Wednesday, February 27, 2013

On a high from last night...

Our MN Gophers beat #1 Indiana in the barn last night!! David and I were watching the game at home, but we would have loved to be there. Meanwhile, Mia was playing on the ipad and would high five us when we were extra excited and cheering. Highlight video from the game from Gophersports.com:




Here's our own video of David and Mia doing the MN Rouser after the game, while getting on pjs!
video

Friday, February 22, 2013

New Kitchen Floor

We did it! The new cork flooring was laid in the kitchen last weekend and we all survived (albeit with bruised knees, a sore pregnant belly, and a cranky kiddo)! We had picked out the cork flooring from Home Depot last winter when we initiated our kitchen remodel, but got distracted by the purchase and subsequent renovation of the pit. Now that the pit finally has renters, and we made it through the holidays, and we're expecting another baby any minute, we figured it was now or never to get the flooring installed! Luckily, David's folks were willing to come up and help with the installation and the distraction of miss Mia.

The flooring we picked out was a cork-based tongue-and-groove plank, meaning it was 'green' as cork is harvested from the outer bark of cork trees and therefore a renewable resource, and it was relatively easy to install. We picked out the Millstead Smoky Mineral cork offered by Home Depot. It has a slight gray tinge to it, but retains some natural cork coloring and pattern. It pairs very well with both our slate gray wainscoating and the birch IKEA cabinets that we installed - a nice match between the light and the dark contrasts. After doing some measurements, we placed our order entirely online and it was delivered for free within the week to our front door (in the middle of another snow fall, of course). Luckily, I was at home and able to help get it into the house asap and David was able to come home quickly thereafter to get all of the cases unpacked and the planks stacked in the dining room to acclimate (and dry off, in some cases as some snow had gotten into some of the cases during drop off!). The awesome thing about this flooring is 1) it's a floating floor that can be laid directly over existing laminate, 2) it has a built-in underlayment, which meant we could skip laying a tarp-like thing underneath, and 3) the planks are individually sealed beforehand so we don't technically have to seal the floor once it's installed (we may still choose to do so simply because then we don't have to worry about water getting into the seams between planks and causing warping down the line). The other awesome thing about cork? 10-20 years down the line the next home owners can actually sand it down and 'refinish' it just like hardwood! Oh, and it's SO SOFT under foot! We had read that it was great for softness (without being a denting hazard) and noise reduction, but we were surprised how readily evident the softness feels just walking across the floor! I'm especially excited about this because I tend to get achy after spending long periods of time cooking or baking in the kitchen.

For the most part, the floor is done. We were able to lay the entire floor in 2 and a half days. We also put thresholds at both steps/stairways in the entry area and quarter molding behind the fridge and stove. (Quarter molding is required for floating floors because you need to leave a gap, in our case 3/8", between the floor and the wall in order to allow the floor to expand and contract as needed - so the quarter mold covers that gap between the floor and the trim.) Then we cleaned up, the in-laws headed home, and we left it for 48 hours while David worked. Wednesday, he rented a chop saw for a few hours and we were able to cut and install (almost) all of the remaining quarter molding, as well as one more threshold. The only things left to do are the two thresholds going from the kitchen into the dining and living rooms, both of which have hardwood floors and therefore we need to find a threshold that can transition from the laminate/cork plank height down to the hardwood, and then a few putsy spots in the entry way. All in all, I can live with those for awhile post-baby while we figure out what to do about them - at least the majority of the project is done!

Here are some before photos:
 The cork, waiting to be installed. I think we ordered 18 cases (which included the recommended 10% extra), and we were left with only 3 full planks at the end of the project!

 When we exposed the brick chimney last year, we also exposed some of the wood framework along the floor. Oh, and we had a family of mice that would crawl up the chimney from the basement and run around the kitchen - we got them with a single mousetrap along the right-hand side of the chimney, one at a time.

 Weird shot of the entry area - from the main door, you step in and walk down to the basement or take a step up into the kitchen.

In progress shots:
 Below is what we thought we had completed Saturday evening when we took off for a date night and left the kiddo with the grandparents.
 Little did we know that we'd spend almost the entire morning on Sunday re-doing this small section that runs under the cabinets. We were dealing with a section of 2" cut planks that ran up against the cabinet legs that refused to lay flat because the laminate had been cut to install the cabinets and had curled up in the meantime. The 2" planks weren't heavy enough to force the floor to stay down. We just about lost our minds...luckily, we figured out a plan and were able to move forward with the wide main stretch that installed very quickly! This bracing system was required, though...




 Mia really wanted to help!
After photos:



 Pre-quarter molding finished:
 A shot of the quarter molding:
Pictures don't really do it justice - it is beautiful!!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Full Term!

I made it to 37 weeks on Saturday, and I am officially full term! So, if I go into the labor now, there's no more stopping me!  Meanwhile, we ended up starting a big DIY project - new cork flooring in the kitchen - to finish up our kitchen remodel from last year that got sidetracked a bit due to our purchase and renovation of the pit. More on the floor soon, but as soon as we shipped David's folks out of the door on Monday, David headed into work to start 11 straight days of work (days, nights, etc. - it's going to be insane), so we're now hoping that I don't go into labor until after this stretch. Preferably, we'd even have a couple of days to recuperate by the end of next week before this baby even thinks about coming out! Granted, Mia came almost exactly on time (my water broke the night after my due date and she was born 1 day "late"), so there's nothing to say that I won't be just hanging out for another week after that (or more, god forbid). Last Friday, at the OB, I was measuring a bit larger than I had been previously, so they did an ultrasound to check on his size and position. He is head down (thank goodness!), and already measuring over 6 lbs - so just a bit bigger than would be "normal" at this point, and pointing to us having an 8 lb+ baby if we carry through to our due date. He hasn't dropped yet (I don't think Mia really did, either, though, and it's not very common for additional babies to drop prior to labor) and I'm not dilated (which I also don't think happened prior to Mia coming), so other than his size, there's not much of an indication that he's coming early. Nonetheless, we're looking to prepare ourselves as quickly as possible on the off chance that he DOES make a surprise early appearance! David is hoping to get a few hours this afternoon to work on thresholds and trim work in the kitchen (so we can at least move the rest of the furniture back into the kitchen and out of my living room!), then we can start setting up the baby gear in the living room (pack 'n play, swing, vibrator chair, etc.). We already have a bassinet set up in our room as the baby will be sleeping with us for the first couple of months to help us all adjust - and then he'll hopefully move into his crib in the same room with Mia. We also started stocking up on diapers, wipes, baby shampoo and other necessities that were no longer a part of our lives. The idea that we'll soon be a family of four is becoming more real by the second! Getting back into baby mode should be interesting....

37 weeks and 2 days

For comparison, 37 weeks and 4 days with Mia (can you tell I'm already carrying a bigger baby?)

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Shower for Baby BOY

Our good friends, Sara & Rob, offered to host a baby shower for us this past weekend and it was a blast! We were anticipating a small group of our friends, since a lot of our crew has moved out of the cities lately - but it was a perfect size to actually be able to catch up with everyone! Best of all, we were surprised by our good friends, Laura & Gabe, who flew in from Chicago just for the shower! We had arrived a little early and were hanging out in the kitchen with Sara and Rob, and Sara had mentioned that Bob and Wendy were going to be by early, too. So, when the door rang and someone came in, I figured it was Bob and Wendy, but Mia ran over to us and said "Mom! Laura and Gabe are here!" and I replied, "Honey, I think you mean Bob and Wendy." and she shrieked, "No! Laura and Gabe came all the way from Chicago!!"  At that point, I had to go see what she was talking about and lo, and behold, there were Laura and Gabe AND Bob and Wendy! What a sweet surprise!
The ladies: Katie, Sara, Petra, Laura, me, and Wendy (all of the spouses - and kids - were there, too!)

Sara made Thanksgiving themed apps - turkey sandwiches with gravy, some sort of mashed sweet potato concoction that was spread on bread and topped with marshmallows, and green bean casserole-stuffed mushrooms. Others brought queso and fresh bean/salsa dip. So good!  Best of all, though, were the BLUE velvet cupcakes that Sara made - I had three - they were that good.



She also made a non-alcoholic punch for the 2 pregnant ladies (Petra and I), which consisted of Fresca and white grape juice. It was really good - not too sweet, with just the right amount of tartness from the Fresca. Her Pinterest-inspired decorations were super cute, too! My favorite were the paper star medallions - that looked like real decor up on her mantle! (Which, of course, we didn't actually get a picture of - but here's a close-up of the dyed coffee filter garlands she also made!)

We got some great boy clothes from Petra and Lucas and Katie, and then Sara, Rob, Laura, Gabe, Bob, and Wendy all went in together to purchase the tandem sit and ride stroller that we had on our Amazon registry! Mia was so excited about this that she made us open it the next day and drive her (and Piglet) around the house in it! She seriously kept asking about opening it ALL DAY LONG. She even lucked out and got two new play-doh sets from our friends. (We love play-doh around here!)


 Petra said that this outfit reminded her of something David would wear - can't wait to dress them up together this summer!
Super cute crab onesies from Katie!
 

 Mia was obsessed with trying to blow up a balloon!

 Exchanging pregnancy stories with Petra - she's due with her first in June!

Mia really enjoyed playing with this rocket launcher toy of Tommy's...
video

The shower started at 3pm, we stuck around until 8:30pm, then Laura, Gabe, Bob, and Wendy came back to our place where we were able to put the kiddo to sleep and hang out in the basement until midnight chatting and playing games. It was a great day!