Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Update time ...

I know that it's been a few days since my last post. Sorry. We were all (my wife, kids, and I) enjoying a nice weekend with my brother, sister-in-law, cousins, and my parents in Wisconsin Dells. There really isn't anything quite like being able to spend the entire weekend relaxing by the pools and water parks. We also enjoyed nine holes of golf with Dad on Monday morning, a night out to celebrate anniversaries with my brother and his wife on Saturday, and even a small birthday celebration for three of the four kiddos on Friday night. Got to see one of my cousins and his family on Saturday, as they joined us at the waterparks, and got to see my aunt, uncle, and another cousin on Sunday, too.

We are definitely blessed. I can't thank my parents enough for setting this up and paying for the whole deal each summer. The Wilderness Resort has been a nice respit during hot summer months each of the last few years. And another big thanks goes out to a few of my brother's friends who have helped set us up (without provocation) with what we need, including a nice cabana the last couple of years. We definitely enjoyed hanging out with them Saturday night after dinner, as well.
Pictures will be forthcoming, but for now, just know: vacation was fun. home safe is good. and we are blessed.

PS - house remodel still looks good. fireplace refacing, appliance delivery, and granite countertop install this week! pictures to follow. we're getting close!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Remodeling ... (week 3 - flooring ... done!)

Flooring ... done! What a way to walk into the house!

Nice new wooden vents.

Family room looks awesome! (We'll get that fireplace resurfaced Monday.)

Looks great with the cabinets.

Into the closet ...

... and the bathroom.

And throughout the kitchen. (Island gets set/screwed down Friday when the cabinets are completely done.)

That transition piece by the sliding glass door is nice ...

... and it also works well to seperate the two floors. (Yes, they're the same floor, but they wanted to seperate the laundry room from the rest of the first level in case there is water damage from garage entry or washing machine.)

Speaking of the laundry room - what a better space. The baseboard and shoe even look good in golden oak. :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Calvin and Hobbes courtesy Bill Watterson

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Remodeling ... (week 3 - cabinets and flooring)

So, the floor installers came by on Monday :) ... looks a bit of a lighter shade from this perspective.

But it really works well with our cabinets and even the oak trim.

The kitchen looks so awesome! (Even with that old fridge - that IS being replaced.)

I personally love the big cabinet-work around the fridge area - and the crown molding.
I also like the under-cabinet lighting molding and this faux-chimney (which will have crown molding, too).

Monday, July 23, 2012

Friends, and The "Lake Weekend"

We have to have the best neighbors and friends. We have to. When we left Wisconsin ten years ago, I couldn't have imagined making friends like the ones I spent 26 years making in Sun Prairie. I honestly couldn't have asked for better friends at that time.  To this day, we keep in touch, make sure to see each other as often as possible - many of us gather at least once a year for New Year's Eve - and many of them just got done visiting with each other this month around Madison - for which I wish I could've been around.

My friends mostly all got married within a few years of each other, included each other in wedding plans - either in the wedding itself, or in some manner - and all of us in some form or fashion became friends with spouses and children. When we moved four hours away from the only home town I had ever really known, I didn't know what to expect. I don't make friends easily. That's not something you say a lot as an adult, but it's true.

Thank God for where we chose to live, for the people that have befriended us as neighbors or through our work, church, and children. Oh. My. Gosh. Take, for instance, this weekend:

My wife has been out of town for a week in Australia. (Thankfully, we picked her up from the airport Sunday night. Yeah! She's home!) What do my neighbors and friends do? With the remodeling, I've had no less than five invitations to do laundry at people's homes. Our friends have helped us move stuff and invited the kids over to play. And then, this weekend, they invite the kids and I to the lake on Saturday on the spur of the moment (check the last blog entry for that day). Then another set of friends invite us over Sunday to THEIR lake home. And we get another great afternoon on the lake with them. My son got to try water-skiing again. My daughter got to do 'disking' with me. Both of them got a chance to go tubing, swimming, and sailing. It was just plain cool.

It is unreal what hospitality and friendship our family receives from our friends and neighbors. To be able to have friends that I made in elementary school, junior high and high school continue to keep up with us, and then add such great neighbors and friends from our 'new' home is ... well ... awesome. I am beyond words. My cup runneth over. OUR cups runneth over. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Maybe I'm not the greatest at making friends, but apparently God has a plan for us and helps make them for us :)

.... and it continues today, as another neighbor and friend took our boys to the Twins baseball camp at Target Field!

Here are a few pics from Saturday (Thanks Rhonda!) ...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Lake Minnetonka ... with great neighbors

Okay, so I stole the picture from whatever site I googled for an image of "lake minnetonka sunset", but the evening was pretty cool. The sunset was a pinkish-purple and wasn't quite like this - a bit more clouds. But anyway ...

It was a nice Saturday - going along smoothly. The kids and I went to MOA and Sea Life aquarium for the morning. Basically had the aquarium to ourselves since we got there as it opened. The kids enjoyed it and then we walked around, brousing in stores, looking for birthday ideas. We finished the trip with a 'normal' journey to the food court and Sbarro pizza for my son & Asian Chao rice, noodles, and chicken entrees for my daughter and me.

Then, when we got home, my daughter's friends came over and they played for the afternoon. As evening came, our neighbors made a last minute decision to go to the lake - and invited all of us. It was VERY nice of them! And we thoroughly enjoyed the evening! Did a little swimming in the bath-water warm lake. Then gassed up the boat and made a few runs with the tube. The kids really had a blast - and we finished things off with a little sleep-over at our house - just my daughter and her friend; not everyone, thankfully.

Only disappointment was not being able to enjoy the night on the lake with my wife. I certainly will be anxious to get her back tonight. Thanks again, neighbors! You certainly are the best!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Remodeling ... (week 2 - cabinet preview)

All of the upper cabinet boxes hung in the kitchen ... and many lower boxes put in place

Dining area cabinets pretty much installed ... looks cool!

Our new 'pantry' - which will go between the fridge and wall in the corner

Spice rack ... and regular cabinet doors - ready to be installed

And the sink base cabinet ... the only other item unwrapped as of yet

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Remodeling ... (week 2 - paint)

First level ... drywall done, ceiling done (well, not in this room) ... and first coat of paint done

Yep, the WHOLE thing got painted "3AM Latte" ... that's a brown two shades lighter than the front room paint ("Weaver's Tool")

The kitchen, too. I'm thinking that that part of the wall not painted is where cabinets/backsplash will go.

The color looks good up against the dark stain of the window casing/frame.

And I love NOT having 'popcorn' ceilings in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry, hall or closets.

Bathroom got '3AM Latte', too.

And the closet.

Of course, the wall where the pantry used to be.

And the laundry room looks AWESOME! :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Not going to whine ...

... my kids do enough of that.

However, I will be pleased and happy when all the workers leave the house and I have a first floor in which to cook, eat, rest, watch TV, play board games, and even - *gasp* - clean! This project feels like it will totally be worth it - saw the door for the lazy-susan cabinet and LOVED it! But, having to wade through the dust on level one in order to get from level two (bedrooms) to level minus-one (basement) this week is no fun. Now, I wouldn't mind as much if we could walk around the house to the outside basement door. Unfortunately, it has been either extremely hot or rainy every day so far - so walking outside is about as much fun as the dust on level one.

... but ... I'm not going to whine :)

Life is good. Dance classes are going awesome for my daughter. She is totally into it and lovin' every minute of it. The instructors have even mentioned how well she keeps up - keep in mind that she's 5 and in a 7-8 year old class. She is doing farely well with tee ball and soccer, too. We're in full swing for games for each - and tee ball is definitely her stronger sport (of those two). She hit the ball on Monday so hard that it ended up in the outfield grass - which not too many other kids can do on her team. She also does a pretty good job of paying attention to the ball and making plays on defense. The first soccer game was extremely hot, so we'll see how game #2 goes tomorrow.

Swimming has been fun for both kids. My son was just told that he should move up to the next class if/when he registers for the next session. That would be Jr. Swim Club, but we'll see. Basically, he's doing the build-up mechanics for the butterfly stroke in his current class. They work on everything else - front crawl, back crawl, breast stroke - but spend more time on butterfly (as far as I can tell). The instructors told me that my daughter could use another session at her current class - for more endurance. Since she's been in swim class for a year straight, we'll have to see if she wants to keep going in the fall. Fall will be busy, so maybe we'll just take a break - and then move up to the next class anyway :)

My son is enjoying his week of golf camp - even in the rain today. After camp this morning, he went out in the wet grass out back and got some extra work in with his irons. I'd say he's into it ... but then again, we will going to Target Field for Twins Baseball Camp on Monday, and soon will also be signing up for fall ball baseball - kid pitch! And I heard him tell an adult friend recently that he might give up football soon - so that he doesn't get hurt for baseball. I'd love for him to play plenty of sports ... but, that's my baseball boy :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Remodeling ... (week 2 - drywall)

bathroom - so it doesn't feel left out

nice! no half-wall noticeable

yep, USED to be a pantry there :)

kitchen - notice the new canned lights

that's MORE space for the laundry room!

just a 'pre' picture for where the new cabinets are going in the dining space

and there are the new cabinets - delivered!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Maple Grove Days Parade

These are more "We're watching the parade with friends" photos than actual parade photos, by the way.

My daughter's neighbor bff.

My daughter's lake family bff.

Most of the crew that joined us for the parade - neighbor family and lake friends family.

Our neighbor even snagged a new potted plant from one of the garden-shop parade entries. Awesome!


Friends from WAY back ... when they were young? :)