Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sweet Dreams

As part of our extended new house celebration we went to a local churrascaria (Brazilian steakhouse) with the DeCostanzas to reflect on this wild process while gorging ourselves on delicious food. We had a blast.

After dancing to the music, baby chatting with an infant at a nearby table and headbutting the edge of our table, my beautiful goddaughter fell asleep in my lap. Lina—what a cutie!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Our cup overfloweth...

I feel as though we are awash in good news these first 30 or so days of the new year...

In addition to our new home, we will be welcoming new neighbors soon and very soon—the Carters are moving to Chicago! Yes, Jacque and Clyde (and Mac when she's not at Georgetown), will be making the Windy City their home. Clyde got a fantastic promotion with Sara Lee—the reason for the move—and we couldn't be happier to have them relocating to our neck of the woods.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

House Projects

So, as many of you know, even though we now have the keys, we won't be moving into our new house right away. There are several projects that need to be completed before we can fully settle in.

PROJECT #1: Heating & Electrical
This project starts Monday. Our house, while in great condition, is an older place. One of the most obvious signs? It still has space heaters on the second floor. Take a look at these monstrosities...

The first floor has radiant heat,which is fine, but we figured that since we're taking out the space heaters we should go ahead and update the heating system throughout the building. So, we need to install heating and air. In order to do that, however, we need to update the electrical in the building. Many of the outlets are still two-pronged (a no-no in the city of Chicago) and the current system runs at about 60 amps when, as a 2-flat, we should be at 200 amps.

Once that's done, we'll get a land line, fax and internet set up for my home office and I'll start commuting to the house while they work on...

PROJECT #2: The Bathrooms
If the bathrooms were just outdated, I think we'd manage, but it's more than that. The previous owners had wood framed windows next to the bathtub and, in order to avoid warping the wood, never had showers installed. Yes: They only took baths! Crazy, and a little sad.

On top of that, as you can see below, the lighting leaves much to be desired, the sink looks ancient and the flooring is a sick kind of linoleum that must be addressed.

Once at least one of the bathrooms is ready to go, we'll do a partial move-in while they finish the final project...

PROJECT #3: The Upstairs Kitchen
Behold, our unit's kitchen as it currently stands:

It has several good features—a huge pantry and generally great space overall—but I don't think I need to explain why this is in desperate need of updating. With as much time as we spend cooking and entertaining, this just won't do. The crazy appliances and total lack of cabinets and counter tops need to be fixed. Tom, our contractor, sent a great mock-up of our would-be kitchen with cabinets and counter tops all around! They're also going to pull up the weird tile floor and restore the hardwood underneath—yeah!

Our contractor is estimating that all this work will be done by beginning to mid-March. Keep that in mind because it will be the end of March when we will again be accepting visitors to our fair city and, even more importantly, hosting a housewarming party to knock your socks off.

Happy Birthday, Lois!

Last Sunday, Heath and I traveled down to Ottawa, IL with friends to attend a surprise birthday party for Lois, a friend's mom who is now a friend.

As you can see, Lois looks great for her age — I don't think I would have guessed that she was celebrating her 60th.
[this photo courtesy of lisa c's camera]

She was definitely surprised and, I think, quite touched to have so many people show up in celebration of her. She's a wonderful woman and it was a real treat for us to be there with her.
[you know she's cool if she let's heath sit in her lap]

Friday, January 22, 2010

It's Official

4523 S. Francisco is our new home!

[more pictures and more details to come]

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ducks vs. Blackhawks

This has turned out to be the Christmas that keeps on giving. Even though the holiday already seems like ages ago, on Sunday Heath and I got to officially "open" his gift from Ash and Courtney: Tickets to see the Anaheim Ducks play the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks have been doing quite well this year—evidenced by the swell of fans since the last game we saw a year or so ago. We didn't enter the United Center with high hopes for a Duck victory.

Much to the dismay of the fans in close proximity to my very vocal, loud Ducks fan of a husband, the Ducks won, 3 to 1.

New Year's / Photo Purge

In some ways, it feels a bit silly to be posting these photos now that the new year is actually 15 days in. However, they were on the camera and the posts about our time with the Carters over the holidays would not be complete without them.

We rang in the new year watching the Seven-Up series (fascinating! click here for more details), with frequent pauses to ooh and aah over treasures Heath found in the various trunks he's still keeping at his parents' place. Behold:

We also took one long pause at about 10 to midnight, to watch Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest wish us a happy new year.

A new year's celebration is nothing without treats, and Mackensey didn't disappoint. She baked some of the most delicious chocolate chip cookies we've ever eaten. Heath, who is the human incarnation of Cookie Monster, was a big fan.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Heath is not the New Year's Resolution type.

I'm not obsessed with the idea of making them. Lord knows I'm not obsessed with keeping them—I only kept 1 of my 3 from last year, for example. I do, however, appreciate the built-in opportunity for self reflection and goal setting. Yes, this should be an ongoing thing, but nothing serves as a better reminder than Ryan Seacrest, Dick Clark and a big Swarovski-crystal studded ball.

After ringing in the new year with the Carters, I thought about what my resolutions for 2010 would be. There is, of course, the "I'd like to lose 15 pounds or so" that has been resolved for the last few years. I'd like to think that when I start working from home in February (separate blog post to come on that soon!), I can use my would-be commute time to be more regular at the gym.

I'd also like to maintain the one resolution I kept from 2009: To add more creativity into my weekly schedule. The sewing machine was instrumental in making this happen last year and I can't wait to liberate my sewing paraphernalia from our storage locker soon and very soon. Plus, my dad and aunt have funded a wonderful new sewing machine and gift card to Joann Fabric — I'm all set!

My new resolution is, in some ways, a late Christmas present to all my wonderful friends who patiently suffer through my phone-delinquent, prodigal friend behavior. I am terrible about calling people and phone tag is a regular game we all play. Up to this point I've tried to use my commute time to catch up with friends, but as my commute will soon be a distant memory, I have to get creative. My idea? I'm going to give the friends I have the hardest time catching viewing access to the Carter Google calendar. They'll be able to see what I have going on and then just e-mail or text me with the time that works best for them to talk every couple weeks. That way, I can get them on the schedule and hopefully avoid the phone tag. This may not be the best way to get the job done, but the fact that I've only been able to reach one of them this week to even share this idea underscores the fact that some sort of change is necessary...

Whether you're resolved to anything or not, here's to a happy, healthy new year!