The floors are all up

This is where the day started, so empty and clean…

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Boards coming up and nails being removed.

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Thomas has been right by Dan’s side all day.

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Daniel came by to help but he hurt himself in the first 10 seconds and was demoted to vacuuming.

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Poor Ann, there is just no where for her to go. She can’t get upstairs to my bed, she can’t get to the couch. She’s trapped pacing in the kitchen wanting to find a nice soft place to take a nap.

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And here’s where we are now. Oh boy I thought it was dangerous to walk around before. I’m trapped just like Ann. Time for Dan and Daniel to go buy more plywood so we can get that sub-floor down. Like Daniel said his best ability is being able to help carry stuff. Three years of engineering school and all the boy can do is carry wood.

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Making Pysanky Easter Eggs

Finally after more than a years break we resurrected one of our favorite co-op activities, Geography Club. From the time Daniel was young we have been going to monthly geography club meetings. Learning all about the different countries and cultures from all over the world.

As the years passed the group kept changing, kids grow up and moms move on, until finally all of the original members had moved on. Those of us left behind tried to keep it afloat but eventually we just needed a break. But the break is over and we have been reinvigorated.

This month we studied Eastern Europe, we started as we always have with a map challenge so the kids can show off all the countries they have memorized over the past 3 weeks.

We were the first to arrive so the kids spread out and got to work. Apparently, they wanted to make sure no one was looking at their answers.IMG_5827

Here’s the whole group working hard.

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After several different activities (a comparison of population density, an explanation of the European Union, looking over some Euros, a PowerPoint presentation from an older sibling that just returned from overseas and more…) we got on to the fun artsy part of the day. Making Pysanky (Ukrainian) Easter Eggs. We didn’t have time to use a traditional method, instead we used sharpies on blown out eggs.

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They turned out great even without using melted wax and dies.

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Watch your step!

Be very careful if you come to visit us in the near future and you probably don’t want to bring any small children. The floor is coming up and it makes for an unsteady walking experience.

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Really if you were to walk in the front door you would end up in the basement.

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And it’s very challenging to get in and out of my bedroom. The boys have no problems just walking on the joist’s but if I want to try and get across I just can’t. Even when the plywood is down I have to hold on the something because it feel like I might just fall through.

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No worries though Dan didn’t leave everything in this complete state of destruction. He put down plywood and covered up enough of the holes that I can kinda walk around without worrying too much.

Looking for a new sport

I don’t have competitive kids and for that I am really grateful. I’m really not interested in dedicating a huge portion of our weekends and evening to a sport. But I do like for the kids to participate in something that gets them out of the house occasionally and maybe even gets them some exercise. Homeschooling adds a little bit of a challenge to that especially as the kids get older. Thomas has played soccer since he was very young but he is now too old for the rec center league he played on, so it’s time to find something new.

We thought about going back to our old stand-by, ice hockey but Thomas just wasn’t that into it and considering how inconvenient the rinks and the times are I wasn’t into forcing the point.

Next he thought he would like to try boxing, he’s actually been wanting to try it for about a year. So when a “Groupon” deal popped up for a boxing ring that was right down the street from our house (that I didn’t even know existed) I couldn’t resist.

Our first time there was completely intimidating! This was a real gym with lots of big guys hitting the heavy bags and boxing in the ring. I thought I had walked into a Rocky movie. One guy came out of the ring with blood running down his face.

Thomas was supposed to start his warm up by jumping rope…If you ever watch a group of homeschoolers try to do jumping jacks you’ll get a good laugh. Some of those things that are so normal for school kids to learn during PE, homeschool kids just don’t do. Turns out jumping rope may be another one of those things. Poor Thomas had no idea how to jump rope. But he kept trying no matter how embarrassing it was.

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Finally it was his turn in the ring (not “rink” like I called it on twitter) to practice some boxing skills. He really liked this part, he actually liked everything about it (besides the jumping rope.) On our way home we talked about signing up for a monthly membership where he could come and work out several times a week.

I did talk to the owner of the gym about my concerns of brain damage and the like but he assured me repeatedly that football was much more dangerous. Eventually I had a chance to to tell him that I actually never let my kids play football so that wasn’t really an issue.

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We went back for Thomas’ second session, (the deal was for 4 sessions) Thomas started back with the jump roping doing much better this time, then moved through all the stations. On the way home this time he shared that boxing was not for him. He did not want to join the gym after all. But not for any of the reasons you would guess (like being punched) it was because when you  take a boxing stance you hold your fists right under your nose while your hands are wrapped in cloth or these strap like things. Turns out they smell really bad and Thomas just couldn’t stand the smell of them. So no more boxing for him.

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He did however go buy a jump rope and he has been doing that daily in the yard.

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Next thing he wanted to try is rock climbing. Again its not terribly convenient but it’s very affordable and something he could continue doing as an adult. He has done it in the past so we know he likes it but this time he seemed ambivalent. He enjoyed a bit of the climbing but didn’t even want to stay through the whole session. If he decided to join the club he’ll go 2 days a week for about 1.5 hours each time. I think it’s still on the table but I need to talk to him some more to get his thoughts.

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We still have one other sport in the works. He just started Karate at the Tues co-op and so far (its only been 1 week) he really likes it. Maybe we’ll be adding in some more martial arts to his schedule. Or maybe that 1 class for 45 min a week is enough for him.

CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Runway Show in L.A.

While Beth was in LA she did a few runway shows. One of them was for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. She walked for both Pamela Love and Joseph Altuzarra. It was hard to find any pictures of her from the shows, this was all I could find floating around the internet.

Vogue Daily — Frédéric Fekkai with models.Donato Sardella/WireImage.com

Donato Sardella/WireImage.com

Beth was excited that she OPENED the show with a look for Joseph Altuzarra and he chose her to accompany him on his walk out on the stage.

He was also the Winner of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Challenge.

John Shearer/WireImage.com

Being in the show and having her hair done by world famous hair designer Frederic Fekkai landed Beth her picture in the January issue of Vogue:

Here’s one of the pictures of Beth in Vogue, there is also 1 more small one of her in the Pamela Love look.

And here is the video of the runway show that Beth did in LA. You may see a fleeting image of her right after Pamela Love speaks, then the video ends with the same picture that made it into Vogue.

Watch for Beth at :58 (I think that’s her) and again at 2:46

Pulling up the floors

Finally this weekend we had the time and the gumption to get started on pulling up the 100 year old pine floors that separate the living room from the basement. It’s a long and delicate process lifting the old wood floors. The very large nails that are holding it in place cause the wood to splinter and break apart. Since we’re relaying this floor on top of a new and level subfloor we need to minimize the breakage as much as possible. Dan will be gluing together any major splinters, so for now blue painters tape is holding together any broken pieces.

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We started in the corner that covers the freezer and pantry. Now that we see how much dirt, grime and wood splinters will be falling through into the basement, we know that we’ll have to put up tarps in the kids bedrooms before that section is removed.

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Dan is happy that he now has access to our crumbling cement foundation so he can remorter the top of it. He can also get into the nooks and crannies and fix all the cold air leaks. It also gives us an opportunity to get in the unreachable parts of the foundation and vacuum up all the years of dust.

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Here is Dan checking for cats in the cold air return before he puts the plywood down. Of course the cats went straight for this new and undiscovered area to play. I was worried one of them would fall down the hole that goes right into the furnace but they managed to avoid that, thank goodness!

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Here is our very temporary floor just to prevent anyone from falling through the floor joists. During any free time Dan can conjure this week he will finish pulling up the floor in this section and loosely lay the plywood floor. Once all the floor in the living room is lifted he will level the floor joists by adding wood wherever is needed then he will permanently lay the plywood that will be our new sub-floor. And that will be the floor we have until later in the spring after the framing and drywall is completed. Then we will finally relay the hardwood floor. I’m hoping I get less slivers with the plywood than I do with the rough hardwood.

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House renovation

So where are we with the renovation? We decided to take a break over the holidays and instead we made lots of owls. We also pondered where to go next. We gathered up some numbers for drywall guys, we made a mental note to order more foam to finish up the insulation, we continually talked about taking care of the finishing touches on the electric and duct work.

We replaced the vertical window in the dining room with a higher horizontal window.

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We also replaced the sliding glass door upstairs and built a little roof over it.

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We also decided that we really need to lift all the hard wood floors and lay a subfloor then relay the hardwood floor. Its just way to noisy in the basement with only having the 1 layer of flooring in-between the 2 levels. One more thing that has to be done before we can drywall.

We missed our deadline of having this phase done by our New Years Eve party, but the longer we live with the construction the more we solidify our ideas of how we want it to turn out. Some of our plans from when we started have changed. Turns out living in a space with no walls is kind of annoying. So we’ll be adding some French doors to divide the living room and dining room. And I’m seriously considering getting rid of the office all together and instead having this room…

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It feels so much more relaxing than the clutter of a home office. Even though I’m always drawn to this shabby chic look, Dan and Thomas have pointed out that I would not be able to stand this amount of clutter either. I think I can.