Friday, May 28, 2010

Project Update IV (and few extras)

I'm back with the latest on the project updates. Jason and Bill have not disappointed! I walked in my yard last night and literally said, "whoa". There's a long way to go still, but that did not stop us from eating dinner out there last night. It also didn't stop Bill from doing a "runway" dance on the strip of decking that we call by the same name, since it's a perfect runway-esque stretch from the raised eating area piece to the sliding door.

The granite was installed yesterday in the wine bar. Now we just need to touch up the paint, finish adding the hardware, install the lighting, buy the beverage fridge, and accessorize (my personal favorite- I have a real soft spot for the flair).
I can't wait to see what will have changed by the time I get home tonight! We are a little behind, but that's okay. I fully plan to bribe my dad to help us finish. I'll be sure to continue to post project updates. It better not take too long, though, because my roman numerals get a little hazy around 15.

A few other things....

As Jason and Bill have been working their guts out, I have been working overtime in keeping Marin away from the power tools that seem to multiply. She insists on being in the yard to keep a pulse on the action, and I can't blame her. To make sure she doesn't end up taking a nail gun to the foot, I have to watch her like a hawk. She moves incredibly fast.

The other day she started to wander and instead of trying to keep her corralled in a small area of the yard, I decided I'd just follow her. This must have been liberating to her, because as she ran down the sidewalk she literally squealed in excitement. And that little stinker walked me right to the park, all on her own. After the park we rounded the block a few times. She loves the neighbor's dog, and gives it hugs through their fence while she says, "awww".
At a recent trip to my parents house, Marin wandered back to my parent's master bedroom, which to her is a thrill that I imagine is on par with a petting zoo. She loves to play and explore the room. When I followed her to make sure she hadn't somehow tarnished my parents white silk upon white silk bed linens, I found Marin in their bathroom. The scale caught my eye. Since Jason and I don't own a scale, I can't remember the last time I stood on one. I decided I'd see if I should permanently give up candy. But I couldn't believe how low the number the electronic display showed. I wondered if maybe I wasn't standing on the scale all the way- maybe it read the number when only half of my body was on the scale. But the same amazing number displayed itself the second time. Maybe I had lost a little weight, but my (slightly fabricated) drivers licence doesn't even say that I weigh this little! Happy Dance. I was definitely going to march down to the DMV to have my license reflect my new hot girl weight. But... it didn't add up. So I put Marin on the scale. She had just been to the doctor a few days before, so I knew that she should weigh 21 pounds. I made her stand really still- and the scale read 8 pounds. Dammit! I knew it was too good to be true.

Marin has proven herself a true trooper. Last Sunday, while Jas and Bill worked on the deck, my parents and Marin and I went into the city to attend Pentecost mass outside with 3,000 people. It was incredible. It was also incredibly hot. I was basically baptising Marin all over- pouring water on her head. But she just sat in her stroller, eating blueberries drinking from her water bottle. What a good girl! She also loved running in the wide open streets before mass started and we loved the wonderful experience. Old St. Pat's in Chicago is such a special place.
A little note for the ladies in the audience: I was thinking about Hanky Pankies the other day. I honestly love them. In fact, when I die, I want to be buried in them. (side thought- do you wear underwear under your clothes in the casket? What if you are cremated? Do you get cremated commando? Take note that I do not want to do either while commando. I'd like to be wearing my Hanky Pankies.) In my opinion, they are a true gift to woman, and ingenious for mothers. Not only are they so comfortable that I often forget they are there, but they don't ever, ever bulge- so there is no "a baby used to reside here" evidence across your middle.

Good underwear, a great church, a happy baby and a husband who makes a tool belt look sexy- life's so good, I almost don't care that the scale lied to me.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Life Changer- Delayed

Well, I'm a liar. I can't tell you about the life changer for three more weeks. I know, brutal.

I will tell you this- It's still happening. But due to circumstances out of my control (and this blog being a public forum), I can't tell you the details today. Do you hate me?

Mark down June 18th as the new "reveal" day. In the meantime, enjoy pictures of our house projects as they unfold, and stories about our crazy lives trying to figure out how to keep Marin semi dog slobber free, and ourselves in one piece.

This whole thing makes me wonder though... what's the hardest secret you ever had to keep?

Project Update III

Things are starting to take shape on the deck. Neighbors are slowing down when they drive by and craning their necks- likely to see what the two guys putting it together will do next, and to make sure they still have all their limbs.

Norah is not too sure about what is going on. She definitely misses her quiet house and her day long nap. Marin continues to love to help. Yesterday she grabbed a bolt that Jason used two days ago, carried it right to the exact place where it was supposed to go, and tried to put it in. Maybe we ought to get her a hard hat for Christmas this year and put her to work. Marin also likes eating snacks out at the construction site. Below is a picture of her bringing me some pretzels to share (ie: I end up eating 95%, she spills the other 5%). She knows she can always count on Mommy being up for a snack.

Today is a big day. Second inspection, then the decking. And the granite is being installed on the wine bar. Plus, since Jason's been working 13 hours a day of hard labor for the last five days, I (admittedly) took a chance at that leaving little energy to argue, and managed to squeeze a living room rug out of the deal! Bonus! Do I feel guilty? Nah, it was a great sale. Double bonus! The rug is also being delivered today.

The hard work around the clock is getting to Jason a little, though. We went for ice cream the other night and, since it was already past her bedtime, we decided to put Marin in her pajamas before we left. That way we could just take her right to bed when we got home. And that we did. Jason took her up as soon as we walked in the door. She slept like a champ. In her shoes.
The next morning when Jason went in to get her up, she was wearing her little crocs. At first Jason thought that she had learned to put them on herself! But then he realized that actually, he had forgotten to take them off. (Why would her shoes have been in her crib anyway, Jas?!) The worst part is, that when I checked on her later that night before I went to bed myself, I didn't notice them either.

More pictures to come after today's progress.
ALSO- In case you thought I had forgotten (yeah right, it's all I think about)- The life changer is being revealed today. Check back for that later!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Project Update II

Marin has proven herself helpful once again! Look what Daddy and Pappy got done yesterday under her careful and thoughtful supervision! Of course, she did take a little bit of time out to enjoy some of her friends at the park. She insisted on sitting on top of the picnic table after she saw her friends hop up. She sat there swinging her feet "chatting" with them like she was one of the guys. I think we really might need to do something girly this weekend. :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Project Update I

Last week, I told you that we were going to have some projects going on at our house. Well, this weekend we put on our construction hats and our safety goggles, and hunkered down for some destruction, dirt and dust. Oh, the dust. So much dust. Make it stop.

On Friday morning, a crew came to dig up our back sidewalk and patio. For about a half hour, Marin slept through two bobcats jackhammering through reinforced concrete about 20 feet from her bedroom window. How is that possible?!! Things were knocked off our walls, but yet Marin slept right through. When she did wake up, Marin was fascinated with what was going on in her backyard. She sat at he back window and looked out at the machines saying "dig, dig, dig!!" when prompted. And that was just the beginning...

Saturday morning our house looked like this:

Jason's dad arrived and he and Jason got to work studying the deck plans. By Saturday afternoon, we had a giant hole in the back of our house. No time to stop now.

By Saturday night, we had a door!

Marin loved the new view from her highchair on Sunday morning.

Yesterday a real charecter came to dig the post holes. He's in a band and we now know all about it. Today Jason and Bill are pouring the concrete. It's 90 degrees outside. Y-U-C-K. When I left for work this morning, my otherwise handsome, very sweaty, extremely dirty, unshaven, concrete dust covered husband gave me a kiss that tasted salty. I shuttered a little. But then I told him how much I appreciate him once again working so hard for our family. I may just stay away from those "while working kisses" for the duration.

But wait, there's more! Last weekend, Jason started installing a custom wine bar in a nook in our dining room that, when we bought the house used to be a closet. Who needs a closet in the dining room? Not I. Closet out. Wine in. So before we moved in, Jason tore the closet out, and converted it to this nook with a little framing alteration and drywall. It's not complete yet, of course, but here's how it looks today, waiting on hardware, the beverage fridge and the granite top.

I painted our (horribly ugly, yet to be remodled) first floor bathroom this weekend. Forget water torture, if we want our terrorists to talk, perhaps we should make them paint a small, basically windowless bathroom in a thousand percent humidity. It had to have been at least 104 in that bathroom. I stepped out into the mid day squelching heat with the sun beating down, and actually felt relief.

Marin loves helping with our projects. She loves bringing Jason his tools while he works. Granted, he may have absolutely no need for that tool when she decides on a whim to bring it to him, but we still celebrate her generosity and her kindhearted desire to help with triumphant grandeur. "Oh THANK YOU, Marin! You are so helpful! How kind of you! Thank you for helping!" She is so pleased with herself, that she appluades.

I'm not sure what Marin will think about the deck when it is built. So far, she is unhappy about her dwindling cedar and lumber jungle gym on the lawn. As soon as the project began, Jason unbundled all the wood, so its pretty dangerous for her to climb. Still, she has taken to removing the tags on each piece of wood, gathering them in her hands, and piling them in her wagon. She plays with those tags almost all day. I think I have come up with every imaginable game to be played with those tags. We have counted them, we have lined them up, we have pretended they were currency... you name it, we have done it.

There is a kind of excited energy about our house these last few weeks. We've had some of our very favorite guests visiting, we've spent some very nice time together, and we are seeing some more of our visions for our house come to life. It feels like the night before vacation when you are anxiously packing your bags and triple checking flight times. We love our house, and we love working together to make it our own. I know Marin will never remember her home any other way. But I am excited to tell her about how she reacted to it all unfolding in front of her. I'm also excited for tiny little hand prints on the glass door, next to doggy drool spots on the screen. I'm anticipating breaking out a bottle of champagne from the wine bar and toasting with friends on the deck... during all of life's adventures, big and small. These are the ways that a pile of cedar, two flats of concrete and bucket of screws becomes a stage for Marin to perform, or a shady spot for Norah to rest, or a respite for Jason and I to enjoy together at the end of a busy week. These are the ways that a house becomes a home.

Project update II to come later this week. And don't think I haven't forgotten about the life changer. Don't turn that dial; more to come!

In the meantime...enjoy some videos of the progress!
Video one: listen for Marin's babbling in the background, and watch how she claps for the progress
Video two: sorry, have to tilt your head (I took these on my camera)
Video three: it's a little long, but watch for the saw and the shocker at the end.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


I am not sure that Jason has ever been so proud as he is of teaching Marin how to cheers. She has taken to cheers-ing at every meal and takes the task very seriously. She must cheers every single person and every single cup at the table. If we are at the breakfast table you and have coffee and a juice cup at the table, she insists on tapping both of your cups. I can just imagine how this will go over in Kindergarten.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bursting with Happy!

I am on an absolute high. We are bursting with happy.

Our friends welcomed their baby girl Tess yesterday afternoon. As her dad said in the email announcing her birth, she is a little slice of perfection! Everyone is healthy, and we are just as thrilled as could possibly be! It was a long road, but yesterday we were all reminded that miracles do exist. I am certain that Tess and Marin will be B.F.F.s. Every night before we go to bed we thank God for making us a family. It is a tradition that my parents started with Jake and me when we were little. Last night we also thanked God for making them a family. Our prayers have truly been answered.

Tomorrow, Jason's cousin Mike and his wife Elizabeth are going to welcome their second baby boy. We can't wait to meet him next month!

It's a big week for cousins. Jason's other cousin, Neal, FINALLY asked his darling girlfriend, Nicole to be his bride. Lucky for Neal, we don't have to kick him out of the family to keep Nicole in. :) We're looking forward to a winter wedding!

Marin is cracking us up every second. She recently learned to say "shoes" and she says "hi" as clear as a bell. Now she's waving, telling people hi, and pointing out shoes at every chance she gets. She also is into repeating every thing we do. She helped me dust the other day, repeating the exact wiping motion with the cloth at the exact point where I had cleaned. The other night I was rubbing her back before bed, and her little hand started to rub my back as well. When we say our prayer before we eat, Marin has started making her version of the sign of the cross by tapping on her shoulder four times. She's babbling away so much, and her babbles seem to have a little more definition lately. I am totally convinced that she knows exactly what she means to say. She's also in love with nature. She loves to point to the trees and the sky and the birds. She often says, "Dis?" (This?) and we will say, "That's a bird!" and she tries to repeat it back. And of course, she dances her way through the day from morning until night.

We have a lot of visitors the next few weeks. Miss Kathy is taking some vacation days this week since her sister and niece are in town, so Aunt Vee is here to play with Marin through Friday. On Saturday, Pappy arrives for a week straight to help Jason build our deck! We are so grateful for their help, and Marin is looking forward to soaking up the constant attention and firmly wrapping them both even tighter around her little finger. :) Rumor has it, Aunt Lindsay may even spend the night a few nights! We've also had a chance to spend some quality time with my family. Last Sunday Marin and I spent the whole day with my parents-not working or running around. Just at church, and then a trip for ice cream and a girls only tea party in the afternoon. And Uncle Jake and Aunt Katy had the opportunity to spend the night two weekends in a row. One night Jake and I stayed up together after everyone else went to bed, and we talked and caught up until the wee hours of the morning. It was my favorite moment with my brother in a long time. I am so proud of the man he has become.

I've really been cracking the house project whip. :) As foreman of our household, it is my duty to see that these things get done. Jason is so glad. :) Stay tuned for big changes here and here:
The bench seats are also done! Jason worked so hard on every single detail of the design, craftsmanship and assembly, and I reciprocated by having cushions made by someone other than myself. Not only do I not own a sewing machine, I don't trust myself to thread a needle properly, much less sew a straight line. They should be here soon. This is why I need to be the foreman, and not the handyman. The credit is Jason's for the taking.

There's one other thing. It's big. Life changing. But I'm going to make you wait that one out. I'll be announcing that next week. :) (I'm not pregnant!)

Now it's your turn. What are some things that have you bursting with happy these days?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Dancing Queen

Friday night the lights were low
Marin needed no place to go....

Because her Aunt Katy and Grandma were over and she was showing off some of her moves.

She loves to stand up on her tippy toes. Recently she has added this moonwalk type move as well as a sort of tail wag. It's much better when it's to "real" music, but she loves to dance to the music of her toys, too.

In fact, she loves to dance to all music, anywhere any time. It's especially funny when she busts a move in church.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day

Do you ever have one of those days where you just think you are the luckiest woman in the world? I know that it is hard most days- with coordinating schedules, demanding jobs, teething toddlers, and a laundry pile so big that I swear it is growing on its own... but sometimes I stop to realize that the existence of those things are exactly the reason that I am lucky. People to love, a home to care for them in, and jobs to provide enough underwear to put off doing laundry one week. Yesterday, Mother's Day, was one of those days when I couldn't help but be thankful for this crazy life.

Although it was my second mother's day, it still didn't seem real that I was among those that we celebrated yesterday. Isn't this my mom and grandma's day? But as we woke up to Marin's little coos over the monitor and then the "ma-ma-ma-ma's" I was reminded in the greatest way, the reason I celebrate mother's day. Early that morning we snuggled in our jammies together and I thanked her for being the little miracle that made me a mommy. Then Jason pointed out that technically, he's the one who made me a mommy. Luckily Marin's too young to question this.

Jason and Marin made me homemade waffles for breakfast, and then presented me with a gorgeous wooden bench for the backyard. I am already dreaming about reading books in the shady nook in our yard, perfectly suited for my bench. After Mass, where Marin was thankfully very well behaved for about 98% of the time (and screamed bloody murder the other 2%), we headed to my parents house for dinner with them, my grandparents, Jake and Katy and Lindsay. Jake and Katy filled in Jason's gaps and presented me with my baby bling- a blue raspberry ring pop and the world's largest candy necklace. I wasted no time getting starting in on those bad boys.
It was a quiet and beautiful day of celebrating the mother's in our lives and remembering those that are no longer with us. A lot of our house projects were put on hold, schedules were minimal, and although, the laundry did not wash itself, I feel lucky to have slobber stains to scrub and baby bibs to fold. They are signs of a mother.