Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Spring 2016 - Outdoor Fun

Our pool opened a few days ago for the summer season, but for the week or so leading up to opening day it was cool and rainy here. I knew the water would be too cold for me to enjoy the pool, so instead we compromised by getting out MC's water sprinkler in the back yard.

BD sets a good example for her about keeping vehicles clean, so one afternoon she got busy washing and scrubbing her truck.

I'm pretty sure that's an old toilet brush she's using to scrub, but she found it in BD's car wash supplies and wanted to use it.

One afternoon our little neighbor came over to play for a few hours. MC and E are really good playmates for each other, and they had a great time together. We ate lunch then played outside and had popsicles.

Here are some of BD's landscaping/green thumb skills on display.

This hydrangea lives by our front porch and gets enormous every year. We learned the hard way several years ago that the deer will mow down an entire hydrangea bush overnight, so now each year he protects it with some fencing.

This is a daylily transplanted from Louisiana. We have several of them in our front yard but once again the deer assume we plant all things for their benefit and have chomped off the flowers each time they bloom. We've got to get some protective netting over them but for now this one in our front flowerbed appears to be safe. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

New Upstairs Bathroom Construction - Week 1

The upstairs of our house is U-shaped. One one side there are two large bedrooms and a full bath; on the other side there are two large bedrooms. The two bedrooms on the side with the bathroom are MC's and (future) Baby Sister's rooms. One bedroom on the other side we use as a guest room, and the other as office/storage, which means our guests have to walk completely across the house to use the bathroom. The office/storage room was long and rectangular so we decided to steal some space from that room to create another full hall-access bathroom on that side of the house.

Here is a not-to-scale sketch to give you a better idea of the current and new floor plan. (I realize in the "new" sketch the whole thing looks bigger. It's not; I'm just a bad artist. We basically just built a new wall in the office to create the bathroom space.)

We have talked about this project for years and even talked to some contractors about it last year but never went any farther than that. Once we found out we were expecting Baby Sister, we knew we needed to get moving on it, so we finally got our act together this spring and construction started last week.

Day 1 - Demo & Framing

The new bathroom door opening to the hallway has been cut, and the existing sheetrock has been removed. And the new wall in the office that forms the second wall of the bathroom has been framed out.

View from inside the office.

View from the hallway into new bathroom. Existing office door on far left; existing guest bedroom door down the hall to the right.

The plumbing for the new bathroom will run through the floor in the guest room closet, so that carpet has been removed and an access hole has been cut.

To get the new plumbing out and under the house, the pipes will run downstairs through the wall in the dining room, so an access hole has been cut here as well. (And the door from the dining room into the kitchen has been blocked off to minimize dust and debris.)

Day 2 - Electrical

New wiring has been run for bathroom fixtures and to relocate existing plugs/cable jack to the new wall of the office.

Day 3 - HVAC

The existing office space had 2 A/C vents but the new wall went directly over one of them. So that vent was relocated to service the new bathroom.

Day 4 & 5 - Plumbing

As you can imagine, the plumbing was the most challenging aspect of this project. It took two full days for the new indoor & outdoor plumbing to be put into place.

Look! We have a bathtub! And some new plumbing lines running through the walls!

View from standing in the new bathroom doorway.

View from standing in the office.

 New pipes running underneath the new bathroom floor.

New pipes running through the guest room closet floor (and a curious Piper).

Somehow we missed getting a picture of the new pipes that were installed in the wall of the dining room. Most of the new indoor plumbing was installed on Day 4. On Day 5 they spent the majority of the day under the house, running new lines and connecting in with our existing sewer system.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Pregnancy Update: Baby #2, 28 Weeks

How far along? Picture taken at 28w, 5d -- officially THIRD trimester!!

Size of baby? Large eggplant - 10" crown to rump, 2.5 pounds. Baby Sister's lungs are now capable of breathing air, and she can blink her eyes.

Weight gain/loss? +10 as of last week. The average weight gain for 3rd trimester is 1 pound per week, which would put me at +22 pounds total for this pregnancy - exactly the amount I gained with MC. At least I'm consistent!

Maternity clothes? Yep. And already growing tired of them. It might be a long summer, LOL.

Stretch marks? Not yet.

Sleep? About the same, hit or miss. A friend gave me one of those pregnancy pillows - some nights it is helpful and some nights it makes me feel claustrophobic. (BD calls it The Violator because he likes to snuggle up with his back facing me, and it pokes him in the rear end.)   

Best moment this week? This happened several weeks ago, but when we told MC what Baby Sister's real name is, she said "I like Fernando better."

Food cravings/aversions? No changes here. I still end up taking anti-nausea meds about every other day. But not really any cravings or aversions.

Gender? Girl.

Belly button in or out? Still in but getting very shallow.

Movement? Lots of movement, she's practicing her karate moves in there - especially if I lay or sit and get still. Now that we're in the third trimester, I am doing Count the Kicks which is a new (to me) public health campaign to help prevent late-term stillbirth. I had never heard of it when I was pregnant with MC, but the midwife mentioned it to me at our last appointment.

What I miss? I am starting to have some pain in my hips/pelvis/lower back, as my ligaments and joints begin to relax in preparation for giving birth. I push MC in the stroller several times a week through our very hilly neighborhood, and that aggravates the pain -- but on the other hand the exercise is very important to me, both physically and mentally. So I miss the "ease" of getting exercise when I'm not pregnant. The midwife recommended trying a pregnancy support belt, so I need to get myself one of those.

What I'm looking forward to? Our bathroom addition project being completed. (Project is well underway - more details soon in a future post!)

How's Mommy feeling? I am still learning to say this without feeling any guilt or shame, but pregnancy is just not my favorite state of being. I'm tired; I physically don't feel well for a majority of the time, and I'm grumpy (-ier than usual). As I said to BD recently, "The end result is definitely worth it, but there are lots of $hitty parts leading up to it."

How's Daddy feeling? Feeling pretty good. Bathroom construction is almost done, which means we can get the house put back together and get Baby Sister's room looking like a real nursery.

Milestones? Baby Sister's room is painted; her dresser and rocker are both here. So even though the room is still in total disarray due to the bathroom construction, it does feel like we're moving in the right direction to be ready for a baby in a few months!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Preschool Craft: Windsocks

A few weeks ago at her Parents' Morning Out program, the craft they made that day was a windsock. It was super cute but made out of a paper towel roll, so it wasn't very practical for hanging outside. I told her we'd make another one that would be more durable and suited for being outside. I gathered some ideas from Pinterest, and we ended up with not only a cute craft but lots of hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills practice!

We started with an empty Gatorade bottle with the top and bottom cut off and painted that with acrylic paints.

Then we strung plastic beads on fishing line to hang down from the windsock and blow in the breeze. (This was MC's favorite part of the project.) BD made several holes along the bottom of the bottle and we tied our strings of beads in the hole.

We used a loop of fishing line to hang our windsocks from the umbrella over the table on the deck, so we can enjoy them all summer! Here is our first finished windsock; we made a total of 3.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Here are some pictures of our girl from April and early May 2016.

Snuggled up with her giant teddy bear and a few other stuffed friends.

After a trip to the library we stopped at the local bakery then walked a few blocks down to a little park to eat our treats. She had her usual sugar cookie with sprinkles and a milk. And yes, that is a stuffed gorilla wearing MC's clothes. #dontaskshes3

Piper loves to sit in the lawn chairs when we get them out in the back yard.

She dressed herself in what I lovingly refer to as her "Goodwill Reject" style - turquoise t-shirt, mint green skirt, pink socks, black shoes. And a temporary tattoo on her shin, just to class it up a bit.

 Entertaining ourselves at Lowe's on a rainy weekend afternoon.

The cornbread muffins were in a bag on top of the fridge, and I was taking a shower, so she pushed her bathroom stool into the kitchen, climbed up on the counter, and helped herself to a muffin. I walked around the corner just in time to see this and catch a picture. No one will ever accuse this child of not having enough determination, once she has made up her mind about something.

Enjoying a watermelon snack with Daddy.

Playing with her bubble fan - entertainment for both her and Piper. Best $2 I've ever spent.

We have lots and lots (and lots) of imaginative play going on around here these days. This scenario started off with her in a Doc McStuffins outfit and these were her patients at her clinic, but it had already morphed into something different by the time I took the pic. (Notice that all the stuffed animals are wearing a pair of MC's shoes.)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Daniel Tiger Live!

Last week we took MC to see a performance of Daniel Tiger Live! in Charlotte. It was a quick 24 hour trip, but we packed a lot of fun into a short trip!

We stayed in a hotel uptown that was walking distance to the theater. We arrived in the early afternoon before the show that evening, so once we checked in to the hotel we headed over to grab some pizza at The Mellow Mushroom down the block. 

There was a cute little urban park right across the street that had some gorgeous landscaping and a fun water feature.

We all rested for a few minutes before it was time to get dressed and head over for the show. This was MC's first stay at a hotel, and I think she could get used to hotel life! 

She LOVED the show and was totally engaged in it the whole time. I was really impressed with her attention span; it was a fairly long show - about an hour and fifteen minutes total, with a 15 minute intermission. They sang a lot of songs that we recognized from the TV show and there were also several original songs in this performance.

Our seats were really close and at one point during the show, Katerina Kittycat was standing at the edge of the stage directly in front of us. MC waved to her and she waved right back; MC was thrilled!

We had the opportunity to do a quick meet and greet with Daniel after the show. It was late by this point, and although earlier she had said she wanted to give Daniel a hug and a high five, she opted instead to stay in BD's arms and check out Daniel from a safe distance.

The next morning we got up and headed to Discovery Place Kids in Huntersville. It was packed with kids on school field trips, but we still had a great time, and there was plenty for MC to do.

She raced cars on the derby track and played on the water table... 

She drove trains and the fire truck...

And played with floam in the art center...

After we'd played out the museum, we stopped for a quick bite for a late lunch and then hit the road headed home for Chapel Hill.