Sunday, September 25, 2022

a fairly good time

I'm still not done sharing photos from the summer, even though we're a few days into fall now! At the end of Mae's summer break, we visited the Indiana State Fair with Grandma, Grandpa, and Kevin.
Mae's favorite part was the Little Hands on the Farm exhibit. The kids each picked up an apron and a basket and wandered through the exhibit where they gathered beans, corn, milk, etc from different parts of a farm. Then they exchanged all their items for a ride on a little pedal tractor and a snack! It was fun, interactive, and educational. (Did you know that pork fat is used to make crayons??) Plus, they each got to sit on a big tractor.
Mae really wanted to ride a pony. I offered to walk next to her, but she saw that the next pony was being led by a teenage girl and said, "No, I just want to go with her!" Doesn't she looks so proud riding all by herself?!
Colin was a little nervous at the beginning and he reached out his little hand for mine. We held hands around the whole path and talked about how the pony ride is kind of bumpy.
Next we tried out some tasty fair foods. Dan had bison lettuce wraps, the kids had quesadillas from the dairy barn, and Colin helped me finish off a giant pork tenderloin sandwich. We cooled off in the afternoon with soft serve and Dole Whip and satisfied our remaining fair food cravings with a charcuterie board made from caramel corn, corn dogs, cotton candy, popcorn, jelly beans, funnel cakes, and taffy. Yum!
We spent a bit of time wandering through the animal barns. Mae and Colin loved looking at the cows. They got to pet a little calf and even got to sit next to a big cow resting in the straw! Colin had a big smile when the cow lifted her head to get a better look!
We also got to see the poultry, including some hatching chicks and ducks. They were just so cute! We even saw some tiny baby bunnies that were adorable. The animals are always my favorite part of the fair!

Monday, September 19, 2022

our second big renovation

We survived another bathroom renovation! This one was slightly less impactful to our daily life than our last renovation, since it was the upstairs bathroom that's mainly used by Mae and Colin. They both enjoy taking showers in our bathroom, so we didn't miss the bath too much while theirs was out of commission.
While the finishes in the old bathroom were perfectly acceptable, the plumbing was NOT. When the contractor removed our old galvanized pipes during the demolition, he was suprised we were able to get any water to the upstairs! The bathtub drain/plug was also very rusted and unreliable, and the plumbers warned us they were not able to source replacement parts for it. For a while we were using a rubber jar opener as a drain cover while we waited 10 minutes for the tub to fill just enough for the kids to sit in. I am absolutely thrilled with how the finished bathroom turned out, so I'm glad we had an excuse to gut and refinish it!
In addition to the brand new plumbing and cosmetic upgrades, we made two big improvements to the functionality of the bathroom. First, we added a vent fan so the room doesn't get as damp during showers. Second, we raised the height of the shower head so you don't have to duck to wash your hair! The old fixture was so low due to the slanted ceilings. Originally we planned to have the shower plumbing coming out of the angled portion of the ceiling. Unfortunately, the inspector nixed that plan for code reasons, and we couldn't find a shower head fixture that worked with the weird angle. Instead, I found an angled shower arm extender from Signature Hardware. I think it's supposed to make a standard shower feel more like a rainfall shower, but for us it just raises the shower head to a reasonable height for a normal adult. It even follows the angle of the ceiling pretty well.
Speaking of the bath, I think the most exciting part of finishing this renovation is not having an empty bathtub sitting in our dining room any more! I heard so many horror stories about long construction delays due to sourcing materials that I ordered plenty early. I had almost everything we needed ready and waiting in our house months before construction started. The vanity was the first thing I bought; it sat in our basement for a year! Between our family, our general contractor, and the plumbers, we did have a few COVID related delays thoughout the renovation. The whole project took about 5 months.

Early in my planning (a.k.a. Pinterest-scrolling) for this room, I came across some teal fish scale tiles. I considered pairing these with white floor tiles, but I was concerned about tiring of the bold wall color and trying to keep the white floor clean. I decided to stick with the fish-scale tiles on the walls, but opted for a (much cheaper!) white fish scale tile from Home Depot. I searched EVERYWHERE for the perfect (reasonably priced) light green/teal penny tile and finally found this tile from Tile Daily. The wall paint color is Sherwin Williams Windowpane, which I think looks lovely with the tile. The grout is Prism Cape Gray, a light gray that shows off the tile lines but will hopefully not show off the dirt! I sealed it with Miracle Sealants 511 impregnator sealer, per our tile guy's recommendation. It did end up a little streaky on the walls, so I might need to touch that up. I couldn't find bullnose tile to match the fish scales, so we used white Schluter edging instead. I love the clean finish.
I debated between an acrylic tub (less durable, lighter weight) or cast iron (durable, but massively heavy). Our contractor recommended this titanium reinforced enameled steel tub (lighter weight, but still durable) from Kaldewei. The vanity and toilet are from Home Depot. The plumbing fixtures are Moen. The medicine cabinet and light fixtures are from Pottery Barn. The wall vent cover is from Signature Hardware. I hunted everywhere for the perfect shower curtain and finally settled on one from Target.
I'm so happy with how this room turned out, and the kids are excited to have their bath back!

Sunday, September 4, 2022

lake george

We had another wonderful family trip to Lake George this summer! I got some time to relax and visit with family while the kids got to spend lots of quality time playing with cousins on the beach. We played cards, built sand castles, swam in the lake, went for boat rides, and splashed in the pool.
We had beautiful weather all week and spent so much time outside. We ate every meal on the porch and spent almost every morning and afternoon playing on the beach. I’m glad Colin got lots of time in the sand since he was sick during our last beach trip. He even ventured out into the shallow water and enjoyed taking little rides on the paddle board with me.
Mae was excited to build “the coffee machine” with Uncle Christopher again this year. They dug canals and built dams and then flooded the whole thing with the hose buckets. The frothy, sandy water looked like a nice latte as it flowed back to the lake.
Mom and Dad rented a pontoon boat big enough to take us all out on the lake! We even made a couple trips to the islands for picnics and swimming. Dan and I both have fond memories of island camping as kids, so it was fun to get back out there!
We decided to stay until Saturday and make the drive home in one day, so we managed to fit in trips to Pirates Cove and the arcade. Everyone had fun golfing even though we lost quite a few balls into the water throughout the 18 holes!
At the arcade, Mae and Dan played air hockey and skee ball while Colin desperately tried to hit just one hamburger on the whack-a-mole game.
Dan, Kelsey, and I also took a trip into town for a wine tasting at Adirondack Winery. I’d researched wine tasting during a previous trip, but we were too early in the season. I’m glad we made it this time! They had an award winning Gewürtzraminer (yes, I had to practice saying - and spelling - it) and lots of delicious fruit-infused wine perfect for summer sipping. I just finished up a bottle of sangria we brought home.
We filled in our spare moments with jigsaw puzzles, games of 10-to-1, and yard games. Colin and Lillian took turns launching the stomp rocket. They’re so little, even jumping onto the launcher only sent the rocket about 3 ft in the air, but they loved it! Mae, Oliver, and Archie spent hours organizing the landscape rocks in front of the porch. It was fun watching them create activities with just a pile of rocks!
Thanks for a great week, Gramma and Grampa! We had a wonderful time!