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365/52 week 8

is it thursday again already?? have i mentioned yet how quickly this year is going?!

there's something pretty fun and new going on in my life, but i'll go into detail next week. hint, though:

it involves andie smith designs. hmm ...

interesting ... ;o)


onto the pix from the past seven days:


pokemon has taken over both my children. it's both a blessing and a curse.



on saturday, we took henry and 10 of his noisiest craziest goofiest closest friends to see "percy jackson and the olympians." not having read the book, marc and i were both entertained by it. having read the book series several times, henry declared to movie to be "like harry potter 6 all over again" because so much was left out or changed. my son, the critic. cracks me up.


you already know the scoop about henry's snowboarding lesson. here's another glimpse.



as we feared, some leakage started to occur from all of our ice dams. so, up marc went on the roof with a shovel and stockings filled with rock salt. it's helped so far, but the dams are still fierce and the re-freeze this week is only temporary.


evidence of little miss artsy craftsy.



while going through an old box the other day, i found our engagement photo from 1996. we were 22. what were our parents thinking, letting us get married at 22?!


the apple didn't fall far from the tree. ahem.


. . . . .

i'm off to indiana next week to give my sister that baby shower and snuggle up my little wyatt. yay!!!! i'll try to blog from there, but it could be just too impossible to tear myself away from his squishy goodness. oh, the pix i'll have when i return! and oh, the stories i'm sure there will be to tell of marc's first seven-day stretch at home alone with the kids.

till then, cheers!

the day he took to the slopes

you may remember from the last post, henry got snowboarding lessons for his birthday. he's been asking to learn for two years, and we decided the time was right.

yesterday was his first three-hour session - he has two more to go - and to say that he loved it would be an understatement.

IMG_2799 IMG_2812

we got to buck hill 45 minutes ahead of the lesson so he could get the right size boots, bindings, board, and be ready to go. unfortunately, we didn't have the right kind of helmet for him, so he had to slap his bike helmet over his hat. didn't quite fit, but oh well ... better than nothing, right? it seemed silly to buy a helmet if we didn't know how he would do and whether he would like snowboarding.

(now he's planning to use his birthday money to buy a proper helmet and ski goggles. to part with his own money is high praise.)

the group spent the first hour on a relatively flat section, getting the feel of sliding, turning, stopping. just getting comfortable on the board.

then they headed in for a snack, brief rest, and then to head up the "magic carpet" (moving sidewalk) to an intermediate hill to keep working on those skills and see how the kids could handle a longer run.

henry? he handled it just fine, thankyouverymuch.

(he chooses to drop instead of turn, so that's the skill he needs to focus on next week, i guess.)

it was so great to watch him. he really took to it, his form looked great, and he seemed so natural and relaxed up there. marc and harper joined me at lunchtime, and we ate in the chalet and then continued to watch henry's progress from the balcony. the weather was so nice and the sun was warm, and we had a lovely time. i didn't even need a hat, which, i understand for non-minnesotans would mean a 50 degree day, but for us the mid-30s feel downright balmy right now!

at the end of the lessons, i signed henry out from the instructor, and henry asked me if he could ride the lift up to a higher spot and board down. i was amazed at his confidence, and asked the instructor if he could do that and was ready for it. answer? a shrug and, "sure. why not."

um, cuz this is my firstborn?! but, okay. i've got to trust him and let him go at some point.

so off he went.

he did awesome on both runs and had so, so much fun. he was really proud of himself.

and in typical henry fashion, snowboarding was all he could talk about for the rest of the night.

which, for him, is the highest form of praise for anything.

can't wait for next week!

10 years + 365 week 7

the most important thing about today, february 18, 2010, is that my eldest, my boy, my geeky little bugger, turns 10.



i have to repeat it to myself because, i mean, 10. that seems so ... old.

10 years ago we'd survived the anticlimactic event that wasn't, y2k. we got through a cold, snowy january. i was so, so pregnant and uncomfortable, and fighting snow and ice and bed rest and public transportation.

and then one night in the middle of february, i was watching ER and bam ... my water broke. i thought i had nearly two weeks ... baby skinner wasn't due until leap day (how cool would THAT have been?!). but nope. 21 hours later, this 9 lb person came kicking and screaming into the world.

and he's been a joy and a challenge and a huge source of pride and love and humor and sweetness ever since.

to celebrate him, i made his favorite breakfast - blueberry pancakes and sausage - before school. then we told him that if he got completely ready to go and had time to spare, he could open the cards and gifts that had arrived for him so far.

i never saw a kid brush his teeth and pack his backpack so quickly.

we had him open the present from his sister first ...


guinness world records for gaming. perfect. two of his favorite things.



as is his sister. he loves the heck outta her.

then he opened his gifts from grandma and grandpa roush ...


cool. the cool factor even outweighed the "clothes"  factor.



even cooler ... super mario chess set. love.

then it was time for the gift from mom and dad.


a magazine of snowboarding photography? um ... okay ...



wait ... what's this? a brochure?



buck hill? cool! i've been asking to try snowboarding for two years!



wait ... lessons?? suh-weeeett!!



and with that, he trotted off to school. bearing fritos to pass out for snacks.


love this kid. he's all HIM, all the time.

happy birthday, pork chop.

other goings on today ... the past seven days of photo-a-day:


crafty valentine project during the preschool party.



kitty in a reusable shopping bag. he's so green.



happy valentine's day.



presidents' day play dates, complete with stackerz stickerz on the nosez.



ever see fog freeze to trees? it's an amazing thing.



those wrinkles are still there. thanks, olay.



and, this.



365/52 week 6

(at some point i'm going to lose count and really blow this 365 thing ...)

so, hi.

why do i keep thinking it's friday? every time i do, then remember it's only thursday, i get a little grumpy.

up the pix go, then i'm off with my favorite girl to return some jeans i bought for harper that didn't fit and grab some lunch. and perhaps, heaven help me, run to gymboree to blow the $5 reward they so nicely emailed me the other day, along with the info that hey! our new spring line is in!

how can i say no to this?:

especially when the first thing i ever bought for harper, before she was even born, was this little outfit at gymboree:

it's kismet. and also, look at my little hipster, perfecting that annoying little pucker face that all the "trendy" people do in photos now. seriously. i hate that pucker face. it was cute five years ago on a one-month-old, but on a 20-something who's too full of him/herself? ugh. no.

anyway, i promised a pix update:

our little tycoon. he swept the floor with us during star wars monopoly. see all those red space ports? his. stinker. (though, that all happened after he won a major free parking. before that, his turns were numbered.)

icicles at night.

hippity hop. a bunny trail.

see that icicle in the middle? it goes all. the. way. down.

kitty loves the sunshine.

this winter is challenging the postal service's assertion that they will deliver no matter what.


hanging out before the school day starts.

alrighty. lunch.

later, gators.


ice dam, that is. actually, dams. plural.


this is not an unusual phenomenon in minnesota, but we've had such un-minnesotan winters the past few years that they just haven't occurred.

it happened once to us, at the old house. we had a bunch of snow and it just never melted. and where there was a little heat loss through the roof, the snow would melt and trickle down toward the gutter line, and then re-freeze there. then it would back up and find little openings, and then when the thaw came, there were streams of dirty water running into our dining room through the cottage windows above the built-in hutch. it was horrifying.

well, deja vu.

the front of our house, from the entry to the bedrooms, is covered with icicles. big, long, nasty ones. and the back of the house, from henry's room to the corner by the sun porch, then on the other side of the sun porch to the garage. there are even icicles coming through the vent in the fascia.

that can't be good.

yesterday i was outside shoveling and saw our old neighbor at his house, scraping at the roof. there was another truck with some sort of generator running and a hose across the yard.

sean came walking over and i asked him what was up. he said the renters in his house called because there was water running in his kitchen through the cupboards. he'd hired a guy to come clean off the roof and get rid of the ice dams before they caused any more trouble. so far, the guy had racked up a $600 bill.

and, apparently, when he met my neighbor, he mentioned that while his ice dams are bad, his neighbor's (ie our house) are worse.

um, no. no no no. does the universe not know we're trying to SAVE money right now???

so sean and i chatted. he went back to scraping and i went back to shoveling. and half an hour later, the doorbell rang and it was the roof cleaner, dropping off his business card.

awesome. but, i guess, necessary. better to spend the money and take care of it now versus gamble and have potentially a far greater disaster when the sun comes out.

on one hand, i'm loving that this is a real winter. loving it. we missed the major snow at christmas ... nearly 2' of the stuff, which would have been amazing to see. but it's been so cold since then that the snow - and the nearly foot of it from before the holidays - has just not melted. add to that the few inches here and there, and then the 9+" we got over the past two days, and we have quite the little pile-up going on. the kids have had so much fun playing in it, i've loved looking at it. however ...

it always seems to snow when marc is traveling. which, really, the odds fall that way anyway given how much he's gone. shoveling has never been a big deal to me; i actually kind of like it. but this year, there is so much of it that the piles on the side of the driveway are about as tall as i am. to lift and throw a shovel full of snow, basically, over my head is getting old. especially the heavy, icy stuff at the end of the driveway where the snow plow pushes all the stuff from the street. today i went out to tackle the fresh 4" and gave up at the curb. i just couldn't lift it up that high.

(marc will be home early afternoon tomorrow, too, so why deprive him of the shoveling fun? i'm a good sharer.)


i was crouching down, but you can see how high the pile is behind me.



it's piled up nicely on the deck, too.


speaking of the deck, someone (ahem ... not mentioning any names ...) didn't catch my memo that the deck furniture needed to be moved under the deck before it snowed.

whatever. at this point, i can't even worry about that anymore.

march is a month away, right?


don't mind me; i'm just thinking out loud.

where do the weeks GO?! it's february!! holy cats.


now that we're officially entering the one-year-or-so countdown to moving (the goal is to put our house on the market this time next year), it's time to make some decisions. marc and i have been having a lot of talks about the options, and given the fact that the lot has dropped significantly in price, and one of the house plans we've been considering also came in about 20k under previous bid ... and that was WITH changes we asked to be made, marc's language when we have these discussions has gone from detachment to saying "when" and talking in concrete terms.

that's progress, people!

on saturday, marc and i again walked through builder A's house ... the rep called to invite us to walk through the plan we're considering because it is being built for the spring parade of homes. now that we have a firmer grasp of the two plans we like on paper and have room dimensions of both for comparison, we thought it would be wise to see it in 3D again and make mental notes about the space in regards to the plan from builder B, which is technically the one we're leaning toward pursuing.

first: side by side of plans from builder A and builder B ...

now, technically, builder B's plan is 300 square feet bigger that builder A's, but those square feet are primarily in the added room on the main floor that would be my studio, and secondarily in closing off the two-story foyer to create a homework/hangout room on the second floor, as well as eversoslightly larger bedrooms.

however, that room on the main floor is what's selling this house to us.

with builder A, the dining room would become my studio (thinking optimistically about my future career path here) and we would have to finish part of the basement to accommodate marc's office. with builder B, i'd have a studio with it's own entrance and bathroom ... no one would actually need to come into the house. because of that extended area of the studio and bathroom, it also increases storage for the mudroom and kitchen. also big factors. the bulk of our life is spent coming in and out of doors, preparing meals, and being together. i want the square footage to be in making all of that comfortable and usable and efficient. builder B just does that without any extra expense.

and that's that main thing that pushes B to the top: money. with builder A, the basic plan is already slightly ahead of builder B's in price. add to that needing to finish part of the basement, and suddenly we're having to make decisions on design standards vs choices. and when we initially went through builder A's house, there was a great storage room added off the mudroom ... to the tune of 10 grand. so, no. i think the writing is on the wall for builder A, even without us liking B's plan better.

so why am i still pro/con listing?

these are nice houses. nice.

with everything going on in the world, that seems extravagant. i feel guilty. i've never had anything so nice, and i never anticipated having anything so nice. it never occurred to me that i could possibly one day put everything i want in a house and make it perfect. and regardless of which plan we go with (if we do indeed do this), it will be expensive. that makes me gag a little.

that being said, it will be the house we are in until we shovel off to the nursing home, barring any unexpected moves from marc's career. once we are in this house, and it is built to our specs, we won't have to worry about or save for house stuff ever again, pretty much. we can put all of our energies into savings for college, harper's wedding someday, retirement, life. it will be one major thing off our plate.

but ... i feel like we should be able to make do with less. (even though right now we are in 2200 sq ft and walking all over each other, and our house has zero storage.) why do we need to add another house to the market? (because if we don't, someone else will anyway.) couldn't we just buy something cheaper and then remodel? (and add waste to the system? not to mention, the cost of remodeling will end up making the house equal in cost to just building in the first place. and also, because we'd have to choose from what is on the market when our house sells, and who knows what neighborhood that might be. this lot is amazing and the neighborhood is perfect ... just what we envision when we think of an amazing place to raise a family.) maybe we should just sell everything and join the peace corp and raise our children to be children of the world and go off to do humanitarian work? (uh, do i really think marc would do that? right.)

i guess it boils down to three things: meeting with the bank on friday, selling our house, and getting over feeling guilty. marc works hard. we do everything as right as we can. we're practical. we don't splurge. we're not giving up anything by doing this. we'll have at least 10% by the time we close. i'm getting my life back, and the ability to start contributing financially, now that the kids are older.

the pros are there, now we just need to jump.