Monday, February 27, 2012

Another Construction Update

One of the major changes in the house thus far has actually been upstairs!  When we put in the new stairs, I will loose my old pantry space (under the exisiting stairs) which I have been using for auxilery pantry, coat and storage closet.  We are tight for space as it is, I can not loose storage!!
 So, I lost about 2 1/2 feet into the dining room and gained back some closet space!  I will now have a large coat closet (on the left) and a pantry/storage (on the right) too!
 This is the old "pantry" all cleaned out and ready for it's transition...
Which began today!  The floor came down and we were left with a large hole where the stairs will go!

The garage has undergone a major clean out, but I didn't take before pictures.  This space will be the new "den."  Truth be told, I suspect the promise of a man cave is just as motivating as the 9 month ticker running down...!
 Moving the electrical wiring and radient floor heat tubes was a serious process.  Honestly, I looked at it all and was pretty sure he should just throw up his hands and quit.  But, a few evenings and afternoons were spent working thru it all, and it was good to go today when he needed to cut out that area! 
The new dividing wall went in, the back side there will be the den once all gets said and done.  I'm pretty sure that by the end of the work day tomorrow (Dad is coming) we will have stairs!  Soon enough they will have to cut thru the wall into the basement, and then the spiral can come out!  There is still a lot of mudding (and then prime and paint) but everything has atleast a first coat, and most has been done twice.  It's really a huge project, but it's coming along!  


Wes had a bug last week, and felt pretty crappy all day Friday.  He wants to issue a formal apology to his Poppie:

I'm sorry for puking in your beard Pop!

Billy's Comings and Goings

As the winter slowly marches along Billy has been busy!  It took me a while to get pictures off Bill's phone... We had double booked weekends a few times and they did Dad/Son and I missed out... I often do the girl's things when there is a choice... but I wanted to keep up with his activities here too! 

 A few weekend back he and I went to the PTO's Mother/Son glow bowl.  It was fun to just hang out and knock some pins.  The other Mom/Son we were on the lane with didn't do a perfect job of score keeping... but despite their errors he won one, and I won one! We had a nice lunch of pizza and soda and he played a few arcade games.  It is fun to get out one on one with the kids, and this event made it easy! 
After messing up the fall concert, I was super excited for this winter one!  It was a full evening affair (the one we missed was a quick show during the school day) and since my Dad had been here working that day, he went along as well.  Billy played his pad and also had a chance to do the big bass drum too. 
He played a duet with another drummer, and they were great!  He doesn't practice very often (and I assume that as Savanna learned it will catch up with him once he joins the bigger district band) but they sounded great!  The band as a whole actually sounded pretty good... not as squeaky and screechy as they could have been!
 Scouts has kept him busy as well.  He and Bill went to the Klondike derby a few weeks back.  Bill was happy to go- he remembers going as a Scout himself.  It's a fun event where the boys act as sled dogs, and pull a sled from "town" to "town."  At each station they have tasks to perform.  There was enough snow to make the day fun, but not too much to make it terribly difficult for the team to pull. 
 Bill ended up cold, but Billy spent the day moving around so much he was fine and had a great time!  I love all the outdoors activity Cub Scouts offers.
Our pack had it's Blue and Gold banquet (which I also missed!) and Billy got a number of awards.  He is well on his way to earning his Weblos! 
So, while I may be slow to get his pictures posted... Billy is as busy as the rest of us!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Busy Weekend

I was busy this weekend, but it was a good kid of busy since both girls had "events" and as much as I would sometimes rather stay in my pjs all day, it is nice to be able to watch them do the things they love so much!

Sav had another cheer competiton.  This week was tough for them... at thursday nights practice a team mate broke her finger.  It was difficult for the team as she has an important tumble pass and is also a base for one of the stunt groups...  with no time, the team pulled together and were able to add a bit here and there, but there was no way to rework the entire routine in such a short time frame. 
 The competition was fierce, with 7 teams in their division.  A few of the other teams were really amazing!  It would have been interesting to see how Noble would have faired if they had been able to give them the full show!

Needless to say, their streak is broken.  They came in 3rd, which I think is still great given they had one stunt group that just stood, and were missing a back handspring... Anyway, the girls were all very gracious, and the team member with the injury was there, so they felt good about how it all went down.  I'm not sure what Coach Shannon will do for this week, but no matter what happens, I know I was very proud of our team! 
 Sunday took us in the other direction as Liv and I went to Mass for her final IEA show of the season.
 She rode this cute pony with a crazy forelock and took some lumps for the day.  She needed to get a 3rd place finish to get the points to qualify for regionals.  Never having been a points chaser, I think maybe some of the pressure got to her!  She says she was focused on not letting him get too close to the others (as kicking could have been a problem) but in all of that she forgot how to ride!  He needed a lot of leg to keep him going, and that shouldn't have been an issue for Olivia... but it was a sticky spot for them for some reason!
 She lost her canter, and even had to bump him back when he tried to walk... once they changed directions she got the canter much better but missed a cue from the judge and walked instead of trotted... Oh well.  You win some, you loose some.  And I was proud of her for saying it wasn't the pony's fault... she could have ridden him better.  It's sad that she didn't make regionals... but I'm proud of her anyhow!  She had a great season, and has made such progress in her riding.  She placed 6th in the class, so it was nice to get a ribbon... but not enough points to qualify her.
There is always next year~

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Construction update

Bill continued to work last week, and over the weekend; then Dad came for another work day yesterday, so I figured we were due for an update (and Mom asked!)
 The closets in the little boy's room got framed in, and insulated.  They will each has a closet, and the closets will flank a small section of open shelves for storing toys etc.
 The door into/out of the room also got framed in, and all the wiring is in place for lights and electrical outlets.
 The laundry room got it's framing and electrical wiring done too.  Also, the closet in our room got framed and dry walled, that's the wall to the right in the door.  We have the layout for the laundry; a sink and some counter space along with my washer and drier.
 Here is looking from the laundry room door back into the little boy's room.  Their door is at the end of the hall.
Here is my tiny bedroom closet all framed and drywalled.  We still have to mud and tape, but it will be nice to have some more storage space!

Dad and Bill will work again today, they have more drywall and I suspect they will start the large closet up here that will replace the "pantry" closet I'm loosing.  They also will hopefully finish clearing out the garage, a big chore they began yesterday.  Yup, some women get diamonds, flowers or chocolates for Valentines... me I get construction projects! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Maine State Cheer Challenge

This weekend was Savanna's first cheer competition of the year.  She and I went up the the Civic Center in Augusta for the Maine State Cheer Challenge.  Noble, and her team in particular, did so well last season there was some anticipation and expectation... we had talked about not winning, and honestly I think she was prepared to not come home with a first:

But, it was a clean sweep!  Noble won all 5 divisions we competed in!  Savanna's team, the Shining Stars continue their undefeated streak!  Shining also won high score in their division, and the High School team won overall Grand Champions for the day! It was fun to see their new routine (and uniforms!) and getting back into competition schedule is a thrill for Sav.  There was a lot of good sportsmanship and great athleticism in the Civic Center that day, it really isn't the "popular" girl sport you might envision.  I'm so glad Savanna found her niche- now we just need to work on her tumbling!  Auntie Anna has been helping getting her to gymnastics classes, and she just started at a new gym trying to get her back handspring/walkover.  It won't be long now!  It's all very exciting!  You can guess where we will be spending the next 6 or 7 weekends right?!  GO NOBLE!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Construction Day 1

The project begins!
Dad and Bill got started on the basement today.  I think they made great progress, and along the way some of the plans got changed.  The "office" space came down- all of the shelves and such were removed and the wall cut apart, the door came out along with the ceiling tiles
 The "office" wall slid over, making my new laundry room.  This was originally planned to be a bathroom, but my Dad convinced Bill it would be more cost effective and a better use of space to move the laundry down here, and put in a shower/tub in the 1st floor bath. 

 I'm sad I don't get a "new" bathroom, but we will still gain the second shower (upstairs where the washer and drier are now, and much easier to plumb above grade) and I will be happier doing laundry in a dedicated laundry space, and not on the bathroom floor!  Bill will run my laundry shoot all the way down here, and I'll have much more space to sort and fold.  We will have a big laundry sink and a linen closet in here too, so it will be a nice addition to our living space.  As he points out, our laundry situation is only getting worse!  More kids, more laundry!  The main floor bath will get a tub and shower, saving $$ since the sink and toilet are already there.  Hopefully we can rework the storage in there, and make a more efficient linen/medicine closet, and although I'll still have to come upstairs, it will only be one flight to shower!   
This will be the "little boys" room, this back wall will have 2 closets and some open shelves.  Where the spiral is now we will have a set of bunk beds, and this will be mostly a play space for my little guys!  With the den and their toys and the laundry down here, I suspect we will spend a fair amount of time down here come next winter! 

There is still a TON of work that needs doing, and the cleaning out of the garage hasn't even been started... so I know this will be a long process, but I'm happy to see some work getting done.  And, I don't think it will take me too long to get over my sadness over the bathroom situation... I may be slightly "sour" with Poppie for a while though ;) 


....Another boy!

note the "hot dog!"  And so, we add another Houston male

'Hi' everyone!

Pregnancy Update

I can't believe we are just about 1/2 way to our new baby!  Or, "other" baby/brother... I'm trying to be careful with Wes and how I talk... we have a lot of work to do to get him ready for the transition!  Sharing Mom is HARD for him!

Tuesday we were 19 weeks, and since my c-section will be at 39 weeks this really is about half way.  We have had some ups and downs: a few more downs these past few weeks... but I'm feeling better about the whole thing:

We elected to do some of the screening tests the OB offers: well, one of them came back with an elevated result.  Sigh.  So, all we really know is that I have fetal proteins in my blood.  Why?!  Well, they can rule out Downs Syndrome and the myriad of Tri-somy issues.  That leaves us with the concern of open neural tube defects.  This was all about 2 weeks ago.  After a few days of freaking out, we got in for an ultra sound, and our local office did a great job of scanning everything and the tech really made me feel much better saying she didn't see anything that would indicate the elevated (and it is just slightly high, 2.67 when 1.0 is normal and up to 2.5 they count as "acceptable") numbers.  There was no major anomaly that she could see.

Yesterday Bill and I went up to Maine Med for them to look.  Through a cluster is mess-ups, we really don't know much more... somehow my OB didn't request from them the right testing/meetings. So, they looked on ultra sound, and confirmed what they had seen (or not seen) here- there is no major physical issue with the baby that they can identify.  I figure it wasn't a total waste of time- the more I can hear that the baby looks healthy the better I feel!  We have to go back in 10 days for another look, and to meet with the genetic counselor... but for now I'm working on the assumption that it was a wonky result, and we have nothing to be concerned about. 

Other than all of that, I'm feeling so much better!  I can eat again, and actually have a pretty big appetite!  I'm trying to be careful, I don't want a huge gain when I was already carrying Wes' weight around, but still, food is my friend again!  I'm over the major exhaustion too- it's nice to be fully functional again.  My sciatic nerve on my left side has been acting up, making it hard to roll over in bed and sit up from a reclined position.  Sometimes when cleaning stalls I'll get a major radiation of pain down my butt/leg, but it's still manageable and I'll survive.  I also have this odd symptom that I need to discuss with the Doctor.  I have raised red bumps all over my legs and now onto my arms!  They itch like crazy and make me insane at night!  I scratch until they bleed, and have scabby lumps all over.  I look pretty scary- I feel bad for the other ladies at swim lessons.  They must think I have some terrible disease!

I have broken out some of my maternity clothes and have started to wear some of them.  We are getting ready to start the room downstairs, and I'm seriously nesty already!  I have the newborn and 0-3 months clothes out, and have gone thru them and sorted twice already I think!  I bought a few things here and there, some diaper stuff mostly, but will wait for the rest of the shopping until we get a little closer (or until I have some extra cash!) and summer stuff is out. 

I'll have the excitement of Krista and Brad's new baby to tide me over anyhow, they are being induced on the 14th- A Valentine's Day baby!  I can't wait to meet my new nephew!   

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Step #1

The first step in our construction project (after the big clean out that is!)

Garnering all the wood for the stud walls!  Wes was a big help to Daddy;

Of course "helping" is a loose definition!  I mean, come on folks... how much fun is it to push when you can get dragged?!

February already?!

I know that the wise ol' groundhog said 6 more weeks of winter... but it's hard to take him seriously, when what we have had for "winter" this season has been about as mild as it comes I think!

We hit 50 the other day... it was warm enough to be outside in just a vest and hat!  I'm not complaining, its been so nice for barn work (except the ice) and keeping this boy from getting too much cabin fever.  We have been out walking more then sledding- we even have mud already!  I'm not sure old man winter has given up yet, but we have gotten off easy thus far!  Bill is unhappy with the amount of snowmobile time he has gotten in; me, I'm not complaining!

And, neither are the horses!  Our "tender" few wear blankets, and this year I really think it's been less than a dozen or so days they have really needed them!  I swear they are just about "grazing" already!  They nibble at their hay, then saunter off to the field for a few hours each day of sunbathing and picking at the bare spots!  Most winters they don't even attempt to break a path uphill, they just hang here by the house waiting for the thaw.  Not so this year!  I'm worried about what the mild weather will mean for our bug season, but I try to push that to the back of my mind for now!  So, Phil... 6 more weeks to go?!  Bring it on!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Simple Gifts

I don't know what good I put out into the Universe, but I got one great Mommy gift today...

Westley slept thru an entire "large" grocery run!!

back story:
We were up late watching the Superbowl with Auntie and Uncle, and Wes went to bed well after his usual time.  He slept sort of fitfully and then was up at his usual time (6:30am) Swim lessons kicked his keester, and he fell asleep pretty much right when we got into the car.  I did the OakWoods horses, and drove to Rochester... an hour he had been asleep, so I loaded him into the cart for our "big" shopping trip.  As I started to push him up the first aisle, his eyes were fluttering... I asked him if he wanted to lay down on Mommy's coat and he said "ess" so I balled my coat and tucked it around him and over the front of the cart.  He layed his little head right down and slept the whole way round the store!  It was so nice to shop with out the distraction (although I got stopped by just about every other person- commenting on how cute/tired/lucky he was!) I managed to get everything we needed and he just kept on sleeping!  It wasn't until we were loading into the car that he work up suddenly aware that he had missed his opportunity for a "treat!" (normally he gets to pick one junk type thing if he behaves in the store) Thankful of my "gift" I had picked out Thomas gummies for him!  Lucky Boy, Lucky Mama!!


While we are waiting on our speech therapy evaluation we constantly have to work at translating Wes's words.  I the past few weeks had been asking for "may-or" quite a bit... it was generally int he living room and centered around the television... but beyond that I had no idea what he wanted... .  After asking him to help me understand one afternoon he stomped around the living room, then sat down showing me the bottoms of his feet over and over.  I was stumped.  I had NO idea.  Then, a few days later he was repeating it over and over again pointing at the refrigerator.  Sigh.  Then I realized he wanted a paper that was up there... a card Jayson made for Olivia... one decorated with Cars stickers... and I finally realized he wanted Mater!  Tow- Mater

I have no idea what the stomping was all about, or how he knew about the Mater movie but he sure was glad when we found that CD at Walmart one morning!  However, on the very first viewing something got into him; he stopped the player and jammed the disk into the machine.
 Bill was none too happy, since this is not the first time Wes had put disks into the player.  He typically slides them into the crack of the "door" though, and its very easy to get them out.  This time is was running, and he had the tray opened.  So, when it jammed it jammed!  It took Bill 2 tries to get it out, and the first time he gave up he said it was no use.  He cooled off, thought some more about how to tackle the situation and then was able to get it unstuck.  He was pretty annoyed and Wes was told he would get a "spank" if he messed with disks again. 
I'm pretty sure it was a one time thing though, as May-or is his new morning routine.  We watch it pretty much every day! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Basement remodel

For those of you who have followed a while, we "finished" one end of the daylight basement a few years back.  We dedicated a space for my "stamp studio" and gained the extra bedroom space.  Well, we are at it again!  This time I had to give up space though... my stamp room is no more...

Since just after Christmas I've been slowly (but steadily) clearing out the "office" which was a catch all (and our main downstairs closet) and my craft space.  Now, pretty much all of the stuff has been removed.  A lot went into storage in the attic, but I did a major purge as well.  An entire Envoy full went to Goodwill (every seat but mine and Wes' was stuffed!  I couldn't see out any widow other than mine and the windshield!) and I've taken a few loads to our drop off at the dump too.  I was sort of sad to see my craft stuff boxed up, but honestly I just don't have time right now for stamping... and we really do need more living space! 

The plan is to remove the spiral staircase, and add a staircase into the old kitchen pantry/closet.  You will go down into the front half of the current garage which will become a "den" and then turn backwards towards our room and come back into the "basement" passing by the bedroom we will add a bathroom and then where the spiral and office are now we will add a second bedroom.  This will allow Wes and the new baby a room, and Bill and I can go back to only sharing with each other!  I'm really looking forward to having dedicated "little" kid space (and getting toys out of my living room!) and a bathroom I don't have to climb two stories to get to!  It took a while to get here- I know it's going to be a lot of time and money, but it will be so worth it in the end. 

I'm happy that the "big" kids can all keep their rooms- I wasn't too excited about asking any of them to share with a little kid (or 2!)... I think the disruption of a new baby will be enough for everyone!  So, check back for updates as construction begins.