Friday, December 12, 2014

Another DIY Project

Our latest DIY project is a little different than a lot of the previous projects around our little house. While I'm still working on finishing caulking the crown molding in the kitchen and planning for a basement revamp, I'm also working on a little side project I affectionately call...


The Nugget.

We had been trying for The Nugget almost exactly two years before we found out we were finally pregnant. It's been a long, sometimes painful, road - so we're over the moon to have conceived naturally and to be expecting a bouncing baby in late May or early June of 2015.

So far things are looking great! We'll be adding "create a nursery" to our project list over the next few months! The crib is already in place - so we're headed in the right direction!

Here are a few "bump" pictures!

8ish weeks

14 weeks pregnant with The Nugget

15 weeks and still running!
Can't wait to meet this little guy or girl in a few more months!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Loooooooong Overdue Kitchen Update

Gosh I suck at this sometimes. I definitely enjoy doing the projects more than I do posting about them! That being said - the kitchen still isn't quite finished and we're over a year from the first day of demo. Whoops. Life and things.

We're super close to being done though. I just need to get my butt in gear, and now that it's fall and the mosquitoes have died down and I can spend time outside again without being eaten alive... I'm trying my best to knock this out finally.

I'm skipping a bunch of steps and just going straight to now. Just know that there was a $h!t ton of electrical and plumbing, and cabinet hanging, and drywall skimming, and undercabinet lighting, and backsplash installing, and cabinet building (I built two! By myself! And they work!), and countertop installing (and then reinstalling because the first ones were the wrong size), and floor laying, and, and, and now we're at the final (kinda) step of putting up crown molding!

I made the decision to build the upper cabinets up to the ceiling because it's a small space and I wanted to draw the eyes upwards. I used boards to gain height above the cabinets and now with the addition of a few pieces of crown molding I'm glad I made that decision - it just looks so much more REGAL up in here.


See that open cabinet in the corner? I totes built that sucker.

Maybe one day I'll go back and touch on some of the more specific steps (if anyone is interested - let me know!). In the meantime lets all just step back and bow and/or curtsy in the presence of this crown.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Race Report: Brat Fest 5K

I just ran my first 5K EVER - and I think I loved it!

About a month into my Couch to 5K app workouts, I signed up to do a 5K with my cousins and my aunt in June - so I felt I had plenty of time to ramp up to 3.1 miles in that time. Maybe two weeks after that J and I were planning our trip to Wisconsin for the Memorial Day weekend and I discovered that it was Brat Fest and there was a 5K/10K run that we could do... if we wanted! We checked in with my sister-in-law to see if it was something that she'd like to do with us - and we were surprised and happy to hear that not only did she want to do one, our 11-year-old nephew and 13-year-old niece also wanted to run the 5K with us! So the four of us signed up for the 5K and J signed up for the 10K. I briefly debated whether I could sign up for the 10K - but I decided I didn't want to force the distance if I wasn't there yet and hurt myself.

On race day I was nervous. It was my very first race ever - not including a couple of terrible track meets way back in middle school - and I wasn't sure what to expect. Thankfully Brat Fest is pretty small and there weren't a ton of racers and the atmosphere wasn't terribly intimidating. The 10K and 5K took off from the same spot - the 10K just lined up in front of the 5K racers and got a 2 minute head start. So we left J in his pack and headed back to line up in the 5K section. The race organizers encouraged us to line up with other people of similar speed, but there wasn't any signage about who was where - so we just kind of wandered to the middle of the pack and then I placed myself even a little further behind my sister-in-law and niece and nephew because I knew my pace was a little slower and I didn't want to hold them up. I ended up standing between this super sweaty excited guy and a guy (or maybe it was a girl) dressed up in a killer whale costume... which I still don't get. In the two minutes between when the 10K took off and the 5K started, I smelled super strong BO and thought that maybe I was stinking because I was nervous sweaty - but then Super Sweaty Guy pulled is shirt off (rubbing his sweaty arm against mine in the process) and I realized it was him stinking. I almost gagged it was so bad - and when the bell rang for the 5K to start I held back to let him go well ahead of me because I didn't want to run anywhere near him!

I had three goals for myself for this race:
1) Run the entire distance.
2) Not to come in last - I didn't care if I came in second-to-last, I just really didn't want to be dead last.
3) This was my secret goal that I didn't share with anyone until I actually did it - I wanted to finish my race before J finished his. He's a pretty fast runner, so I wasn't sure I would be able to accomplish it.

So when the race started I tried not to focus on anything except not starting out too fast because my number one goal was to run the whole thing and if I took off too fast (like I've read in so many race reports) I knew that I wouldn't be able to keep running. I was surprised that almost right out of the gate I was passing people - including some 10K runners who had started out 2 minutes before us. That made me feel good and gave me hope that I would accomplish my second goal of not coming in last. At about the 1 mile mark I was feeling good - and then a bike came whizzing past in the opposite direction yelling, "Move to the right! Lead runner coming through!" and then the lead 5K runner ran past in the opposite direction. THAT wasn't a great feeling!

I kept at it and was feeling pretty good - it was hotter than I had anticipated and for part of the run we were facing directly into the sun, which I hate, but I knew it wasn't too much further. At the second mile marker I actually caught up to my niece - she had a stitch in her side that was slowing her down. I told her to keep it up and kept going. I was surprised that I was consistently passing people. I was also surprised at how many people were run/walking the course - they would pass me fast and then I'd catch up to them a little later and pass them, and then a few minutes later they'd leapfrog me again.

At about 2.5 miles another bike came whizzing by from behind followed by the lead 10K runner (it was a loop course, so I was glad that at least I was heading in the same direction as him!). I knew I wasn't too far at that point and tried to pick up my pace a little, but the course had a slight uphill (super slight!) at that point and it felt hard. As soon as the finish line was in sight though I kicked it up a notch and gave it my best to finish strong.

It was kind of anti-climatic at that point. I crossed the finish line and a volunteer handed me a banana and a water and then I needed to get out of the way for the other runners. I stopped my app on my phone at that point and saw a time of 32:54 which I was really surprised to see because I don't run a 10:00 min/mi pace... ever! I headed to our meet-up place to find my sister-in-law and nephew who finished a few minutes ahead of me, along with my brother-in-law. I asked if they had seen my niece and she had finished close behind me, so soon we were all waiting near the finish line for J to finish the 10K. That's when I finally admitted my third goal - because I had done it!



About 15 minutes later I saw a guy who looked pretty familiar kicking butt as he rounded the finish line.

Doesn't he look great?

After we all finished we headed over to Brat Fest to take advantage of our free brat and beer coupons!!! It was only 10:30 or so, but we weren't NOT going to use them! I ended up getting a strawberry milk instead of a beer - but my brat was amazing.

After Brat Fest we headed to the famous Madison Farmer's Market. I had never been to it because every time we're in Madison it is usually for the holidays and it's not open in the winter, so I was excited to see it. It was SO crowded though - and really sunny and I felt a little wiped out. We came for jerky and cheese curds, but all of the cheese curds were sold out! Major bummer - but still a really cool experience!

As we were walking the race results went up, so I checked them on my phone. My sister-in-law and the kids did AMAZING! Each of them somehow managed to take 11th place in their age/gender groups!! J also kicked butt - he took 6th in his age group and did 8:29 min/miles. I was SO impressed!

As for me - I did WAY better than I ever thought I would! My official time was 31:32.7 with a pace of 10:12 min/miles!

I came in 48th out of 137 in my age group and 237 out of 530 overall! So not only was I not last - I was in the top half of all of the people who ran the 5K! AND I even managed to complete my 5K in a faster time than the guy who won the 10K (even though he passed me - I still haven't worked that out in my head)! I didn't beat him by much - but all that matters it that I did it! Now given, this is Wisconsin where everyone survives on beer and brats through the winter, so the results may have been a little different somewhere else - but I'll take it. :)



Saturday, May 17, 2014

And then I ran 5 miles

Today I ran the farthest I've ever run in my life - 5.2 miles. Without stopping. In under an hour.



6 weeks ago I would have laughed if someone told me that I'd be here today. This all started because my husband passed is qualifying exams for his PhD. When I asked him what he wanted as a treat to celebrate - he said that he wanted to go to a specialty running store to get fitted for running shoes because he had really started running again recently. Since I was the one treating I decided that maybe I would get fitted for some cross-trainers while we were there - but they were all really ugly, so I decided to get a pair of running shoes. Logical, right? :)

The next day I downloaded the Couch to 5K app on my phone and started out. This would be my third or fourth foray into running - I had tried half-heartedly in college and then I had tried again before our wedding and then again after our wedding. But - now that I'm 6 weeks in I have some perspective - and I think that my biggest mistake with those last two attempts was actually trying to train with J! He's such a fast and long runner - even if he hasn't gone running for a month, he can still go out run 4 miles at under a 10 min/mile pace. So I would go out with him on a run and he'd leave me in the dust and I'd be feeling really crummy about my ability and then I would decided once again that I'm really not a runner and would quit.

Well not this time (or at least not yet!) - I followed the Couch to 5K app closely for about 3.5 weeks, but I only followed it loosely. I found that in the second week I was able to push through the last walking interval and run until the end of the session - albeit SLOWLY - but I was still running!

In the 4th week, J started taking me a little more seriously and told me that he had heard on one of the podcasts that he listens to that running hills was a really good way to build up your stamina - and lucky for us we have this stupidly steep hill just a few blocks from our house. So on a Friday after work I set out to see how many times I could run up the hill. The way we do it is to run up the hill, then turn left and run around this mini block that kicks you out at the bottom of the hill again - and then repeat. I was able to do it 5 times around without stopping on my first try - which when I got back to the house I figured out was over 3 miles! I had already run a 5K!

After that something just clicked. I COULD do this. I've signed up for two 5Ks this summer - one is just next weekend already! Eek! I'm really excited and really nervous! Wish me luck! I'm not aiming for a specific time since this is my first one - I'm just aiming to run the whole thing! But I can definitely say that my 5.2 mile run today made me feel confident that hopefully I should be able to do that - as long as I don't start out to fast... which I know is going to be hard to control. We'll see - I'll report back!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Gettin' Hitched - Gettin' Ready

We lucked out with an absolutely beautiful day for our wedding. That's always a worry when you decide to get married outside - but on our day the Northern Michigan weather cooperated (for the most part!).

The wedding and reception all took place that a historic inn right on Hubbard Lake called The Churchill Pointe Inn. We couldn't have asked for a better location, because not only was the wedding on the lawn and the reception in the restaurant, but we also stayed there in one of the rooms upstairs! It doesn't get more all-inclusive than that! My sister and I stayed in the suite the night before - and many of our family members stayed in the other rooms. There are only 8 rooms available - so the rest of the guests stayed in the nearby town of Alpena. But for those of us who got rooms - we were treated to an amazing breakfast the next morning (complete with gluten free french toast - omg! ridiculously delicious!) overlooking the water. 


From there it was just a matter of setting up the restaurant for the reception (which I'll cover in another post!) and then running upstairs to shower and start getting ready!

We all did our own hair and makeup - DIY to the end!

My fabulous book paper bouquet from Momichka on Etsy
 At some point J arrived from the other side of the lake where he had spent the night and started getting ready in a different room of the Inn. I sent him down a card while we were both prepping and in return got a handwritten "Ditto." The man has a way with words - what can I say?



<3 

Apparently it took the girls a little longer to get ready - so the boys went out and took some pictures while the lake was still calm.
Lacing me up took forever - but once we were done we knew it wasn't going anywhere!




The scrunchy nose smile is one of the few traits we share!
And a veil on top to complete the prep.
Mom approves.
And so does Dad.
There are pictures of her from when she was my age - we look SO much alike.

The fam before we became one larger.
Daddy's Girl
This pretty much sums up our relationship.
<3 her always

And then it was time!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Birthday Boy

Yesterday was J's birthday, and since I'm the amazing wife that I am, we celebrated in style.

And by "in style" I mean I made special scrambled eggs for dinner... and by "special" I mean - geezus, I made something, isn't that special enough? GET.OFF.ME.

Next we watched two pirated perfectly legal episodes of Breaking Bad while eating popcorn and trying to throw said popcorn to strategic locations so that the bagel would get the helloutta the way of the computer screen.

And then we followed that up with stale cupcakes I bought on my lunch break at the grocery store across the street.

Cupcake proof!

This had to be cropped out. It's not your birthday, bagel!

Pretty special, right?

Happy Birthday, Babe!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Kitchen Renovation, Step #4

Step 4: Recruit Help. Demolish Kitchen and Install New Bathroom Floor

Miss Steps #1, #2, or #3?

a) Recruit help. Preferably help that can do electrical and plumbing.
NOTE: This step is probably best done right after your Dad retires and has lots of "free time" on his hands.
NOTE x2: This may take some bribery on your part - unless you're my parents, who think that spending two weeks gutting and rebuilding our kitchen sounds "fun" and your mom even describes it as sounding "spa-like" (I'm not even joking). 

b) Convince your parents help that they should come and visit for two weeks for an intensive kitchen remodel. When they agree have a minor panic attack and start sanding and painting kitchen cabinets like a maniac and tearing down paneling like it's your job.

c) When they arrive, panic again when your dad decides the best way to tap in the new drain line to the kitchen sink is to completely take out your old, iron, rusty, painted-over-8-times sewer line and replace it with shiny PVC...

I call this "The Thinkers"
... but perk up dramatically when you realize that the fact that your toilet has to come out during the sewer line replacement means you can replace you bathroom floor!

This is what I did while the boys broke iron sewer pipes downstairs, while swearing.
The before tile is more awful than this picture shows. Missing grout and loose tiles.
 d) Once the sewer line is back in place, commence kitchen demolition. Tear out kitchen cabinets and knock down walls to the studs.

Take no prisoners.
Look at all that yummy insulation that fell in my hair and down my shirt and in my shoes and...
So long weird wall.
e) Rest. Watch a football game. And ogle over your new bathroom floor since your kitchen is completely demolished and you can't envision it ever going back together. Ever.

Another opportunity for you to ooo and ahh with me. Don't judge my lack of white balance.

For reference, this is where we left it:


Improvement?