Sunday, February 5, 2012

2011 recap

The year 2011.
Celebrated my first year of marriage with my wonderful husband.
Built a pond on our property.
Husband and I both took on new roles at work.
Started Clayton into his senior year of high school.
Bought a boat.
Bought another boat.
Sold the first boat.
Lost my engagement ring.  (Sunk it in Kentucky Lake)
Celebrated the legal union of one of my uncle's and his partner.
Ran a 4 mile race.  Longest distance I had done yet.
Lost a very special piece of our family.  Rest peacefully Austin Nau.
Cheered Clayton and friend on while they ran the Men's Health Urbanathalon.
Tried to grow our family in the traditional sense. 
Had surgery to aid in above.
Initiated fertility treatment.
Braved the failure of said treatment.
Revisted our options...again.
Decided to begin the licensing process for foster parenting.
And so the story begins...

Friday, February 3, 2012

A new Master bath, for the Master (me)

Sidenote:  Before I let a whole year pass before posting, better get to typing!....

Last Fall (2011) we decided it was high time to gut the Master Bath.  Anyone that has been to our house knows that the bathrooms were definitely next in line for overhauls.

The before pictures are horrific.  Seriously I think I saw our bathrooms in the last Saw movie...  Yikes!
Behold, the before...

Gross!  Those lights look like Viking weapons!


So now that you see just how necessary a full gut was you can understand why we took it down to the studs.  The tile came up, the shower stall came out.  The wall of mirrors= gone.  Nasty sink and vanity... Bye Bye!  Creepy warrior lights...See ya!

I wanted this room to be crisp and bright.  There are no windows in this room... yet.  (I have a future vision of either a window or a sky light in here)  I wanted everything to be easy to maintain and clean.  And in true Becky fashion it all got done on a dime.  Every step of the way was cost effective without settling for something I didn't really love.
Initially I had planned to put pebble tile as the shower floor, but when I went to the home improvement store to buy the shower pan (over $500, not including the tile and other miscellaneous materials) I re-thought that plan.  Instead I spent $120 on a fiberglass shower pan, and let go of my pebble tile dreams.
The tile that I used through out  ranged from $1.08 per tile to $1.28 per tile.  About as cheap as it gets!
I got the sink for $30 on Craigslist.  The mirror was a thrift store find for $11.
Ready to see it??!!
Door still needs a coat of white paint
 Once the room was down to the studs, hubs replaced all the plumbing.  It was all copper pipe and some had started to rot out.  It made sense to replace it now before we closed the walls again.
My tile handy work.  Yeah that's right I did all the tiling myself!
 Once plumbing was done we were ready to tile.  I stopped at Menard's to buy a tile saw that we had seen advertised.  It's appeal was that it could be used to cut tile, wood, metal, etc by just easily switching out blades.  Got it home and got it set up.  Jeff mixed the mortar and I grabbed a box of tile to get set up for cutting.  Jeff came out to the garage and started to cut.  Never got any further.  It would have taken us 8 days to do the cuts that we were going to need to do.  Back to the store we went.  We rented their wet tile saw and got home with it around 8:30 pm.  At 2 am we finished tiling the shower walls.
 The next day I tiled the floor in about an hour.  Floors are so much easier to tile than walls!
 Grout was laid the next day, followed by setting the bead board, afixing shelves, caulking, hooking up the sink, hanging the new door, setting the new toilet, putting in new bath fan, new light, new switch plate, towel hooks and hanging some decor.
 Whew!  Sweet success!
That's our crisp, clean master bathroom.  We are in love with it. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Holy BMI, Batman!

My husband did me the honor of scheduling a VO2/ CO2 Fitness Test, aka VO2 Max Test.  It's a fitness test that tells you lots about how your body performs including, Calories burned at rest, ideal heart rate for burning fat, ideal heart rate for building endurance, BMI, and bone density. 
I went in for this test Friday afternoon.  I was excited but insanely nervous.  He had his Tuesday and had given me the low down. 
To begin you get a heart rate monitor strapped to your chest and you have seat.  Then they stick a tube in your mouth and you breath into said tube for about 12 minutes.  Teeth clenching around this tube, lips pursed, trying not to drool all over yourself... really enjoyable.  This test tells you how many calories you burn doing nothing all day.  Mine read about 1700.  If I were to sit in a chair 24 hours a day and breath I would burn 1700 calories/ day. 
Test #2-  Oh yes, this is where the fun begins...  Now you are strapped into this awful face mask. 
photo coutresy of VO2 Max Testing website
With the mask on a tube feedng into the machine you get to start playing on the treadmill!  Starting out at a brisk walk for 1 minute and each minute picking up speed up to the 5 minute mark.  At the 5 minutes they start raising the incline.  Incline raises each minute for 5 minutes and then you keep trucking at 12.0 incline until you have satisfactorily maxed your heart rate (for me that was at 188).  At this point my legs felt like jello.  I was seriously unsure if I would be able to dismount the treadmill without falling off and taking the machine (that I was still hooked up to) out in the process.  Mask off finally, head spinning, legs wobbling... I was SO embarrassed!  I probably looked like a fool to this body builder doctor that is administering this test.  (This doctor by the way started off the test estimating that I need to lose 30 or more pounds.  Great doc!  Really feeling good about myself!!  Hey let's watch me approach death on your treadmill for fun!)  Anyway, the point of this test was to determine your maximum oxygen intake.  This told me what my target heart rate should be when I am trying to burn fat (120) or trying to build endurance (wasn't paying attention any longer, just focused on staying upright). 
Test #3- This was more my style.  Lay down for a body scan.  For about 10 minutes I layed there while this scanner was going head to toe determining my body composition; BMI, bone density, etc.  Allow me to point out this was ample time to question myself as to why that treadmill just owned me.  Also, plenty of time to prepare myself for what hilarity was about to come in the form of a BMI number.  "Well, if I can't even hoof up a hill I can only imagine that my BMI must be 137 or something equally absurd."  The output from the scan was a packet of paper that included the most unflattering image of you laying on the scanner, your BMI, % of fat, and the breakdown across different limbs, etc. 
While all of this is wildly informative I can tell you that I got a little girly over the whole thing.  My eyes got a little wet while I was telling the husband about the monstrosity that he married.  Self pity aside, I've moved on to my motivated self and hit the gym Saturday with a Kinect workout on Sunday. 
I go back to the doctor Tuesday when they will provide a tailored meal plan specifically for me based on the docs goal of me withering away to nothing losing 20 lbs.  20 lbs!  I have a feeling I'll be headed down a path of white fish, salmon, and unsalted almonds.... we'll see!

Until then, please stay aware of your own health and wellness.  As easy as it is to deny that maybe you are slacking on the exercise front, it is SO not worth it!  Cheers to doing better!

Friday, February 11, 2011

New Dining Space!

We have gotten so much done around here lately!  Hence, the lack of posts....
First update I have is from the dining room.
We got back from Florida and I decided to post our old dining room table on Craigslist to be sold.  I literally posted it on New Year's Eve in the late afternoon.  As Jeff and I were on our way out to dinner that night I got a call from someone saying it's as good as sold and she'll be over in the morning to check it ou/ pick it up.
Wowza!  The table was fully functional, just not ideally sized for the space.  It was rectangular and just took up too big of a footprint. 
Here's the before:

I'd like to note that the chairs (not including the bench) are the chairs that I grew up eating meals at home on.  My parents had these chairs my whole life.  My Mom gave them to me when I graduated college along with this table.  Getting rid of them was bittersweet.

The table was well centered on the french doors leading out to the back porch, but just took up too much space.  We don't really have regular need to seat 6 people.
The new table and chairs seats 4 regularly, 6 with the leaf in.  Plus we can seat 2 at the kitchen island.

The new table was given to me by Mom.  See the pattern?  I was thinking about building custom legs to make it counter height but it turns out that is a tall order!!!  After not finding any counter height chairs that I really loved at a price that I could feel good about I decided to go for the legs that came with the table.  Mom and I went chair hunting after I returned the cheapo counter stools that I bought the night before as a trial.  We ended up finding chairs that I LOVE!  And even found 2 of the four on clearance for less than half price.  While we were looking through the half price stuff we found two counter stools that were the same style and color also on clearance!!  Can you say LUCKY DAY!!??
Here are the photos of the after....

Much more size appropriate.  The chairs are SO comfortable.  Even though I really thought I wanted a counter height table, I am not disappointed in the least.  I still have the stools at the (interim) island, and we may decide to put a pub table in the now finished basement... more on that tomorrow!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Some like it hot...

I'm talking about yoga.  Get your mind right. 
I took my first hot yoga class last night and let me tell you...Wow.  First, if you are a yogi, this was not a Bikram class.  The temperature of the room was only 85 degrees.  Bikram is of course 105 degrees.  For this class the room only really seemed hot at the beginning, flow part of the class. 
This class didn't get nearly that sweaty.  It started with your typical sun salutations.  Lots of Vinyasa's.  Then to the warrior's with more Vinyasa's in between.
NOTE: Vinyasa= flow of plank, upward dog, downward dog.  ARM AND SHOULDER BURN!
After the warrior's we moved on to balancing.  I don't know if the fact that I didn't have to teach this class had any effect but I was a balancing machine!  I hardly bobbled at all!  Finally we started to move into the mat (stretching) portion of the session.  It was the perfect time too.  I was getting the muscle shakes, aka my arms were about to quit. 
It was really great to be able to unwind and enjoy a yoga class.  And I really loved the hot style yoga.  The cardio benefits were obviously increased with the heat which in turns burns more calories.
In fact, according to various calorie counters I burned about 700 calories in that 90 minute session.  Well worth it, and I will definitely go back for more. 
Do a google search for hot yoga in your area and try it out.  It is really a liberating and strengthening thing to do for yourself.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Living in the country

Referring to our place as the homestead is pretty realistic.  There are tractors, barns, rolling hills, ponds, and wildlife.  I've learned to adapt to it over these last few years.  At least I thought so.  I am nothing if not an animal lover.  I love my dog more than I probably should.  I am becoming quite fond of the cat that we just learned was never a girl.  HE is in fact a boy.  (Nice of the vet to wait til the 3rd visit to drop that bomb, don't you think?)
Most mornings we awake to deer out in the pasture. 
Upon arriving home late at night you will often see a family of racoons making their way from one field to the next. 
One summer we had a den of foxes living in the ravine along side our house.
There are barn cats perched on the fence hunting field mice.
We owned horses and a mule for a long time. 
This weekend was the first time I had to have a painful experience with the wildlife.  Saturday afternoon as I was driving up the road towards home there was a lone racoon walking in the road.  Now usually the coons will get back in the woods quickly upon seeing a car.  This guy actually rolled over and played dead as I drove by.  That's weird.  Later that afternoon I mention to the Mr. how bizarre it was to see a lone coon, let alone in the middle of the day, let alone playing dead.  The boy chimed in with a story about having to physical move a racoon out of the way with his boot while he was stacking firewood just a bit ago.  Mr's eyes got very big and he abruptly asked if the boy touched  the coon.  He said no, thank god!  Mr.  was just certain that this was the same coon I had seen and it must be rabid.  We talked about calling animal control, but by this time it was night and certainly they wouldn't come out on Saturday night....
Well Sunday morning this racoon was curled up in a cute little furball right outside of one of the basement windows.  Immediately I told the Mr.  I was concerned for the dog's safety (duh.)  He said we needed to call animal control.  I did.  Turns out the county animal control is only in place to deal with domestic animals.  They are not licensed to deal with wildlife control.  I was told to call a commercial wildlife removal company. 
Yeah.  On a Sunday.  The day after new years.  I'm so sure that wouldn't have cost an arm and a leg.
Mr. directed the boy to go get a gun and put it out of its pain.  By this time coon was clearly about at the end of its life.  I'll spare the details and tell you only that I shed some tears.  It was very sad.  We creamated the little guy once we knew he was dead and had to burn the area around him to ensure any risk of rabies getting passed along was also gone. 
It was sad.  I am still a bit disturbed at what I saw when I looked out the window at what I thought was going to be a cute little fur ball before we decided it was time to deal with it.
To top it all off, when cleaning after we finished working on the media wall a HUGE spider crept in somehow.  As if this isn't great enough it was when the boys left to go to the store so I was forced to smash it with the fireplace scooper.... EW!

That was rough to re-count.  But it had to be done.


Can you hear them? You know that repeating, blaring, chirrping sound that often signifies empty or excessively quiet space, aka this blog.
I let the Holiday madness get the best of me and I forgot about my chronicles.  In hindsight I am regretful however, if you learn nothing from your shortcomings they are in fact failures.  If you learn something they are experiences.  So, this is me learning something from my epic failure  learning experience/ blog absence.
I really do enjoy the time it takes to plan, write and edit these blog posts.  Time was very thin this past month.  Ya know why?
1.  The mister and I hostedThanksgiving
2.  Preparing for holiday traveling
3.  Going to every wrestling match for C
4.  Working on a BIG project at work that kept us at the office until all hours
5.  Tediously creating, planning and constructing in the basement.... 2/3 done by the way!!!

I know the first one is old news, but it was 4 days of a full house and all the mayhem that goes along with that.  Good mayhem, but mayhem nonetheless.  We spent 6 days in Florida over Christmas and that seriously was a month in the works.  Getting the house ready to be empty, planning for boarding the cat, etc...  The wrestling season is officially in full swing and we spend alot of time hollering from the bleachers for our #1 son.  When we are not cheering on the IB Tigers we are at work.  Working.  Working on a big project that requires many late nights.  Getting home at 7 pm and trying to cook and launder is AWFUL!  But.....Remember that inspiration board for the basement that I posted here a while back?  Well we are 2/3 of the way through making that a reality.  Wanna see?
Well the basement was a concrete jungle blank slate.  This is code for, "I don't have before pictures."

First step was to wall off the laundry room.  Pictures of this will come later as it is a disaster zone at the moment.  Second, we took out the old wood burning stove and replaced it with a 42" Fireplace.  I cannot even tell you how easy this was.  I went to Chicago one morning and when I got back the next day it was done!  But seriously, this was a fireplace kit that was all prefab'd.  Mr. Dubetter did awesome work getting it in place and what not!

My apologies for the photo quality.  This was taken on my Crackberry.  You can see over next to the french doors is the old Ben Franklin style stove.  The new fireplace is not only prettier but SO much more efficient.  The amount of heat this thing puts off prevents the furnace from kicking on hardly at all.  My pocketbook is pleased.  Where you see the studs around the fireplace and to the right is all new and will be drywalled.  To the left of the fireplace is where the real magic happens.  The media center!  Before this weekend it looked like this....

See all the unsightly wires.  I HATE that!  We brainstormed long and hard about how to solve this problem.  The results made the time spent sooooo worth it.  See for yourself.
Of course there is still lots to do.  Drywall, painting, more decorating.  But this is a HUGE improvement to the cold concrete.  The insulation is making a huge difference.  You could literally see outside through some of the cracks... New meaning to going green, huh?  The media includes the new monster of a TV, Sound receiver that is also a DVD player and I-Pod dock, digital media storage for all of our music and movies, and the X-Box.  Plenty I think.

Can't wait to share more progress.  I have lots to blog about and will do so regularly.  I swear it. 

Did you tackle any projects over the holidays?  Or maybe you dreamed up some for the new year.... do tell!