Friday, December 25, 2015

Our Latest Home Improvement Project

After much work these last few months, Sarah and I felt we were in a good place with our house - it was cozy, warm, and bright.  Thinking of all the friends and family that helped with these projects either through working on it (sweat equity) or helping fund it with their wedding gift (equity equity), or both (excessive equity) also makes the space that much more cheerful, homey and ours (and yours!).  We're so grateful and fortunate to have such wonderful folks looking out for us as we work to realize the our vision of what our humble home can become.  We needed a project that would stay within our budget and would be completed in a short amount of time. So, with that in mind, we decided to put up a christmas Tree and some blue board!

I'm burying the lead, I think. 

We're pregnant!  The test said wait 7-10 minutes for results.  Sarah is so pregnant that the pee sticks made up their minds within 30 seconds.  Hell yeah!  Take that, home improvement project that would stay within budget and be completed quickly.  This ones got 150 years to go, give or take some. 

This was a little while ago, say around early November.  Since then we've been daydreaming, nightdreaming and freakin joyful.  This is neat, y'all.  Sarah just had her first official doctor visit on Tuesday where the nurse did another pregnancy test.  Given my vast medical experience as a Wilderness First Responder (aka certified band-aid provider), I can tell that, because the pregnancy tests were so quick (and there were two of them) and this test has two lines on it, it means that we're having twins.  I'm pretty sure this is true.  

The ultrasound begs to differ. "Just" one.

Working title - The Nugget. 

I know many of you have already experienced this, but seeing the heartbeat of the Palpatine-esque creature that will become a whole new person is one heckuva magical thing.  I mean just out of this world.  And holding the hand of the beautiful woman who had bravely faced a barrage of tests and uncomfortable doctors office situations to meet the nugget face to smooshed-up, noseless, face was breathtaking, inspiring and so many things that words do no justice.  

We will have a few hurdles that are hopefully no big deal.  First off is some genetic testing.  On my side of the family there's a condition called osteogenesis imperfecta - congenitally weak bones.  I may or may not be a carrier, but we'll find out soon if I am.  If I am, it's still only a 50% chance of passing it on to the nugget, with severity unknown until later on in the pregnancy.  So might be nothing, might be something, but we're optimistic about the outcome in any case. Second hurdle, I am already spending lots of time at work not working but thinking about the nugget.  And I bet Sarah is too.  I'm ok not overcoming that hurdle.  Third hurdle - the name.

We want to respect the many cultures that have influenced our own.  Plus, there are some names that are just awesome and have good roots in Latin.  So far, here's our first draft - Black Elk Anastasia Tyrannosaurus Rex Ying Akwame Sergei Eley Waring Lopez.  Pretty good, right?  Seriously though, we're open to suggestions.  Especially about what to do with last name(s). 

We love everyone reading this blog and many who aren't and know that the love and support you've given us is also being channeled to the nugget right now too.  Gosh this is neat.

Monday, December 14, 2015

December Sans Neige

Well, it's been awhile! Current activities include dodgeball (Paul) and a three-month gym membership (Sarah), in addition to Poker Night and Book Club (Paul) and Various Evening Meetings For Work (Sarah). 

But mostly, we're sad about the lack of snow. It's December 14th, for Christmas sake! 
In case you want to see our forecast, it's dismal. Who wants it to be fifty-two degrees on the 25th?

For example, here we are on December 5th, with Todd, Susie, Ben, Angela and the children. Note the color of the grass.
Here are a few of the little ones: 

Now, Sal had heard that we were having a problem with little elves creeping into our house to steal our cheese. So, he designed a plan for an elf-trap, drew it up on paper, and then gathered materials for making this trap. Here's his dad, explaining to Sal, how it'll work, now that its finished. 
Brilliant, right? Well, you may have noticed that the plan relied on Paul staying up all night. And, to be fair, that just didn't happen. The next day, when Sal called to check and see if we had caught any elves, this was the resulting seems the elves got in and out of the trap without being caught! 

Those footprints! And the breadcrumbs! Geez.....

So, last weekend, wandering through the grass, we cut a tree with our friends Jesse, Alyssa, Isabel and Esther, as well as Ted and Ashley. Here's ours, once we brought it in and started setting it up:
As you can see, we have a high-tech tree holder. It takes about seven bricks in our canning pot to keep the tree upright. 
Here we are! Much better. 
And here, the Cat decides he wants to know what we're doing taking so many photos. He's a curious fellow. He misses us when we're away, so when we're home he likes to be nearby our activities.
Here's the tree with lights on, and then what the cat thinks of it. 

Notice how he blends into our couch? 
And now, finally, a few shots of our house from the inside, now that we're living more fully in the downstairs. Not too shabby.

 And just one more, of the Cat!! He's telling you all how excited he is about the holidays. 
Can you tell?

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Warmth Cometh to Bag End!

So, the past few weekends have seen much activity at our home. But, like always, we had to call in experts to assist us with our projects. This time, we'd like to thank:

  • Reeve Basom, expert pick up driver and stove wrangler
  • Ben Cheney, expert pick up owner
  • Kate Stephenson, expert all-around-assistance and stove wrangler
  • Ben Linder, expert lender-of-tools, and telephone advice giver
  • Topher Waring, expert stove wrangler, trim painter, non expanding foam sealer and all around expert
  • Marie Waring, who stacked all our fire wood while we weren't looking! 
We accomplished two projects in one day with the help of this crew. First, now that the walls are in, we were able to install our 4 by 8 foot windows which arrived last week. And second, we picked up and brought home our new steel and soapstone stove too. It's incredible the difference it all makes downstairs!! 

We tried to unload it as the diagrams suggested.

And had to rethink it!

Inside! Assembly!

It is so exciting!

You can see the old stove in the back, and this new one oriented to the whole room.

Our first fire!!

And then here are a few photos of the windows!!


Monday, October 12, 2015

Welcome Friends!
This is our very first blog post. Ever, of all time.  So hold on to your hats, cause it's gonna get wild. First up, after much deliberation and thought, we have decided to name our house Bag End.  Presumptuous? Probably.  Fitting? Definitely.  We love good food, are known to indulge in second breakfast and elevensies, and really, really enjoy being at home.  And like the Hobbits that lived at Bag End, we occasionally go off for adventures, there and back again.  Our adventures tend to feature fewer creatures intent on killing us, but we do incite a similar desire to make three movies out of every little thing we do.  

So, on to the real news.  Bag End is becoming our very own Hobbithole more and more, every day.  These last two weekends have featured heavily Topher and Marie teaching a master class on home improvement, AKA, teach a monkey named Paul how to use tools.  Last weekend, the good elves of Rivendell lent their knowledge and healthy appetite for work to help us build two concrete footers where the garage doors were.  Here are pictures of that process

This is the best BEFORE pic we could find.  But yall know there were garage doors here.  Still are, in fact, in this photo.

Marie finishing the taking down of this door.

Topher demonstrates the wine bottle technique of smoothing the concrete.  Had he not immediately beforehand demonstrated the drink a bottle of wine in 10 seconds technique, the concrete would've been much smoother.

I made concrete! Its was too soupy...

Sarah poking concrete?  Yup, that must be it.

Sarah having a heart to heart with the concrete.  Good talk.

A wall is being built! See, four sticks that haven't fallen over!

This is the beginning of Day 2 - the concrete was poured the week before and now it's time to turn this empty space into a wall and window. Sarah's good at stuff.

End of Day 2! My that went fast.

I wonder if I shouldn't set a mouse/squirrel/moose/bear trap tonight.  Seems we have a few easy openings.

End of day 3! We thought we'd get all of it built and sided by the end of today.  We didn't, so we called in reinforcements!
Our friend, Ben Linder!  He brought in the big guns, litrally.  An oscillating multi-tool, pneumatic nail gun, chalk line and a sweet tool belt.  With his expertise and superior tools, we finished the second wall in like a tenth of the time.  Mostly, I think, cause he had a nail gun. 

Here is a wall. Here is a Paul.  Neither project is yet complete.

Almost there!
Turns out we didn't get an "After" photo yet.  We were too excited to run into town and do a trash run and then see "The Martian," which made everyone cry, including the snarky teenagers.  Awesome flick.  As we were talking about how cool life is, and Planet Earth and all that, we walked outside to the most gorgeous sunset.  The clouds were doing so many things! We had to stop and gawk and point - it was awesome!
Here's a wee bit of them, much later on, from the dam.  Still being great!

And of course, our Precioussss. You can rest assured, I ain't putting him in my pocketses.

More of everything soon if we don't forget that we started a blog!