Sunday, December 26, 2010

Getting Ready for Christmas...

Christmas came in a hurry it sems and with all the craziness of the new house & trying to get things finished up & settled, there was A LOTof pre-Christmas things we do that just didn't get done this year... but we did manage to squeeze in a little holiday fun here & there.

Melanie & I hit the "Sugarplum Tea" that The Minnesota Conservatory of Arts puts on prior to their Nutcracker performance.  We went with our new friends from preschool, Audrey & her mom Amy. We were certainly in the land of goodies!  The girls had lots of tasty treats to try!  Then a couple weeks later, Brandon, Melanie, Gram & I attended one of the performances of the Nutcracker.  Melanie thought it was neat to see all the dancers that we had seen at the tea!

Although we normally get our tree up Thanksgiving weekend, we were finally able to get our tree & put it up after our fireplace/living room was completed in early December.   We found a nice little tree lot in town & picked the perfect tree!  It came from a tree farm in St. Charles, MN... no too far away from us! 
We had fun decorating our tree & getting a few snowmen out!  That helped make it feel more like December!

The Holiday Train made its annual stop in Winona, so we headed to the depot to see it. We got there just as it was pulling in & stayed for the music & some hot chocolate & cookies!

Melanie's preschool had a nice holiay program the kids put on.  They sang a lot of great songs & even did a little play the night Jesus was born!  They were cute! 

Uncle Chris' visit at Christmas time is something we all look forward to each year.  He & his folks popped over for dinner one evening & we ended up with a surprise visit from another special someone...
...SANTA!!!  We weren't sure he was going to know where we were this year after moving but thankfully he found us!

Finally, we had one last celebration to tackle before Christmas...
... Brandon's 7th birthday!  Poor guy still had to get up early for school but that evening we went out for dinner then back home for presents! 

Hard to believe our little guy is already a big 7-yr old!  It is kind of cool that because of when his birthday falls, Uncle Chris has been around for all of them!

They both bean bags for their birthdays (a belated one for Melanie) from Aunt Dina for their new rooms!  They love them! 

Next stop... CHRISTMAS!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


We will most certainly be having a white Christmas!  This past weekend's blizzard dumped 18+ inches of snow all around the region!

Our driveway all but disappeared!

The blowing snow left some pretty large drifts as well as a pile of snow on our lower roof!  So Mike won himself a trip out on the roof to clear off snow & dig out our roof vents!

The back of the house had about 2 feet or so... but the south end of the house had about 4-5 ft of drifted snow accumulated!  All in all, Mike spent about 2 hours clearing snow off the roof.  After that we got to dig out our window wells which were filled full!

Ed braved the cold temps (single digits) to start the plowing.  Thankfully the wind was dying, so with the sun shining it wasn't as bad as it could have been.  There was certainly a lot of snow to move & his tractor does a great job!  He had our road & drives cleared before the township road from the main road was cleared by the plows!

One of our snow piles out the living room window from clearing the roof snow!
After the storm, the temperature tanked... the other morning we saw -25 when I got up to take Brandon to the bus stop & daytime temps barlely above 0.  Now we need some temps in the 20s so we can get out & play in the snow!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Slowly getting settled!

Well, it is official... we are in the new house as of Thanksgiving weekend.  There have been some things to wrap up over the past few weeks, so in some ways we were "roughing it" a bit... but we're in!

Friday night after Thanksgiving was our first official night.  We got the kids rooms somewhat set up & decided that we'd be the first guests in the guestroom! (until we manage to get our room set up & the downstairs wrapped up)

We had a movie night & the kids liked watching cartoons in there the next morning too!

Brandon loves his new room... his bunk beds are vintage Superman & Batman.  He likes them both so much he couldn't decide which he wanted on his top bunk (where he normally sleeps) so now he alternates nights between top & bottom bunk so he can sleep on both sets of sheets!

To say Melanie loves her pink room would be an understatement... it's PINKALICIOUS!  She couldn't be more thrilled & squealed the first time she saw it!  Equally as thrilling has been unpacking toys that have been in storage for many months... it is almost like Christmas! (unfortunately not enough like it that it would substitute for Christmas this year... believe me, I tried to get that one approved but was vetoed!)

Downstairs we still have some things with all the cabinets that need to be wrapped up as well as getting counters / center island in the kitchen.  So for the time being, we haven't had a kitchen to use but at least have a utility sink in the garage to rinse cereal bowls!  The other big thing that needed to be finished was our fireplace surround & built-ins.  Last week, those were both completed & we couldn't be more thrilled!  This week the flooring crew was back to complete the carpeting in the living room & stairs, which makes our flooring 100% complete now... YEAH!!! 
With a finsihed living room, we were able to finally move our new living room furniture in & have 1 room that is completed! 

Little by little it is coming together... next week we should have a completed kitchen & even a few Christmas decorations to show!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Getting close...

Despite my lack of house updates, we are getting close!  The exterior work was wrapped up a few weeks ago.  Now we are in the last leg of final details now that the painting is done, all the doors & trim work is done & the majority of the flooring is in.  We now have full house heat, lights & electricity, water (to toilets & showers... sinks aren't in yet).... we are getting close!!!

Stairs after drywall...

& then after paint & stair parts/trim...

Kitchen in progress... waiting for island, counters & hardware to be added

Master bath
Right now we are waiting on the counters/vanity tops (delayed from manufacturer due to holiday) so that those areas can be finished up.  The remainder of the carpeting for living room & stairs is on hold until the fireplace surround is finished, which should be next week as well.  That isn't stopping us from getting moved in!  At the beginning of the month, we got all our stuff moved out of storage & into the basement.
Moving boxes from storage

 Then just this past week, Mike & his dad filled the garage with all our furniture from the barn.  So now we can get the rooms that are ready slowly moved & set up... 
Mike's office was first... he has been working from his new office since Monday!!!
Last night we started getting beds set up in the kids' rooms... & tonight we hope to spend our first night in the house!  We'll be "roughing it" a bit until the counters/sinks are in & the living room is wrapped up, but it will be great to be in regardless!!  I'm most excited about cooking in my new kitchen as soon as it is up & running in about 1 week!! In the meantime, I'll be continuing wiping down walls & wood work, filling nail holes & getting rooms set up!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hello Kitty!

Grandma's cat Buttons died 2 years ago.  Although she was a "farm" cat & only came into the mudroom, she had a good life & our kids enjoyed getting to see her.   
Melanie & Buttons Oct. 2007
Grandma has talked about getting another cat but said she'd wait until we were living down here & could help take care of it if they were out of town.  Then last fall, a stray came on the scene who won Grandma's heart.  He was a little "scuffy" looking, so he became known to us as Scuffy.
He is sweet & friendly & we have all enjoyed having Scuffy around.  He occasionally goes away for a day or two, but so far he has always come back... & after some consistent food, deworming & a little loving, he is less "scuffy" than when he first came on the scene.

As our move to the farm became more of a reality, the kids were eager to remind us all that Grandma was going to get a cat.  Somewhere in there... CAT became CATS & each kid would get to help Grandma pick one.  They talked about it all summer & as soon as we moved down here, they couldn't wait for Grandma & Grandpa to get back from their trip because "Grandma says we're getting the cats when they get back."  In their mind, they literally thought the day they got back, we'd go out & get them!  Grandpa kept his eye on the ads in the paper for kittens & eventually we made a trip to the humane society to check out their group of kitties as well as stopping at one house to see some kittens advertised.  It was a tough decision... but eventually the choice was made & the kitties were picked!  While we waited out the humane society's red tape, the kids eagerly made up their list of names.  Finally we got to bring the kitties home...
Pearly May
 (named by the humane society & after mulling over her extensive list of names, Melanie kept it)

(named after Wicket the Ewok in Return of the Jedi)
Pearly May LOVES being outside & exploring Grandma's gardens.  She is super friendly & loves attention.

Wicket was a little more skittish at first, but still friendly & lovable... it just needed to be on his terms.  He has an instant purr that the kids all his little motor.  He's getting braver about exploring outside.  His favorite game is to dart out of the mudroom door & make a run for it in the house.  Most of the time he runs to the same spot, stops & lets you pick him right up... other times he darts around as if to extend the game longer.

 Pearly May likes to be around people, so often she'll follow us outside to different spots.  One day she followed the kids up to the new house & followed them right upstairs!

Both cats get along with Scuffy & he seems to be fine with the new additions to the farm!  We have had a lot of fun having the cats around... it will certainly be different when we are in our house as the kids enjoy getting to say good morning & good night to them... & NO, we won't be getting any of our own!

Wicket's favorite nap spot... not sure how much longer he'll fit!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I don't remember being as jazzed up about Hallo- ween when I was a kid but our kids were counting down the days until the big event!!  They were about as excited as they get for Christmas!

In the midst of all our painting & house stuff, Halloween was more of an annoyance than anything... but thankfully the Grandparents were there to help with the fun since we were up to our eyeballs in paint as well as Halloween fun they had at school!

The kids & Mike did hit the pumpkin patch a few weeks ago to pick pumpkins & Grandpa has carved a pumpkin ever since they were babies.  They were very excited to design their own faces & Grandpa did a GREAT job of bringing those to life!
Grandpa with "Jango Fett" & "Ariel"..  the pumpkins!

There were all sorts of little parties & celebrations around the area & Grandma & Grandpa took them to a couple & even arranged her own little Halloween party for them with games & prizes... it was Halloween fun indeed!

Pin the nose on the Jack-o-Lantern (with prizes)
Then on Halloween afternoon, we hung up our painting stuff, tried to wipe the paint off ourselves & hooked up with the neighbors & their friends for some Halloween fun of our own.  First we hit a "Trunk or Treat" event at a local church...

... where even ran into one of Melanie's preschool friends. She was thrilled!

Then we headed back to a friend's house for a quick supper, some playtime & then some trick-or-treating around their neighborhood!  It was a mild Halloween, for Minnesota that is, but layers were still needed!  It was a fun Halloween!!