Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summertime, summertime, sum-sum-summertime

Does anyone still read this? I wouldn't blame you if the answer is no, since this is the longest hiatus I've taken from this blog since its inception three years ago. But for those who just happen to still be excited for updates, get ready...cause we've had some fun these past 7-1/2 weeks. I'll just shoot for chronological updates, and I'll fill in the blanks with lots of pictures.

Father's Day!! (Remember?) The Science Museum of MN was offering free admission to dads (which is awesome cause they can get kind of expensive usually) and Romelie is under 3 and therefore free. So we went there. It was fun...there weren't a ton of things for little kids, but Romelie and I had been there before so it wasn't different from what I was expecting. Her favorite parts included singing over the microphone - you're welcome, other guests of the museum - and playing in this water area outside. Happy father's day, dads!!

Next - Fourth of July weekend! My church was on holiday for the fourth, so I had a 3-day weekend. I decided to take Romelie up to my dad's cabin to hang out with him for a couple of days, then over to my mom's for a night. At my dad's, Romelie went swimming in a lake for the first time. We've tried to get her to swim in lakes in the past, but she's never gone for it until this time. She also spent some time in the boat - once out on the lake, but she was also very content to just crawl around inside it on the shore and pretend to paddle. She picked lots of flowers, slept in a big-girl bed, and had no accidents. Good times. Then, because Jen took her annual week of vacation the following week, she stayed at my mom's house the whole next week and helped Gramma Carol take care of the dogs and ducks and other animals. Which was great, because at home, we were tackling the awesome and daunting project of...

The Kitchen Remodeling. So we assembled our IKEA cabinets with the help of my dad and my boss/pal Nate in June. On Tuesday, July 6, my dad came over and we demolished the heck out of our kitchen. Unfortunately, as the silly pregnant lady, I had a lot of boring jobs mainly consisting of removing doors, drawers and wallpaper. But the men got to crowbar the crap out those cabinets, and it was ridiculous. Some super fun discoveries that we made:

1. Behind the dishwasher, we discovered some ugly old wallpaper. Upon removing the paneling, we discovered it extended halfway around the kitchen. Upon removing that, we discovered another layer of ugly old wallpaper. We also discovered that neither layer of wallpaper would remove easily. We ended up renting a big ol' sander (we had a small one already) and Chason and I spend half of Saturday sanding old wallpaper off of the walls. Score.

2. Under the vinyl click-lock floor, there was another vinyl glued-down floor. Under that floor? You guessed it. Another vinyl floor. Then the subfloor. Apparently everyone who ever remodeled this kitchen before us simply put new crap on top of the old crap. Classy.

3. Our entire kitchen - and possibly the rest of the house for all I know - has this weird mesh-like plaster surface covering it that peels off rather like wallpaper. It's on the ceiling and the walls. When we pulled off the cabinets, they started to peel off the plaster mesh stuff. At this point we gave up and turned the expertise over to our contractor, who ended up peeling it all up and replastering the ceiling and walls. Better him than us, cause at that point, we were DONE.

Romelie returned home on Sunday night, took one look at the kitchen and asked, "You break the kitchen?" Yup...we sure did.

Next big event (dang, this blog is going to be LONG!!) was our trip to visit Grandmommy Diane and Roy in Maryland. We had a wonderful vacation. We were out there for an entire week, and it couldn't have been a better time. Two days at the front and back end were spent relaxing at their home in Olney, and then the three days in the middle were a fun-filled reunion with the Mayniacs (Chason's extended family of aunts & uncles, cousins & second cousins, etc.) at Dellie's Orchard in Virginia. I have a million pictures the entire week, so I'm going to just use them to sum up our adventures.

Roy was kind enough to take Chason and I on a tour of some of the highlights of D.C. - something I've never done despite the fact that this is my third trip out there. We now have pictures of ourselves next to and inside of the National Cathedral, at the Lincoln Memorial overlooking the Washington Monument, and standing in front of the Jefferson Memorial. I have a terrible memory for geography, history and politics - did I get all of those titles right?

In Virginia, we stayed in a lovely cabin about a mile down the road from Dellie's Orchard (fantastic getaway spot of our hosts, Barbara and Bob). Romelie got to spend some time swimming in the pool, swinging on the little swingset, and digging holes in the ground with the owners' dog, Toby. She was pretty content. Most of our time, however, was spent "up the hill" with the family. Absolutely gorgeous. Beautiful mountain views, lots of fun things to do and see, and of course plenty of family to catch up with. Some of my favorite things you can see highlighted in the pictures included half of the family piling into the back of Bob's truck to drive down and up the very steep hill (Romelie Ann and I opted out of that one!) and Romelie Ann bonding with Briana, cousin Jessica and hubby John's 1-1/2 year old daughter. They made efforts to share toys with each other (Briana more successfully than Romelie Ann on the whole) and had a great time with their uncle/cousin John, Jessica's brother. Check out the video of them riling each other up with poor Christina in the middle attempting to keep them from flying off the hammock!



We also spent one morning out on a lake, though rain came along and interrupted our fun, and a couple of hikes were had by the non-pregnant, non-two-year-old folk. Romelie Ann and I were quite happy to hang out in the air-conditioned cabin and watch "Finding Nemo" (her newest obsession), but Chason brought the camera along for the hikes so you can see highlights.

Apparently it was incredibly silly.


On the way back to Maryland, we stopped at Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson. Romelie was not super well-behaved for that adventure (it was during her naptime), but we made it through and learned some history and got some more fun pictures.

On our last full day, we decided to go to a you-pick farm near Olney and pick blackberries. This is somehting I've wanted to try for a while and I thought it would be a fun challenge for Romelie. Turns out, it was easy for her! The blackberries were huge and really easy to pick (no thorns), so we gathered a couple of pounds in less than 15 minutes! We went swimming in the afternoon, and then Diane made a delicious cobbler with our picked berries for dessert. Lovely and relaxing final day. Thank you, wonderful family, for such a great time!!

And home again to our not-quite-finished kitchen. I haven't taken any "after" photos yet, but suffice it to say it looks a heckuva lot better than it did. We now have hardwood (sort of) floors, practical cabinets, better appliances, and an oak countertop. What we do not yet have is electric (supposed to call someone today, so hopefully that will be done early next week), painted walls or ceilings, or any of the baseboard trim. That's all stuff that Chason and I figured we could do on our own, and we're not in a big hurry. Maybe before the end of the summer...for now, we're just slowly moving things like food and dishes back into the room and trying to find the best system for organizing everything.

I don't want to short change any of the wonderful things that we've done since then, but I have few pictures and frankly don't want to bore you all silly. So in the last couple of weeks, I have gotten a new used card (another 1999 Ford Escort, but this one is red and sporty and has few miles--thank you parents for your help with this). We were able to spend an evening at my dad's house with my family from Florida, my cousin Maureen, and her three daughters who are all adorable, and I held a baby for the first time in a while and geeked out when I realized how small they start out. We went to a St. Paul Saints game with Chason's co-workers at TCI where Romelie bounced in an inflatable castle without crying. And this past weekend my mom and Romelie and I visited my brother and Carrie in Wisconsin to see his show "The Circle" (congrats again, Paul, very well done) and to spend some time with them.

And while I desperately need to update folks on my pregnancy as well as on our quirky and delightful daughter, I simply cannot type another word. Blerg.