Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sounding it Out

I am so impressed by what Ava has learned in her first few weeks of Kindergarten...she is constantly sounding out words, singing and dancing around the house, and practicing her addition - on her fingers AND toes!

Tonight we picked up some popcorn to watch during a movie, and on the drive back to the house, Ava was sounding out all of the words on the box.  It just amazes me how they much she wants to learn...and it makes me very thankful for people who choose to be teachers (cause I sure couldn't do it!)

Every day she comes home and tells us about her adventures in art, music class, PE, the computer labs, the library, and even lunch!  I'm so pleased that each day she looks forward to going to school...and each night, she enjoys doing her homework.  Except practicing tying her shoes...that's not working out so great.  But, we'll get there - I'm sure of it!

We're also trying to get to the public library every few it gives us a chance to hang out with friends!  This same friend, Lynda, offered to watch Ava last Tuesday night, so Scott and I could go out for a kid-free dinner for our 8th wedding anniversary.  We kept in low-key but totally enjoyed our adult meal out...and when we picked up Ava, we found out that they had fed her duck for dinner - and she loved it!  I'm so grateful for having the chance to reconnect with Lynda - I know I've said it before, but there's something very comforting about spending time with a friend who has known me for over 15 years.  And even better that our kids adore each other!

Reading about Eloise, the Pirate!

Baby update: I'm 34 weeks, and getting ready!  I tweaked the birth plan we had put together for Ava's birth, and have put together directions for my friend Emilie, in the event that I go into labor while at work.  I'm going to start packing my bag, and need to put together a bag of stuff for the little guy, so it's easily accessible regardless of where we're living when he makes his grand appearance!

I'm still feeling pretty good, but I'm enjoying this countdown.  I am looking forward to getting rid of the heartburn and general discomfort that comes with pregnancy, and I really want to meet the little man who keeps making my belly bounce all over!

House update: We drove down this morning, and found the house all locked up!  Good thing one of the windows was unlocked - Scott opened one, climbed through and let us in the front before we left, we kept one of the basement windows unlocked, to make it easy for our next B&E adventure.  It would be a shame not to be able to see all the progress that's happening on the inside!  And, boy...there is definitely progress!  The inside walls have been painted, much more!

Almost done with siding...and the stone is up in front of the garage

Official address!!

The interior doors are just waiting to be installed...

Mud room floor is in!

Stone is in around the fireplace

Kitchen cabinets and microwave have been installed!

Ava and Baby G's bathroom...

My laundry room floor is in! YAY!

Our bedroom - so much room...

Our bathroom...excited to have a floor (yes, I know it's a small thing, but it makes me happy!)

My parents are coming next weekend for a visit, so hopefully we won't have to break in (too much) to show them how much more progress has been made. 

Right now, I'm heading out for a pedi with a good friend - we need to take advantage of this gorgeous fall day...winter will be here before we know it!  (And Scott was hunting up north all weekend, so this mom needs a break from the kiddo!)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Locking it IN!

YES!!  We were able to lock in our interest rates this week, as we are estimated to be within 60 days of closing on our house!  We're cutting it really close, so we're still checking to see if the builder can do anything to cut off some time (without compromising quality.)  The bank initially told us a November 10 close date, and I just snorted...because, of course, my due date is November 9.  So...we'll see how it all plays out!

We stopped by the house this morning, and as we were walking around the front, the next door neighbor to the west came out and introduced herself.  She and her husband both work for the U, and they have a cute little 6-month boy named Paul.  She (Amanda) was telling us about the neighborhood, and was just so easy and fun to talk to.  They've lived there for a few years now and really like the neighborhood.  It reaffirms that we made a good decision in choosing that neighborhood!

We've been trying to buy new items for the house over the course of the summer, so we're not hit with a huge expense once we move in.  I just finished buying the last items we need for the kids' bathroom - never thought I'd get so excited about picking out fun towels. :)  We're going to focus on window coverings next, as we'll definitely want to get those up quickly.  Things are coming together nicely!

We've got siding on the back, the east, most of the west, and now they're working on the front!

The biggest thing I noticed inside was that the ceilings are now finished...

Inquiring about the location of her smoke alarm (no, it's not right there...)

Ava was pretending to wash her hair in the bathroom - silly!

Our finished tray vault it!

Scott was hunting this weekend down in Grand Meadow (at the Winfield's) so Ava and I joined the fun (NOT hunting) yesterday afternoon.  We met up with Tiff, Isabel and Evy, spent some time at the playground, enjoyed a nice dinner out, and then got to hang out with some more friends later into the evening.  I actually managed to stay awake until almost 11, which is unheard of when I go to their house! :)  Ava and Isabel had a good time, for the most part...although, they fought a bit more this time, and there was much more drama than usual.  It's hard being 5, I guess...
Regardless, I always love catching up with Tiff, and seeing what's new with them - I still wish they lived closer!
Isabel chasing Ava...
Brave girl!

Once we got home today, Ava met up with the neighbor girl and played with her for several hours this afternoon.  I'd say that Ava had a pretty awesome day!  We did work on some homework after dinner and read a few books, but I'm pretty sure she fell asleep within minutes of going to bed.  It's not even 9pm, and I'm the only one awake in the house! :)
Baby Update:  he's doing great...strong heartbeat and moving as much as he can, given his space is getting smaller!  My numbers look good, so we're right on track for things.  I have a feeling he'll be here a bit early, but I'm hoping not really early...I still have a lot to do to finish getting ready for his arrival!
Such cute little shoes!  My friend Emilie's sister just had a baby and they had lots of extra shoes so they sent Em home with a pair for our little guy. :)
Time to try to sneak in a bit of work before tomorrow...although I'd much rather watch a movie and then go to bed. :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Rock On!

And when I say "rock on" I'm totally referring to sheet rock...something that we've been waiting to see for a loooong time in our house.  Now that the sheet rock is up, I'm pretty sure we can schedule our closing, and get a better idea for when we'll be able to take ownership of our new house!  We've also started discussing a plan for moving, so we need to get working on that, as well. 

Thank God that the end is near for our time at this rental (fingers crossed that I didn't just jinx us!)  Scott and I were discussing last night that our housing situation this summer truly has been less than ideal...I think we've both been trying not to let it bother us, but the way the foreclosure/sale has gone down has left us with a bad impression.  We will be VERY happy to get into our own place again!

We have a front porch - yay!

The garage...huge.  And, now, with a service door!

View inside from the front door (study on right)

Looking into the study - need some good ideas on how to organize/decorate this room so it looks nice, but is still a functional office

It was getting dark when we went to the house and there was NO way I was going to check out the basement without a light.  But, I hear that the floors have been poured down there. :)

Our family room

And kitchen - so excited for the pantry!

The guest bedroom upstairs (still waiting on that window to be replaced...)

Ava's room!

My laundry room

Baby Boy's room - and Scott checking out the property lines (story to come shortly)

Our master bedroom - I like the tray vaulting!

Master closet on the left, master bath on the right

Shower and tub!

So, when we were there last night, it was pouring rain...but Scott wanted to check out the stakes and property lines in our backyard.  He got very wet and muddy, but he determined that the neighbors built their fence in about 6' into our yard and the back on one side, and the other neighbors laid sod about 3' in on the other side.  So, where our property lines should be straight back, it looks like we've been wedged in a bit.  Scott wants to talk to the builder so they can address the issue with the neighbors...and I just want it to be handled tactfully so we're not "those" people when we move in.  I see it from the taxpaying point of view, but I also want to make sure that we enjoy the neighborhood, and can make friends there!  Should be an interesting discussion...
The siding (or "the color" according to Ava) has also been added to the back, but we had a slight change in the board & batten color for the front, which led to a few more external color changes.  It should be fun to see how it all comes together.  We're pretty neutral in our color choices, so at least we have the freedom to add color to the house with plants, etc.

In other news...Ava's first full week at Kaposia was a success!  Scott got a call from her teacher, just to let us know that Ava is doing great.  He didn't have much more info than that, so I think I need to re-route the calls so they come to I can ask questions. :)  Gotta know how my baby girl is doing!

Ava and I worked on some homework yesterday before she went to Grandma Deb and Grandpa Whitey's house.  She needed to come up with three rules that we follow in our house, and then I needed to help her write them down.  It took a bit of time (and reminders to focus) but we did finally get three full sentences on the piece of paper.  Once again, I am impressed by people who can be teachers...or childcare providers of any sort.  They have the patience of saints!

Scott made BLTs the other night for dinner, and I noticed Ava giggling at her chair.  I looked over and asked why she had made a face on her sandwich.  And not just any face...a mad face.  I'm still not sure what the answer was because I was so distracted by the sandwich.  Once again, I'm shown that it's the little things that can bring joy to ordinary moments!

As for me, I'm 32 weeks, with just 8 weeks to go....yahooooo!  According to averages, Baby Boy is about 17", and 4 lbs right now.  He's running out of room to move, but let me tell you, he's finding crevices to explore that I didn't know existed.  I'm thinking that I need to start a special moving box for him...diapers, creams, onesies, etc., that we'll keep handy, since we won't be able to have his room ready by the time he comes.  I know we'll have enough going on that at least if we have the basics readily accessible, we'll be scrambling less for things.  Which reminds me...I need to stock up on diapers, creams, onesies, etc... :) 
 Time to get moving...lots to do and not nearly enough time!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The End of Summer

School has now started, so things are getting back into a somewhat normal routine.  Kind of.  Actually, I don't even know what can be defined as normal anymore.  Everything has felt suspended over the last several we're constantly waiting for things to start/finish.  Waiting for the new house, waiting for Baby Boy to arrive, waiting, waiting, waiting...

In the meantime, at least we're having fun while we're waiting!

Lucky Scott :)

Ava getting her first pedi - she loved the fairy chair!

Pretty toes for a pretty girl

We had a visitor the other night...

Ava started Kindergarten (at Kaposia in So St Paul) this past week - yahoooo!  She and I met with her teacher (Ms. Meister) the day before school started, so they could get to know each other, and so Ava would feel comfortable in the classroom.  Since we were the last conference of the day, we took our time, and had a chance to chat for almost an hour.  Ava had a great time checking out her new classroom, and figuring out where all of her school supplies go (both in her cubby and her locker.)  We also saw our old neighbor Aubrey at the school (he works there) so we had a chance to catch up with him for a little bit.
Ava did fantastic on her first day this past Thursday - I asked her if she was nervous, and she said, "NOPE!"  She was really excited to go and meet new friends, see some old ones, and get into a big school.  A lot of my friends/co-workers have kids who started Kindergarten this year, and most of the moms have been pretty teary-eyed about it.  After I dropped off Ava on the first day, I was walking out to my car, and thought to myself, "Should I be sad?  Crying?  Something??"  Honestly, I was just super happy for her to be starting a new adventure (and for us to be saving some money on childcare least for a few months until Baby Boy goes to daycare!)  I'm excited to see everything that she learns this coming school year.  I enjoyed school, and I'm hoping that Ava maintains a positive attitude about it for the next 13+ years!

Her first homework assignment...she had to draw a picture of her doing something she enjoys.  She's picking apples with her new teacher and her baby brother.

Her career choice has changed a bit since last year (mermaid).  Now she wants to be a Mommy who works on computers.  And who stays up late (her words.)  After the "stays up late" comment was made, I then got a lecture from her about how I need to come to bed earlier. :) 

Baby update:  I'm 31 weeks, and still doing well!  Our scale has been packed away since we moved, and I've had no idea how much weight I've gained.  I feel like it's been a ton, but when I went to the doctor on Friday morning, they told me it was only 18 lbs, which is wonderful!  The recommended amount is 25-35 lbs, so I should be right on track.  I'm at the point where I can't eat as much without getting heartburn, so I've been limiting my portion sizes, plus have been watching how late into the day I eat.  I'm hoping that all of this means the weight won't be impossible to lose after BB is born.

House update:  Scott did a walk through with the job sup last week, and confirmed that all of the electrical had been placed correctly. Next up should be sheet rocking.  I'm going to drive down later today to see if anything else has changed.  At this point, my pics aren't very fun - just lots of wires, outlet boxes, etc. :)

Although, Ava got very excited when she spotted what she thought was a smoke alarm (I'm still not sure if it was that, or a light in the mud room area...)

Something else that's been keeping me pretty busy is the upcoming wedding for one of my friends.  Angie and Chad will be getting married in Italy next month, and then holding a reception in St Paul in November (exactly one week after Baby Boy is due...)  I'm a bridesmaid (not attending the wedding), so it's been interesting ordering my dress and guessing what size I might be one week after having a baby.  Since Baby Boy will only be one week old, it's going to make for an exhausting reception day for me.  Scott's going to be with us the whole day of the reception (skipping hunting, even) so I can partake in some of the wedding festivities, without having BB attached to me, the entire time.

Yesterday, I was a co-host of the personal shower for Angie.  We've been planning this shower for two months, so it's been nice to see it all come together.  We had great weather yesterday - lots of sunshine and blue skies...perfect for winery tours!  I had booked a limo for the nine of us, and our first stop was the Dancing Dragonfly Winery in St Croix Falls, WI...and what a beautiful place!  I told Scott that I can't wait to go back there next year where I can try their wines, and enjoy their patio...they even have beer for purchase, so Scott can enjoy the trip, too. :)

Next up was a stop at St Croix Vineyards in Stillwater, MN...this one is right next to Aamodt's Apple Farm, and it was packed!  There was a live band to enjoy, and it was also their annual grape stomp.  Normally, in order to be selected to do the grape stomp, you have to have your name drawn from a basket - totally random, and the odds aren't great that you'll get to do it.  They made an exception for us, and our entire bachelorette party got to stomp away!  That was the weirdest feeling...whole grapes popping between the toes...grape juice flying everywhere, and then trying not to slip out of the barrel!  Very fun, and something to check off of the bucket list! 

We had an awesome limo driver, and he let us stay a little bit later, without charging us any additional fees.  He also does a lot of the Christmas light tours, so I think it would be great to get a group together and book him for this winter!

Anyway, after we got the grapes juice hosed off of us, we headed back to the house, ate a yummy dinner, played games, opened gifts, and enjoyed the rest of our night.  I did win the game for "what's in the purse" - the girl sitting next to me gave up after she saw how I was getting most of the stuff on the list. Granted, she had a cucumber in her purse, so she won for the most unique item.  :)  I finally made it home at midnight last night, which made for a very long day for this pregnant lady (12+ hours.)  But, it was fun...Angie enjoyed herself with friends and family, and that's what matters in the end.

Getting the party started off with shots!

Angie took the first one

Getting ready to head out!

Patio (and our limo) at Dancing Dragonfly Winery

Tasting at St Croix Vineyards

They sell a lot of honey products at Aamodt's - I had fun watching the bees (something to do since I couldn't taste the wine!)

Getting ready for the stomp!
After the grape-y mess!
Tina had bought some raspberry wine-infused chocolate sauce at the vineyard - very tasty!  Meanwhile, in the other corner of the limo, we were enjoying mustard infused with champagne (on pretzels...SO good!)

Dan, our driver - great guy!!

So, today is all about catching up and doing my normal weekend things...there's a nice breeze coming through, with pockets of sunshine, but there's definitely the feel of fall in the air. It's been a great summer (odd at times), but I am SO excited to see what the rest of 2013 holds for us!