Wednesday, July 31, 2013

We've got a walker....and no, I'm not talking about a zombie

It's baby is on the move!  I was so excited to see her first steps.  She saved them just for us when we were camping a few weeks back.  She took four little unsteady steps towards me while we were sitting by a natural spring.  Chris was close by and caught her second official steps on camera (I'll post that video/pics later).  Then we didn't really see much action for a week or so.  She'd stand up in the middle of the room, which she'd been doing for awhile now, and then plop back down thinking it was just too much work.

But, randomly on Sunday afternoon she decided it was time to start moving like Momma and Daddy and she's been perfecting the walk ever since.  Most mornings she's still too sleepy to try, and reverts back to her safe space, the crawl, but by the afternoon she's got her courage up and she's ready to roll.  

As you can see, she's still pretty unsteady, but she's determined!  And no, I can't explain why she needs Daddy's safety glasses while walking.  Have you ever noticed that no matter how many toys you have around, babies want to play with garbage or whatever it is you are trying to hold onto?

I guess I'm going to have to get her used to wearing shoes.  She's not loving them these days, because they make her even more unsteady and probably more because I never really put her in them when she was younger.  I don't know, is it just me, or does it seem silly to cram their little feet into shoes if they never touch the ground?  Besides, barefoot is best right!  That's the newest trend :O)  I know, I's time for shoes.  Especially when it starts to get cooler...and when we are outside of the house.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Master Bath Reveal...

Boy, this post is a long time coming right?!?!  I know I teased you all awhile back with pictures of this project in progress and then I promised to come back with finished pictures.  Well, then life got in the way, and Ryan got REALLY busy with work and we were still missing the door for the built-in medicine cabinet.  I didn't want to post a "look what we finished" post until it really was finished so I'm sorry for the wait.  

With that said, let's take a little walk down memory lane to see what this room looked like on moving day.

See that horrible ugly fan?  Yep...that's been relocated to the gazebo.  A post on that remodel coming up later this week.

See how the sink was awkwardly in the bedroom and then the wall closed off the shower and toilet?  That was first on our list of things to change!

Then, there was that stupid 1/2 wall in the shower area with a gross shower curtain to stop it from spraying out.  Oh, and lets not even mention the state of the tile in the shower.  With a quick swipe of his shoe, Ryan pulled up a whole sheet of floor tile.  It was all moldy and gross behind the walls and floor so we ended up having to pull all the tile out and re-do the whole shower.  At first we were hoping to save the wall tiles and just remove the half wall, but about 20 minutes into the demo we knew we had a bigger project on our hand.

But!  That meant that we had a blank slate and we could do anything we wanted.  So we went with a few bold choices of tile and added some luxury features we weren't intending to add originally and we are both so happy with the result!

Here's the view now from my side of the bed looking at the bathroom.  Notice the beautiful wall that now closes off the entire bathroom (and the sink).  We took out the pocket door (I hate those) and added a real door that's wide enough for a normal human.  The old doors were super skinny, and Ryan and I aren't even big people.
There's a closer picture of the full bathroom.  You can see that we basically gutted the whole bathroom and started from scratch.  We kept the vanity and toilet, and the fixtures in the shower but we even moved those around.  Notice how the shower head is now coming from the ceiling instead of one of those awkward hand held ones for old people.

We added 6 canned lights, a huge pane of glass (you can see it's attached using that black bar at the top and bottom of the shower), new floor tiles, and of course the beautiful accent tiles on the walls.  We added the two nooks for our shower bottles, and a heated floor (roughly under the shower rug), and crown molding.

The lighting in this picture is a little wonky and blown out but the bathroom is this very light blue color.  You can see it a little better in some of the pictures below.

Looking back out towards the bedroom (please ignore the non-staged area of the house ie. the unmade bed with dirty clothes on it), you can see we added a normal mirror and the custom built in Ryan made.  I wish I'd taken a picture of the inside for you, but you can use your imagination.  It's got 4 shelves and an outlet inside so that Ryan can plug his toothbrush in without having a cord hanging out.  He's a genius for coming up with that little modification!

Behind the hand towel you can see we added another outlet.  I liked it's placement because you can't see it most of the time, it just there for you when you need to plug in your hair dryer or flat iron.  In this picture you can also see the great window we've got in the bathroom.  We LOVE having some natural light in there.  It's a great little bonus that we didn't know we had.

I just love the artwork that I picked out for the room.

This one is actually my favorite print.  It's a bit hard to read.  It says "Gratitude turns what you have into enough".  I love that statement and it's a reminder for both of us just how far we've come to get to this point in our lives.

Just one more close up of the shower tile so you can see some of the details.  Each of the nooks is lined with Corian, as is the shower transition.  We chose to use grey grout for the subway tile to really draw attention to the contrast.  We waffled on this decision when we were working on it.  We could have gone with white like the original shower was done with, but we are so happy with the choice.  We think it goes perfectly with our statement accent tiles.

So...what do you think?  This was a long overdue post.  I'll be back later this week with our renovation of the gazebo.  It's a project filled week for us.  We're trying to get the last few projects done before Abby's first birthday.  Can you believe I've got a one year old on my hands?!?!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

1 Family x 12 (July)

After missing our June picture by a few days and complaining about how I always forget to grab the camera when others are around, we made up for it in July!!  A special thanks to Jamie for being the photographer for us.

These two pictures were too cute to pick just one, so you can pick your favorite for July.

I did however leave out the third family shot that involved me, in a two piece, that I probably should not have been wearing.  I'll save you all that scary picture and maybe (a very iffy "maybe") keep it filed on my computer.

*We got SO many comments on this pack for Abby.  People were so impressed by it.  I think a lot of people think that you're life ends when you have a baby.  That you can't do the things you've always loved, like hiking or camping.  We aim to buck the trend, and prove to all of our "no kid's yet" friends that it's time to get on the baby train!!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Camping (Round 1) 2013

This past weekend (yea, that one with the heat indexes in the 100's!), we went camping with one of our favorite groups of friends.  This year our destination was Backbone State Park in Iowa.  You might remember two years ago when we rented an RV and went up to the U.P.  Well, the same group was in when we started planning a trip for this year.  We added a few along the way.  So, a quick breakdown for you:

10 adults (Greg, Meg, Sarah, Dan, Chris, Brenna, Jamie, Zach, Ryan and me).
1 11 month old
1 dog (the other's went to the kennels)
5 cars
1 pop-up camper
3 tents
2 "mosquito free" tents - that in fact turned into fly and gnat catchers
10 coolers (5 with food, 5 with beer)
6 bikes
1 excel spreadsheet (to coordinate the food/supplies)
2 air mattresses
5 fans
3 fishing poles
2 fishing licenses
1 pocket chainsaw
2 large hunting knives
10 lbs of potatoes
36 eggs
5 lbs of bacon
2 containers of Italian beef (and the crock pot to cook it in)
1 toaster ("forgotten")
1 pack and play
3 power strips
4 extension cords
*lots of stuff that I'm forgetting...

Simply put, this was not a camping trip where we tried to simplify.  Comfort and convenience were the name of the game....while camping.  We'd decided early on that this was going to be a full on "car camping" trip.  Ryan and I are fully outfitted for backpacking...but adding in 8 other adults and a baby = time to add in some comforts.  Our list might sound extensive to most, and, if I'm honest, there was some pre-trip complaining about the amount of stuff we were bringing, but, in the end, everyone had a great time and we are already talking about scheduling a trip when it gets a little cooler!  Sounds like a success to me!

 Back to the trip.  You can see that Greg and Meg's air mattress wasn't the ideal fit for their smallish tent.  I heard Greg already saying that he needed to upgrade to the Sarah and Dan sized tent.    They camped in a nice 8 person tent (must like Ryan and I would have done, if we didn't have the camper).  Honestly, if you watched him try to crawl out in the morning, it looked like he was being birthed from the tent.  Quite hilarious!

I vowed to try and take some pictures of people that weren't all "look this way and smile" and I think I ended up with a few good ones.  After all was said and done I ended up with over 150 pictures from the trip.  I didn't want to bore you all to death so I tried to pick some of the best for you here.  I might do a second post later...we'll see.

This is my favorite "I'm being a creeper photographer" pictures!  I love how you can just tell the Dan loves his wifey!!

See, I even made it into a few pictures!!

Friday was hot.  Like really really hot.  Well, so was Thursday, but we knew that going into the trip so we all sort of took our time getting to the campsite and by the time we all got there, it was starting to cool down just a bit.  Friday though, that was another story!  I would guess that it was above 90 before 10 am.  We quickly made breakfast and a group of us headed down to the lake/beach area.  Chris and Brenna decided to go on a hike for lovers (with Rocky) so they missed out on the lake, but the rest of us enjoyed the only cool place we could find!!

Abby loved being in the water (as she always does), but more than that, she loved having 8 adults around to push her around in her floaty and toss her into the air.  After a few hours though it was clear that she needed a nap, so Jamie and I headed back to the sites to put her down, and hoped for a nap ourselves.  Sadly, it was just plain too hot to do anything but play cards.  The tents were hot because they contained the heat.  The camper was cool-ish but Abby was sleeping in there so we sat around hating the heat until I found a water spigot by our camper.  We both stuck our entire heads under it and soaked our hair....letting the cold water drip down our backs.  It was the only way to stay cool.  An hour or so later when the lovers returned from their hike, they had the great idea of wetting some rags to put around our necks and heads.  Thankfully that kept us cool until the heat finally broke later that evening.  The weather said the heat indexes were in the 100's for Thursday and Friday.  We'd tossed around the idea of going later in the weekend and avoiding the heat but I'm so glad we decided to stick it out.  We had a great time and after the first two hot days, the weather really did get more tolerable.  And!  Now we know we can survive just about the worst camping conditions, so it's only up hill from there!

Couldn't resist some baby love!

* I don't like this picture of myself...but Abby just had the perfect "selfie" face that I couldn't resist it.

In addition to the crazy amount of shit I listed above, we also had this contraption that Ryan invented.  It worked great for organizing and keeping the 'coons away from our stuff.  Oh, and....for cooling after use!  If you look really close in there, you'll see the family "deer leg".  If you don't know what I mean...its a long story!!  It involves a tradition going on 5 years now, along the lines of Flat Stanley, for the Murphy family.  That hoofs been all across the country, from NYC to Cali and back again.  It's been modified to include a beer opener, a be-dazzled hoof and a "I see whales" sticker.  Yep...we're weird!

If finally cooled off enough on Saturday that we could hike.   So we loaded up the group and hiked the Backbone trial, checked out the springs, the caves and the local ice cream shop!  Here's our group, minus Chris.  He was putting on his hiking boots and wool socks :O)   Gotta love Christopher!

This was actually my second time at Backbone.  We'd camped there back 20 or so years ago with my family.  If you've known me that long, you might remember that my parents used to organize a very similar camping trip each year that we called the "RNPCF conference".  It's all the letters of our last names, but you guessed it, there were 5 families just like we had this year.  As soon as we walked up to the caves I had an instant flash back to the last time we camped here.  I immediately made everyone stop and recreate a picture that I instantly remembered.  

Here's the old picture from my photo album.  If I remember right, there were 21 of us on this trip.  5 families and all their kids.  I 100% envision this group of people looking just like this in another 10 years!!!  You guys better get on that baby train here soon!!

Look familiar??  I couldn't resist!  I look back on those camping trips with such fond memories.  I can't wait to give Abby the same memories.  We have so much fun with this group of people that its like looking back on my parents 20 years ago.  I can just see them laughing late into the nights as us kids snickered in the tents pretending to be asleep.  I remember all the 'coons outside our tents (don't worry!  They're still there....we got 'cooned on our last night), I remember needing to pee in the middle of the night and waking up Nichole to go with me because it was dark.  I remember all the traditions like hole-in-ones for breakfast, tubing down the river, and sitting in plastic chairs in the river one trip when it was over 100 degrees just like it was for us.  I remember all of those things as clear as day...and I can't wait to share those same memories with all the folks in this picture!

Whose ready to start planning for 2014??!!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

4th of July

Man, I'm late getting this post together.  Actually, if I'm honest, I'd quite forgotten about this post until I went in to start some for this week!  My normal process is to download all the pictures from my camera and organize/edit them.  Then I load them into my blog in holding spots for the post.  Then, sometime later, I come back and do the writing.  It's a long process so splitting it up helps it to seem less daunting and more like something I'd want to do for a few minutes here or there.

Anyways, here are our pictures from the 4th of July weekend.  Both Ryan and I had to work on Friday so we spent the actual 4th at home enjoying our pool and getting a few things done around the house before Jamie and Zach came over and the drinking started full force!

Don't you just love this cute little swim cap?  I can't get enough of it.  Thanks Grandma!

Despite the look on her face here, she actually loves swimming and the pool.  Last week, when I took these pictures the pool was still a bit chilly.  It was nice and warm on the first 6 inches (the only part Abby ever feels) and then it got pretty cold from there on down.  This past week of beautiful warm weather had warmed it right up though!  This weekend we swam for a good hour and it was the prefect temp.  It should almost be like a hot tub come Abby's birthday party!  Pray for good weather because we are having a pool party.

The boys enjoyed playing floating beer pong.  It's much harder than normal pong because you have to account for the waves and the wind....hence why they are so close together :O)  Well, and because they stink at it!  Thanks Chris for the awesome present.

So Saturday morning we packed up the car, and the dogs, and the baby, and headed to the KL for the rest of the holiday weekend.  The rest of Ryan's family had been out there for most of the week but we were glad we got to take part in a day or two of it.  Abby loved Gina and Gina loved Abby!  You can babysit ANYTIME lady!!  

I had high hopes of getting a few great pictures of the family...but that went down hill quick after this great shot.  So, enjoy this one great shot of the cousins.

And with that, I wish you all a very late Happy Fourth of July!!!

Monday, July 8, 2013

1 Family x 12 (June-ish)

Ya know, it's actually quite difficult to take one simple family photo each month!!  When you first start out, you think, how hard can it be!  But, it's more difficult thank you'd imagine for a few reasons.  First, the very essence of "family photo" means that the whole family needs to be IN the picture.  So, we need someone else to take the picture for us.  The second part is just remembering to take the picture.  If I'm being honest, we actually took this picture this past weekend (in July), hence the June-ish title.  When we started June I thought I had plenty of opportunities to take a family photo.  We had Father's Day, then Mom's retirement party and visiting New York city!  With all those big things you'd think I'd have one photo of the 3 of us together, but alas, nope.

I think this one was worth the wait!  I feel like you sort of get a quick look at what Abby will look like when she gets older in this picture.  She's growing up so fast.  11 months this week.  Sheesh, that went fast.