins on the left are ALL filled with christmas things.  I used to have everything organized and labeled, but I think I rearranged some things when we moved in and nothing seems to correspond with its label anymore.  Whoops!!  I guess its a rainy/snowy day project for this winter!

Above you can see the side view of the under-stair storage space when we first started framing. 
And here it is after a few hours of working..... 

We are planning on adding a wine/beverage fridge on the bottom half flanked by wine storage cubbies on either side.  There will also be a stone countertop (hopefully we will find a cheap remnant piece at a local stone yard) and a shelf for some liquor or food.  We have high hopes of entertaining down here, but honestly I see this space as a playroom in the future.....so, more than likely, our lovely little wine fridge will end up being a juice box and milk fridge with space for goldfish and sippy cups on the nice marble countertop.  Haha!  I'm totally ok with that though....

These last two pictures show the long view of the basement (underneath the half bath and kitchen...to give you perspective).  It it wide open now, but it will eventually be an office/guest bedroom, full bathroom with stand-up shower, and a closet for the laundry.  Can't wait!!!!

The contractors have been in and out since we did our part, so I will have an update with their progress shortly!  Our target date to finish was Christmas, but I'm not sure that is still realistic.  We will have a better idea of the timeline once we have all the plumbing and electrical completed (today, hopefully)!!  It's hard having other people doing the work.  I feel like I'm not in control of the project and it drives me crazy.  I sound like a total control freak, huh?  I guess its just hard to let other people do all the work when we are used to handling it all ourselves.....especially since I'm home listening/watching it all.  The thing I have to keep telling myself is that we aren't qualified to take on these parts of the project, so even if we wanted to and learned how to, it would take us FOREVER to get it all done.  #1, B has been working like crazy lately, and #2 we can't ever work together since one person is always watching the peanut upstairs.  My my how things have changed. 

Hopefully I will go downstairs this afternoon and be totally wowed by the progress.  Updates to follow.....


Basement Renovation: Planning

I know what you're thinking....you have an infant and you are trying to start another renovation NOW????  Yea, I'm thinking the same thing.......but there really isn't a perfect time to start this type of project (well maybe before Pace was born, but its clearly too late for that), so we figure we might as well get it done before the winter.  After the snow starts, we would have to shuttle all of the supplies through the kitchen.  Yikes!!  NOT ideal to say the least....and probably not even possible for some of the material.

So here is what it looked like when we moved in......lots of clutter (from the previous owners), but pretty much a blank slate:

It is basically the full footprint of the house, we are just keeping a small portion of it (about the size of the dining room) unfinished and will use that space for storage.  The main goal of this renovation is to add some play and work space to our home.  Currently our guest bedroom upstairs is doubling as an office, so it will be nice to have a separate space for both.  We are planning to have a separate office space (below the mudroom/kitchen area), a full bath (below the kitchen and half bath) and a play/entertainment area (below the living room).  As I write this out I realize that it would be SO much easier to just show you the floor plan rather than try to explain it all, but I haven't taken the time to create one just yet.  Once we get a few more details finalized, I will make sure to show you the plan a little more clearly!! 

Normally we like to do the work ourselves, but with our little bundle of joy, it's a little harder to be a complete renovating partnership like we used to be.  We are still planning on doing some things here and there, but the big stuff is being left up to the professionals, like the plumbing, heating and electrical.  We are going to do most of the framing, drywalling, tiling, painting, flooring and installation of fixtures.  It will help us save a little money on the total project and it will keep our DIY skills nice and sharp!!  Hehe.  Believe it or not, I am actually excited to do some tiling again.  I know that I was a little overwhelmed with the kitchen backsplash last fall, but I think that it will be much easier the second time around.  None of those first-time jitters....hopefully!  Still unsure of what we are using for all of the materials and finishes, but once I get it all planned out, you will be the first to know.  We are shooting for a one-month project plan, but as with most things, there will probably be delays. 

Here's hoping everything goes smoothly!!

Next up, I will try to put together a floor plan to show where everything is going to be.  The contractor is coming by tomorrow to discuss a few things, so hopefully he will help me make some decisions.

As always, I'll keep you posted on all the developments....and definitely on a more regular basis than I have been.  Sorry again about that!  This whole mom thing is AMAZING, but it sure does take up a lot of time.  Haha.  Every time I think I can sit down and write, I think of 7 other things that need to get done before he wakes up.  Yikes!