November 21, 2012

Being Thankful

I really want to take a moment to stop, reflect and be thankful. It would be easy for Tim and I to forget about all the holidays this year when our house is being turned upside down as we get ready for the baby, work on the bump out and refinish our floors.

But I am determined to take a moment to take a deep breath and give thanks to a few deserving people.

1) I am thankful for my husband.

We have been so crazy these last few months that we can't help but get on each other's nerves sometimes. But that doesn't stop Tim from bending over backwards to make sure he can get as much done as he can for us. That includes staying up late and waking up extra early to jam as much work in one day as he can. Not only is he a loving, caring husband and partner in crime but he is already an amazing father to our pup and our growing baby girl. :) I have told him repeatedly that there is no one else I could do this with and I really mean that.

2) Our Family and Friends

We have had to cash in a lot of favors over the last couple of months. Between working on the bump out and moving everything out of our house (and now back in) we have been relying on some awesome friends and family who have really come through. It just goes to show you how important it is to have a support system and to acknowledge their generosity and help. So thank you to all of our friends and family who have been there to throw us an awesome baby shower (more details on that later), work on the bump out, paint parts of the nursery and help us move out of the house for the floors. Words can't express how grateful we are for your support and we hope you all know we would do the same for you in a heartbeat. :)
3) Our pup

Yes- James gets a special shout out as well. It is not easy to have two crazy parents who are working around the clock and changing everything around on them but he has been as cool and understanding as any dog can be. He has really gone with the flow and just been there for us with cuddles and an excited tail wag. He was a little hesitant with us at first for getting rid of the carpet...

... but in the end he got over it and let us do our thing. So thank you James for always being such a great dog for our changing family. We know that you are going to be a great big brother who will love his little sister (especially when she starts dropping food). Our lives wouldn't be the same without you.

4) Our growing family

It wouldn't be right if I left out one of the biggest things I am thankful for...our baby girl.

Tim and I are so excited to meet this growing little girl. She has been very understanding with all the work we have been doing to get ready for her. That includes helping me have a relatively uneventful pregnancy so I can continue to work full time and work on the house at night. And when Tim and I are feeling really stressed and worried that things won't get done, she gives us a little kick to remind us why we are doing all this. So thank you baby girl. Mom and Dad can't wait to meet you soon! #lessthan2weekstogo.

There are so many other things to be thankful for but this post is already making my hormones go crazy. So I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and takes some time to stop and remember what they are thankful for!

November 16, 2012

Bump Out Progress: Operation beat the Hurricane

It's been awhile since I have posted. Mostly because of Hurricane Sandy. She took a toll on all of us in the northeast but NJ and NY took the biggest hits. Still, the impending storm forced us to buckle down and get a lot of the bump out built and water proof. So here is a bump out picture dump on the flooring, framing, roof and enclosure. I can't speak much about the details since Tim and his dad did most of the work but I tried to document it as best as I can.

Here is where we left off. Framing the floor after the drainage is put in.

After the floor was down and the frame measured out, we moved onto to securing the structure to the house.

Next we brought the roof and sides (that were already built by Tim and his dad) to the house to be attached.

Can you see it yet? :)

After the plywood and waterproofing went up on the extension we wrapped it in Tyvek to keep it safe from the hurricane.

Update: All went well and no water got in during the Hurricane! The guys did a great job and we were really excited to see so much progress. We lost power for 48 hours but we made out pretty well compared to others we knew.

Next up: siding, windows and electric.

Ohh and did I mention when this was going on we were also prepping for all of our floors to be refinished and all with 4 weeks to go until my due date? Yeah... we are nuts.

Did everyone make out okay in Hurricane Sandy? Anyone else decide to do multiple large projects right before their baby comes? We are hoping we aren't the only ones.

October 25, 2012

Bump out progress: Drainage and foundation

Last time we left off on the Bump Out project, we had just dug holes for the footers.

The next step was for the township to come out and approve the footer holes. When he did, he cleared the holes but required that we added a more elaborate drainage system underneath. He didn't want any water to drain towards our house since our yard is sloped that way. After our initial grumblings of the extra work, we decided to suck it up and get it done. So our next step was to dig a deeper level under our addition, add rocks and drainage pipes that run to our backyard. Not quite sure what I mean?- here are some step by step pictures of the progress.

ps: my poor garden is going to need a lot of TLC when this is over.

Once the drainage was set, we started to lay rocks over the entire lower level.

Since the footer holes were already cleared by the permit inspector, we also poured the concrete and set them.

No- that's not Tim. It's his older brother Greg who was nice enough to come down from North Jersey to help us out with this project. The footers needed time to set so it was a good wrap up for the day.

Next up: the decking for the floor!

October 21, 2012

How to make a "Face in the hole" stand

So I just wrapped up a very big event at the organization I work at. I am excited to report that it went very well and many families had a great time. This year I had an idea to create a "face in the hole" for kids to pose behind. This is something that the organization can use for many years for this annual fall event.

What's a "face in the hole"? Here are some examples:

So I got to work sketching out a design. I decided to make one with two face cut outs so two children can stand behind it. I wanted to include elements of our location including our iconic barn and the name of the organization. I needed some help with the wood work so I had my dad donate his wonderful time and skills on this. First, we got a 4' X 4' piece of plywood. My dad primed it with leftover paint and I sketched out the design onto the wood. Then my dad went to work on cutting out the upper outline so it blends more into the background. He also cut out the holes for the faces.

How did I figure out the face hole sizes? We actually took an old Halloween mask and measured around it to figure out the hole sizes.

Make sure you sand the face cut outs really well so there are no splinters. My dad used a sander and then manually sanded the rest. After that I got to work on sketching and painting the design. My advice would be to make it more "cartoonish." It's a fun thing for families to pose behind so they want it to be a bit sillier. Here are the pictures of the progress as I painted. I used acrylic wood paint and then sprayed it with an indoor/ outdoor finish to seal and protect it.

After it was all completed, we attached it to a stand raising it about one foot. If anyone is interested in the design, let me know and I will get it from my dad but I know its pretty standard. Here are two of my coworkers posing behind it.

I am so happy with it. It will be a lot of fun for families to use when they visit our site.

Have you done any fun crafts lately? We carved our pumpkins this weekend for our annual carving party... but I will talk more about that this week.

October 10, 2012

Bump out: Breaking Ground

Well now that we are underway with our bump out project, its time to start showing you some progress. Check back at our old post here to see our plans.

The first thing we had to do was get a permit. We are not experts in anyway so I am not going to spend too much time on this but let me tell you that it is an ongoing battle. It depends on the township but it's important to always read the permit guidelines to find out what types of inspections and dimensions they are going to demand. We had to actually reapply for our permit with more information than what we originally gave them. And you never know what will happen. But more on that later. After we found out that we were getting approved Tim got to work on clearing the pretty garden we had going in the front yard. Luckily we enjoyed the blooms as spring and summer long.

Poor Tim had to do most of the transplanting since Little M and I shouldn't be digging much. :) Here is the great progress Tim accomplished after a couple of hours.

After they were cleared, Tim and his dad marked where the footers needed to be dug. The holes had to be 36" deep so it was no easy task. We decided to recruit some of our friends and family to help speed the process along.

After the holes were dug and tested, the boys decided to quickly frame out the dimensions so we could get a better idea of what it is going to look like.

Now squint your eyes. Can you see it? I can and it's so exciting.

At the end of the day we were left with some great footer holes and ready for the first inspection.

Anyone else working on a major project? We are definitely pushing our deadline closer to the due date but it is helping to make the third trimester go quicker.

October 8, 2012

Check it off the list: caulk and pictures

While we are working on the nursery, bump out and refinishing the floors we also try to get little projects crossed off the list. I made a list on the blog to keep track of projects for the house. One of them was caulking the lower bathroom tub. After we spent the good chunk of March redoing the upstairs bathroom, our lower bathroom was looking worse for the wear.

So a quick project was to simply remove the disgusting caulk around the tub and caulk it.

We used a blade to remove the old grout.  Then we wiped it down with a damp cloth and went around the tub with a new line of caulk. Now it looks as good as new. It's amazing what life it brings into the tub again. Here is a close up before we wiped down the new grout.

We also have had a picture gallery going up our stairs.  We have been collecting more pictures to hang but kept pushing it off.  Finally we hung those up too.  It includes the Valentines day gift I made for Tim, a wrapped canvas picture from our wedding that I purchased with Groupon, and a puppy picture of James that my friend Katie took when he was 8 weeks old.

I love that we keep building on this gallery and when Little M comes, I'm sure she will take over very quickly. Until then we have to keep plugging away at these projects.

What projects have you crossed off your list?

October 4, 2012

A Little Getaway

Also known as a babymoon. Never heard of it? Its apparently a "newer" trend. It is one last honeymoon of sorts that a couple takes before they become a family of three. Usually women like to go in the second trimester when they are feeling better but not too big. I was really looking forward to taking a babymoon because I knew we were going to be busy in the fall with work and all the house projects. So when Tim's Aunt and Uncle offered us their downstairs apartment in Ocean City, NJ anytime after labor day- I jumped on it.

Breathe in the salt water air with me. Ahhhh

We decided to just do a long weekend. Just enough time to get away and relax but not too long to fall behind on work and house projects. Unfortunately I didn't take a ton of pictures since we were just trying to get away from it all but we did snap a few to remember the occasion.

Although we had a rainy first day, we still managed to get in some time to walk the boardwalk and go to Brown's donuts. If you are in Ocean City, NJ, you need to get a donut there. I couldn't even take pictures because our hands were covered in delicious, fresh goodness. I justified eating 3 donuts by walking a mile there to get them. That burns it all off, right? :)

The next day the sun came out and we hit the beach to do what I was looking forward to for the whole trip- relaxing on the beach and soaking some sun in (with suntan lotion of course).

 It was amazing. We had a great location not to far from the boardwalk for bathroom and food breaks and we had a great umbrella we borrowed from my parents for my handsome fair skinned husband.

After a perfect day at the beach we decided to try a great seafood place. Although my seafood consumption was limited to certain dishes I still wanted some delicious seafood. We were at the beach after all. We headed to Smitty's Clam Bar. It's a tucked away location off the 9th Street Bridge. Its a BYOB and the wait is long but worth it. We had a 30-45 minute wait but it flew by hanging out by the pier with other patrons as they drank and met up with friends and family.

The food was delicious. We got big cups of clam chowder and while Tim had a seafood medley, I got delicious crab cakes. Totally worth it. Again, I failed at taking pictures.

Saturday was our last day. We had a childbirth class on Sunday that we needed to get back to but when we woke up it was raining. I was so sad because most of the trip was rainy but we decided to make the best of it. We rode bikes in the morning along the boardwalk and then decided that we might as well pack up and head back early. As we were packing, we looked up and the sun broke through the clouds. Needless to say, I was excited and ready to squeeze one last beach day. This is my "take the picture so we can get dressed for the beach" face.

We spent a few hours on the beach and the boardwalk. While we were there we enjoyed a car show on the boardwalk and I got one last ice cream trip in.

Overall, it was a great and affordable little getaway for both of us. Of course we couldn't really stop talking about Little M and reading our baby books but it was nice to just get away from everything else we had going on and enjoy the end of summer.

So has anyone else taken a babymoon? Where did you go?
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