The Best of 2009

I'm tired just thinking of all the things that went into this post. But so much has happened in 2009 - that a few of the highlights are definitely worth mentioning.
We bought a house. A real fixer-upper. It had everything we wanted. Old wires and plumbing, no insulation, a mostly unfinished basement, a bathroom that smelled funny, a kitchen that had no appliances and a broken sink, walls that needed several coats of paint, and a yard that might take us years to 'fix'. At the end of February we called everyone we knew and said, 'We're gonna need a little help'! And ten months later, I can honestly say that we couldn't have done any of this without the help of you all!
Cleaning.Painting.Plumbing.Drilling.Moving.We stopped to enjoy new additions (Max, Abbie, Henry, Sydney, Cooper, and Ella)We killed over 2 tons of Juniper and broke our friends' backs.We gave the kitchen a massive facelift.
We took some quiet time and hung out with family.We cleaned out the attic and added new insulation. (And I got a Super Hero!)
We got a new electrical panel and rewired the house.
We got our very first Christmas tree, hosted a few parties, and made all of our Christmas gifts - because the electricians took all of our money!
I'm pretty sure that 2010 will be as busy as 2009. But we plan on spending as much time as possible with our amazing friends and family that helped us get through this busy year! Cheers, Hugs, and LOVE!!


Newly Acquired Free Time

If you haven't heard - hubby has a little more free time these days. I think it's a good thing. Mostly because he'll have lots of time to work on house projects....(and look for a new job, of course!)

This past week (his first week 'working' from home) he was able to get a little help from buddy Adam and stripped an entire basement bedroom.
I know you must be thinking, "that the knotty pine is so pretty, why would you want to tear out?" It was a huge internal debate - but we have opted to clear out the entire basement and start from scratch. This means removing all of the knotty pine, reframing new rooms, and adding a bathroom!!
The picture above is a look through the basement to the massive pile of wood and rubble that was removed.


Eggshell On My Face

"Who paints the walls with semi-gloss paint?!!" That's what hubby asks me when he gets back from the paint store with flat paint to 'cover' the patches we have everywhere from all of our electrical work. He'd like to do an international survey - and chances are he'd probably get a 98% return on people who choose to paint with 'flat'. Apparently everyone HE knows (aka -normal people) would use flat paint to cover walls and only semi-gloss if you're painting window sills and doors. Who knew? Not me! So when he came home with the wrong paint I was annoyed. As the story goes, I wasn't very nice about the wrong paint. So he marched back to the paint store and asked for semi-gloss. "Mwha!?" says the sales clerk. She thinks I'm weird too apparently. Sigh.

We regroup at home with the right paint. I apologize (sort of) for getting so upset over paint and we continue with our projects. I'm painting and touching up kitchen cabinets and he's touching up all of the patched walls around the house with three different colors of semi-gloss. Then the paint dries. and....the newly painted spots are SHINY! More shiny than the rest of the walls!! I'm thinking, how is this possible?! Hubby does a dance and gloats and reminds me of how mean I was to him and states that he'll be nice as long as I PUBLICLY apologize. I agree. So he pops open the flat paint that the paint store wouldn't let him return and starts re-painting.

It isn't until the next morning when looking at the dry spots on our walls that we realize what was shiny the day before is now very flat and still doesn't match the paint on the walls.

It turns out that when I was buying the original paint - the person selling to me convinced me that semi-gloss was indeed weird to put on your walls and talked me into buying eggshell (somewhat of a cross between flat and semi-gloss). It took a lot of digging to find the original paint receipt to realize this. Now we both feel a little silly. But I've learned my lesson. Write down what color and finish of paint your putting on the walls - and don't assume everyone does it the same....or else you'll be apologizing to your husband in a public forum and EVERYONE you know will think it's weird that you like shiny walls. Hmph!


Prime Time

It's rare these days that I get an opportunity to write about sports. I miss it a little bit. So I'm going to dedicate this post to my favorite football fan. The 2009 NFL season has been a big deal for the biggest Viking follower in my life. (I'm not going to predict the outcome of the season like I did for the 2008 Ms run - adios Sexton and Bavasi! - but it's looking good for purple and gold!) It's like the first time in over a decade that the this team has been a contender. Thank you Mr. Favre! I'm not going to lie though, it's really weird to see number 4 in a Vikings uniform.

So even though we take the time to watch hubby's favorite Minnesota team every Sunday - it's still a work weekend! This past Sunday as the Vikes stomped Seattle we sanded, primed, and painted our kitchen cabinets. Maybe it's our own superstition - the Vikings will keep winning if we keep painting. If that's the case - get ready for Miami Favre, we've got enough work to get you through the post season.

Mobile Bloggin'

On the road travelling home to Portland for Thanksgiving. I love wireless internet! I've got at least 3 hours (or 2 hours of battery life) to catch up on the blog.


My Superhero

Yah..I'm posting it! He's my superhero! He kills spiders with a single thump. He tears down walls, rips out counter tops, and tiles like an expert. He draws up remodel plans on bar napkins and wants to do all the 'hard' work himself. I knew when I married him he liked a challenge - but I had no idea. I love my weekend warrior - no matter how silly he looks in his hand made shin guards.

Padding the Attic

The day that all the insulation was removed from the attic the house was freezing! We had already ordered replacement insulation but had to wait until the old knob and tube was replaced to lay it.
The old attic insulation was removed on a Saturday. The following Friday two pallets of insulation were delivered to the house. The next day the wiring guys came to install new wiring (goodbye knob and tube - hello 2009 wiring!). That same night we laid the new insulation. Before all this was completed the furnace would run non-stop. When we woke up on Sunday morning not only was the furnace not running - but the house was actually warm!! Yay for energy efficiency!

Empty Attic

The old attic insulation needed removed and fast. Hubby called the guys from Clean Crawls. They came and they cleaned out the attic including all the wood debris.
You saw the before of the attic when it was full of the old insulation. This is the after, clean of everything except the old knob and tube. (If you look closely you can see them - little white spots in the picture)


Halloween and a Year of Firsts

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. It's a family thing. It started when my sister was born (Halloween 1981 - or was it 1982?)

This year was our first Halloween in our first house. We only got 5 knocks at the door and had loads of leftover candy making me a little sad. I was expecting more kids in costume but what do you do?
Our first trick or treaters were our awesome and very creative neighbors. Little Chloe was dressed as a combo-princess/mermaid.
Hubby thinks all the kids were scared away from the caution tape and crazy pumpkins lining the front porch (and maybe by the fact that our place looks like the 'Old Man Withers' house at the moment).
Our friends think that maybe the kids were scared away by all the old people inside doing jello shots.
But of all the firsts this year the last one is the best. My baby sis (shown below) celebrated her birthday this year as a first-time mommy. I'm not biased or anything - but that's the cutest bumble bee that I've ever seen. FYI - This photo totally stolen from their blog (www.jmansonsquared.blogspot.com) where you can view pictures of the cutest bumble bee EVER!


Insulation Woes

There are things that I'm very willing to do in this house remodel and things I'm not. Most things I can be convinced to help with. Some things I'm actually excited to do. And a few things I have refused. Entering the attic is one of these things. It's not that I have a fear of small dark quarters or any major phobias that would keep me from the attic. But after venturing just my head through the small hole in our closet, it just didn't feel like a place I wanted to go.

The short story about our attic is that it housed not only old insulation (blown-in, old school cellulose - tested/no asbestos), but also had dozens and dozens of old knob and tube wiring that kept the majority of our overhead lighting running.

The first thing that needed to be done was add additional insulation around the perimeter of the attic - where there was none currently. So hubby ordered like a hundred of these funny little things called baffles that help air circulation between the roof and the insulation (I think). He also ordered a bunch of huge rolls of insulation to go between the edge of the attic and the blown-in stuff.

Armed with his attic suit, handy dandy hubby braved our attic to insulate the perimeter.
Below is a picture of hubby's handmade knee pads. Yes they are duct taped to his jeans. Awesome, right? I didn't know he had made these and when I came around the corner I laughed so hard I almost fell over.
All suited up and only one place to go. After a couple of hours braving the crowded and dark corners of the attic, hubby conceded, came down and declared that all of the blown-in insulation had to go. It was basically smothering all of the old knob and tube and was a potential fire hazard. So instead of being nearly done with our attic/insulation project it was back to square one.


Cold Nights, Warm Walls

The house is covered in polka-dots on the outside with live wiring on the inside. It's PERFECT for a Halloween haunted house! It may be hard to see, but if you look closely you can see the little white polka-dots that were drilled when the insulation was blown in on Monday. They must have drilled over 10o holes in the siding.

Add the new holes to our already scraped and primed, patchy paint and it's really starting to look like a sad little house. We have promised our neighbors that it will only be an eyesore until next summer when we can paint!
Something we didn't know about blowing in insulation is that it makes a mess!! Especially if you forget to cover new electrical outlet boxes. It was pretty hilarious going around the house and seeing all of the little explosions through the walls. It's only shredded newspapers so it was easy to clean up, but a very odd site to come home to.