Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kitchen - Day 1

Here is the progress from the first day.

If you are wondering how we will eat in the next 6 to 8 weeks, our dining room is now our temporary kitchen.

Lots of microwave food and frozen meals are in our future.  And of course, eating out.

Kitchen - Before

The kitchen remodel has started as of yesterday!  In one day, they took out all the kitchen cabinets and about half of the floor. What a change!  Before I show you the pictures of what it looks like now, I wanted to show you some before pics.  I am going to show you a lot of angles of the kitchen and sunroom.  Some of these pictures are fairly dark, which is an honest representation of our kitchen.  That is one of many things that will be changing!
From the dining room

From the side door with the door to the living room open
For comparison purposes: same as above except door to living room closed and cute boy in center
From sunroom entry (Yes, that's a tent and tunnel in my living room. See cute boy above.)
From sunroom, looking into kitchen

So, why did I show you pictures of our sunroom?  Well, we are changing the flooring in the kitchen, sunroom and pantry to match the hardwood floors in the dining room.  It should warm up the sunroom a lot, and, hopefully, make it feel like another room in our house.  With the linoleum floors, it never felt really homey.

The kitchen is getting shaker style off-white cabinets with gorgeous white spring granite, which is a light colored granite with gray veins and reddish-brown accents.  The stained wood trim in the kitchen is going to stay.  We just can't part with it.  We haven't picked out the new paint color yet.  I can tell you that it won't be apple green!  I am so happy to see that go.

We are also getting all new lighting that extends farther than the kitchen and sunroom: canned lights and center light in kitchen, small chandelier over sink, replacing fans in sunroom  and living room and vaulted ceiling area of kitchen, chandelier in dining room, lights in foyer and hall, and front exterior lights. 

Big changes are happening around here!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Interview with Sims

Yesterday evening, I interviewed Sims.  I asked a bunch of questions that I had found online to ask your kids at different stages in their lives.  I thought this might be fun to do every 6 months or so.  When I finished asking him all the questions I had, he wanted me to ask more questions, so we kept coming up with more to ask him.  He really loved it, even though it took a few questions for him to warm up to it.  Here is the interview:

Maggie: What is your name?
Sims: (shakes head no)

Maggie: How old are you?
Sims: Couch.

Maggie: What color is your hair?
Sims: White.

Maggie: What color are your eyes?
Sims: Blue.

Maggie: What is your favorite food?
Sims: Mac and Cheese.

Maggie: What is your favorite song?
Sims: Baa Baa Sheep.

Maggie: What is your favorite treat?
Sims: Christmas.

Maggie: What is your favorite color?
Sims: Paint.  I like paint a lot.

Maggie: What is your favorite animal?
Sims: Giraffe.

Maggie: What is your favorite book?
Sims: Monkey.  (pointed to Monkey Learns to Potty, which was the book right in front of him.)

Maggie: What is your favorite store?
Sims: Rabbit store.

Maggie: What do you like to do with Daddy?
Sims: Tent.

Maggie: What do you like to do with Mama?
Sims: Tent for Mama.

Maggie: Who are your friends?
Sims: Nicky, Talia.

Maggie: What is your favorite thing to do outside?
Sims: Baseball.

Maggie: What is your favorite thing to play inside?
Sims: Crayons.

Maggie: What is your favorite bedtime story?
Sims: Jack and the Beanstalk.

Maggie: What is your favorite thing to do when you wake up?
Sims: Animals!

Maggie: What is your favorite shirt?
Sims: Baseball (the shirt he was wearing)

Maggie: What are your favorite shoes?
Sims: Baseball shoes.

Maggie: What is your favorite snack?
Sims: Animal snack.

Maggie: What is your favorite way to help around the house?
Sims: Trash.

Maggie: What is your favorite place to go?
Sims: Silver car.

Maggie: What is your favorite toy?
Sims: (picks up rolling pin) This is my favorite toy. 
          (points to Melissa & Doug Magnetic Dress-Up Set) This is my favorite toy.

His answers didn't always make sense (What is a rabbit store?) or really reflect what I think his favorite is, but I thought this was so cute.  He really loved that I asked him a question then wrote down what he said.  I had no idea he would enjoy this so much. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

New Year's Goals

Since I made some goals for last year, I thought I would make some for 2012 as well.  Before I tell you about the new ones, let's go over 2011's goals.

1. Read the entire bible.  I did it!  I finished it a couple of days before Christmas, so it pretty much took me the whole year.  I don't get much time to read, so it was tough to keep up some weeks.  But I did it!  I'm really proud of myself for this one.

2. Keep up my fitness routine.  I worked out with my lunchtime excerise group faithfully 3-4 times a week throughout the year.  I didn't get to keep up my extra running in the evenings once the holidays got here, but at least I was getting some exercise at lunch!

3. Learn to sew.   I made 2 pillows.  That's all.  I can't really call that learning to sew, but it was a start.

4. First plane ride for Sims, doing special stuff with Sims, etc.   Sims had his first plane ride and first train ride this year.  He even got to ride on a high speed train, which was a first for me, too.  We tried to do some special things throughout the year with him.  We went to London, the beach, and a short trip to Edenton.  He's been to the art museum, train museum, kids museum, Discovery Place, State Fair, 2 zoos, the airport observation park, plus many other things I can't remember now.  We enjoyed them all as much as he did.

ADDENDUM: See my old friends Jana and Siobhan.  We actually got to have an afternoon together at my house in December.  I finally got to meet Siobhan's two children, and they got to meet Sims.  It was so wonderful to see them, but it was too short.  We are hoping to get the whole crew together sometime in 2012 in Virginia Beach!

My goals for 2012:

1. Keep up my fitness routine.  This should be easy with my fitness group.  I would also like to get back to the gym in the evenings, but I will wait until the New Year's resolution crowd dies down.

2. Sew more.  I have material to make some other pillows, and once I've tackled those,  I may make some curtains.  No matter what, I want to sew more.

3. Cook at least one recipe from all of the cookbooks I have never used before.  I love cookbooks, which may seem strange considering that I am not the main cook in our family.  Some of them we use regularly, but there are many that we have never used.  With our new kitchen done sometime in the spring, I plan to use all those cookbooks at least once, even the one with recipes from Victorian times.  I think this will be really fun, when I have a fantastic kitchen in which to cook!

4. Take a one-week challenge to eat only real food/unprocessed food.  I think this would be an excellent experiment for our family that would teach us a lot about what we typically eat.  I would most likely follow the rules on 100 Days of Real Food.  They have a 10-day challenge, but I don't think we could do it for that long.  Baby steps, people!

5. Work on getting better at photography either by reading more books or taking a class.

6. Submit one of my photos to a contest or photo challenge of some kind.  There are so many contests/challenges out there that I'm sure I could find one in which to participate.

7. Spend time with old friends: Jeff, Jana and Siobhan being at the top of the list.  I figure if I type it and put it out there, it will happen!

That's enough goals for one year, I think.  Here's to 2012!

Anybody have any goals for the new year?

Transportation Museum

On the way home from Charlotte, we stopped in Spencer for the afternoon to visit the NC Transportation Museum.  Jason's parents and sister Tina joined us.  We knew Sims would love it with all of the trains, but the rest of us really enjoyed it, too.  It made me realize how much I love all those old trains!  Now I'm dreaming of going on a vacation on one of those old trains.

The museum also has a 20 minute train ride, where you can ride in some of the old cars.  We were all excited about that!

The gang sans Jason
We have wanted to go to this museum for a long time, and this was a perfect way to end our Christmas vacation!  I'm sure we will return soon.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Christmas with the Family

We started off our Christmas celebration with Mom and Smith coming to town.  The family came to our house on Christmas Eve, and we decorated sugar cookies. 

We had dozens of cookies to decorate, and most of us, usually, just decorate them very quickly.  Smith has always been the one who takes his cookie decorating very seriously.  He will only decorate a couple of cookies, but those cookies will be works of art!  This year, we had Neely with us, and she surprised us with her cookie decorating skills and gave Smith a run for his money.

Afterwards, we all went to our church's Christmas Eve service.  Then we came home and got ready for Santa to visit.

Sims was definitely spoiled with all the gifts that he was given this year.  Santa brought him a kitchen and many kitchen accessories.

Currently, Sims has a nicer kitchen than we do.  Give us a couple of months though!

As you can see, he also received a raccoon figurine (along with other North American animals), a Carolina Hurricanes sweater and a doll stroller, which he promptly used to take "Jennifer" for a ride.  Have I mentioned that he renamed his Grinch doll Jennifer.  He loves Jennifer, and she is one Christmas toy that did not get put up with the rest of the Christmas decorations. 

I was also very spoiled and even received a kitchen sink.

Of course, this is the one we will start using in less than 2 weeks, when our kitchen will be gutted.  We will be forced to clean dishes in the bath tub with our new kitchen sink.

We spent the rest of Christmas Day at Alex and Neely's hanging out with my family and overeating.

Then we headed to Charlotte to be with Jason's family for a few days.

While we were there, we went to the Discovery Place,

helped Tina make some big decisions on coats by recreating her daily experience of riding the Tube in London,

and tried out different moustaches. 

You know, the usual.

We had a great Christmas, and we got back in time to do nothing for New Year's Eve, which was exactly what we wanted.  I hope you all had wonderful holidays, too!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Santa at the Art Museum

The week before Christmas we met some good friends at the art museum for their Christmas family event.  We all had a lot of fun just being together and watching the kiddos play.  Santa was there, and Sims and Violet got to visit with him.  Since this was Sims' second time to see Santa this year, he just walked straight up to him with no fear at all.

Sims' lack of fear encouraged Violet to visit with Santa, too.  We were all happy to get a picture of them with such happy, silly smiles.

As we were leaving Santa, Sims ran back to give Santa a hug.  Sorry this picture is fuzzy.  It's the best I could do in such a quick moment.

The Santa at the art museum is really great, and I would keep coming back year after year just to see him.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas Pageant

We had a wonderful Christmas and holiday season.  It was so fantastic that I have been too busy to post any updates for a while.  I am in the process of fixing that.  I will be in overdrive this week to catch everyone up on our last few weeks of 2011.

A couple of weeks before Christmas, Sims was a lamb in our church's Christmas pageant.  We were happy that he was allowed to be in the pageant at 2 and a half years old, when most of the kids start at age 3.  We felt that he was ready, and he definitely seemed to be.  I'm sure it helped that he had his good buddy Amelia as a lamb with him.  He pretty much just followed whatever Amelia did.

Sims is in the front row in the center.

One of Sims' older friends, Mary Katherine, was an angel, and Sims still talks about Mary Katherine being an angel.  Many times when he seems a drawing of an angel in a book, he calls it Mary Katherine.

During rehearsal, Sims and Amelia made themselves comfortable in the church aisle.  Amelia laid down in the aisle, and her shadow had to follow her!

They had so much fun together!