Thursday, October 30, 2008

Testosterone Overload

What happens when you have 5 grown men and 2 young boys in one house? Your newly remodeled bathroom ends up being a duck's new home.

OK, so it was only a decoy and we got a good laugh out of it; one guess as to which male in the house put the duck in the sink.

John, J's dad, finished his journey on the Missouri river this last weekend and we hosted a few people that wanted to be with him during this time. We also got to meet Abe, who traveled part of the river with John. You can read about John's journey here. He was even a local celebrity! I contacted a news station here to see if they would be interested in the story and they immediately said yes; you can view his news story here. The kids are now set on taking a canoe down a river and camping overnight.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Take an Aleve and call me in the morning

That should have been the theme to the work that happened here yesterday. We are having visitors this weekend so the pressure is insurmountable to get the house ready. Let me tell you now, it will not be ready. It will be very close but not completely done.

J left work early and finally at 11:00 pm, having nailed in the last board and placed the furniture. we headed upstairs to bed. The alarm went off 3 times this morning and each time I could literally hear the bones moaning and cracking as J went to turn it off. I got up a bit later and I think it took me 5 minutes to make it outside the bedroom door. Needless to say, we won't be putting in another day of flooring like yesterday without some sufficient recovery.

Now, look at all this glorious bamboo flooring! I need to go buy one very large rug because I'm an OCD wreck about things scratching the floor. This might be a long 3-4 years! Oh, and I actually unpacked our decor this week. I had grown so accustomed to the minimalist look that I almost thought the room look cluttered with decor.

Just for comparison, here is the living room when we found the house. I am still deciding what kind of curtains to place on the huge wall o'windows; suggestions are welcomed.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Boy toys

What is the difference between little boys and big boys? Little boys throw little sticks and big boys throw big sticks.

Oh My Rally

Today in St. Louis we had 100,000 people rallying for Obama; it was simply awesome. We had more people here than at the DNC in Denver! I'll upload our pictures later but for now here is a picture from news sources.

OK, now for our pictures.
Even though there were 100,000 people there it was a well behaved crowd and went very smoothly. We didn't even get stuck in any traffic on the way home!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Laundry room

It is unfortunate I don't have a true 'before' picture of the laundry room. You can barely see it in photos that were taken of the kitchen when we purchased the house but nothing that shows the laundry room in all its dim glory. Imagine this: wood paneling on the bottom half of the walls, dingy yellowish-white on the top half, wood shutters on the bottom half of the window and 90's vinyl flooring. Make sure you make it look really dated and dim in your imagination; don't give it any benefit of the doubt.

Here is what we did: painted the paneling white, painted the walls tan, removed the wood shutter and put in white blinds and the biggest change of all- new tile floors! The only thing left is installing new base moulding; that will come when we are finished with everything. Welcome to 2008.


I just have to share my school girl giddy this morning. Since the Presidential campaign started St. Louis has been visited several times by all candidates. I keep telling J if Biden or Obama visit again I want to go; I mean really want to go. Good things come to those who wait, right?
I learned this morning that there will be a rally for Obama at the Gateway Arch on Saturday. I've already RSVP'd; I wonder what kind of cheesy sign we can make.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Camera pictures

Without a memory card the camera will hold about 4 pictures on the internal memory. I have had the same pictures on the camera forever because I forget they are there and never download them. I finally got around to it this morning; let me show you what I found.

The picture from the Sears Tower in Chicago that I wasn't able to download before. They almost give you the impression that they really like each other.

Emily and Matthew found a fun place to play during our last move in June.

A picture of Emily when she was in the hospital in 2005; this is an old picture! Emily had a piece of wood buried in her heel that had become horribly infected. She had to have surgery to remove the wood and clean the infection. Four days in the hospital was not fun!

Momma needs new shoes

J changed the oil in the cars a few weeks ago. He didn't have enough empty jugs for the used oil so it was sitting in the open oil pan in the garage until we were able to get the kids to guzzle more milk. Honestly, it was kind of forgotten about....until last weekend. J was searching for a tool in the toolbox and I was standing there talking to him; I raised my foot and stepped down on the very edge of the oil pan. Oil poured, splashed and splattered everywhere. It is a very weird, cold feeling as oil soaks through your sock and shoe.
I felt bad for making such a mess and he felt bad for leaving the oil and ruining my shoes. He ran to the grocery store (thank goodness for having one across the road!) and bought 2 large bags of kitty litter; it wasn't enough. Later he went to the parts store and bought the oil soaker-upper stuff and was told by the clerk that he was lucky he wasn't divorced. HA! I just want some new shoes.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Hodge Podge

First, we finished the bathroom this weekend; our little vacation slowed that timeline but overall it only took us 5 work days for the remodel. Two of those days were full weekend days and 3 were a few hours after work for J. We got a much smaller vanity, updated the light fixture (I installed that!) and a smaller mirror. The bathroom feels so much bigger, but the toilet looks a bit out of scale now. It almost looks like a white porcelain throne sitting there.

Now that the bathroom is finished, take a look at my laundry room. Geesh, can't we just sit and do nothing?! We ripped it apart Sunday, I removed the luan Monday during the day and J cut and cemented the backerboard last night. It is drizzly today so I doubt we will be able to start tiling this evening; I'm sure I can find another project to work on instead. See the lovely hole in the wall to the left of the window? We hear that the original owners had a black lab that scratched huge holes in the drywall so they put up wood paneling to cover it. Sometime later someone removed paneling from that location and installed 2 cabinets with a countertop. We removed those to put in the tile and ewww, that was nasty. Black dog hair that is at least 4 years old isn't a pretty sight to find.

While driving back from Chicago I saw the "Maverick Steakhouse;" I had to take a picture. I wonder if they do things different from mainstream steakhouse practices; instead of steak and potato, you get steak and boiled eggs. They probably figured out that mainstream steakhouse followers don't really care for steak and boiled eggs so I'm sure they have abandoned their own practices and now serve steak and potatoes. You have to do what the people want to stay in business, right?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Greencation: Days 4, 5, & 6

Sunday- We slept late in our dark, quiet room and then caught the bus to the Museum of Science & Industry. I was slightly bummed that we didn't get there until 11 but quickly realized that they didn't even open until 11. The place is HUGE and we knew there wasn't any way we could possibly see everything before they closed at 4. The most awesome part of the museum is their new Smart Home; a home that was built with sustainable and energy efficient materials. Guess what?! They used bamboo floors in the Smart Home! We got so many great ideas but unfortunately our home is 14 years old and we won't be making it as environmentally friendly as the Smart Home. J and I did gather many ideas that we would love to incorporate into a future house though.
With so much to see and so little time we grabbed a snack in the food court. If you ever visit the museum, make the food court your definite stop for lunch. They had many different choices including a full taco bar. We were in a hurry for our Smart Home tour so we all split a chicken finger meal and kept on trucking.
On the way back to the hotel we stopped and ate at Chipolte. We said we wouldn't eat somewhere that we could eat at home while on vacation but it was right around the corner and we were all tired.

Monday- The one place Emily wanted to go in Chicago was the American Girl Place. I had waited until the last day to take her because it just worked out best. Imagine my surprise when I got online Monday morning and found out they were CLOSED. They were moving across the street so they shut down the store for 2 days- Monday and Tuesday. It absolutely broke my heart to tell her they were closed. She has listened to two of her friends talk about their breakfast there and the doll salon for weeks now so she was so excited to go.
But, Emily and I were up and out of the room by 9am to try and salvage the shopping day. We took the subway over to the Magnificent Mile and found the Lush store. She had a good time sniffing everything but eventually the bath bombs started fizzing inside her nose. I was able to turn her day around with a bath bomb and a set of pajamas; my daughter knows the good things in life.
The boys took the bus over to the
Field Museum and had a good time looking at all the REAL mummies and other interesting artifacts. Emily and I joined up with them around noon and viewed all the creepy mummies as well. The kids really liked Sue, the most complete T-Rex dinosaur ever uncovered.
Mid-afternoon we took the train over to Ed Debevic's (where they are mean to you). We had gotten so many "you must eat at Ed's" comments that we walked in the rain to eat (up hill both ways too). We should have ate there on the weekend because 4pm on a drizzly Monday is not a popular dining time. We were eventually the only ones there and honestly, we should have had Chicago pizza again.

Tuesday- So sad; it was time to check out of our hotel and return to the reality of life. But first we walked to get some breakfast at The Corner Bakery and then walked over to Millennium Park. It is full of cool sculptures and beautiful gardens. The pictures of the kids in the mirror is a giant mirrored sculpture that is supposed to resemble a drop of mercury. Once you know that and look at it, it DOES look like a drop of mercury!
We lost the valet ticket for the car but unfortunately they were able to locate it with our last name and room number; no Lexus for me today.
The hotel we stayed in was The Silversmith. It was lovely and fancy and quiet and all those other things that my house isn't. I hid all the Italian toiletries each day so the housekeeper would leave me more; I now have a few weeks worth of lotion and shampoo! I usually don't let housekeepers in the room while we are gone but I figured if I wanted more good-smelling lotion I would need to compromise on my routine a bit. We were on the same street as an elevated train line so we could hear that but it wasn't that bad and it was very convenient having a stop right outside the hotel door. We were within walking distance to Millennium and Grant Parks, the Sears Tower and shopping on State St. I would definitely stay here again but I would definitely go through again as well. We paid approximately $60-$80 less per night by booking through