well, where have you been?

hello internet friends!

the last few weeks have been a whirlwind of trips to the cabin, baby showers (not just for our little one!), and working to finish our upstairs renovation. strap in and prepare for a lot of pictures!

we'll start with the cabin. we went up memorial day weekend and this past weekend, which will be my last until baby comes. 

time with nieces and nephews!

some sillier than others. ;)

 what a smile.

and what a pose.

 speaking of poses...

most of our small group was able to make it up this past weekend. john and cindy (who are also expecting——more on that in a second!) are from florida and we were happy to introduce them to minnesota cabin culture!

 ben even tried a few tricks on the wakesurf.

now on to baby showers. my sister kristen and s-i-l lauren hosted a beautiful shower at my parents' house. i had such a blast! here's the dessert table.

i held out on telling kristen our baby's first initial, so she used all sorts of initials to decorate the delicious cheesecake bars. there were also coconut cupcakes, chocolate-covered pretzels, and banana puddin'. kristen married a southerner and she says you have to say it "puddin'" without the "g." otherwise it won't taste as good. just kidding.

 here we are! the hanson women. well, most of us.

here's the invite, and they sent us all home with these cutie favors. so special.

three of the five ladies in our small group are pregnant. we are all due within five weeks of each other, and one is expecting twins! yippee! our small group planned a couples shower for john and cindy. they are expecting a little boy so we gave the shower a sports theme!

 i got crafty to make the football-field tablecloth. super easy.

 abbie and lorna beth decorated the cupcakes. aren't they awesome?

 the table.

 marco and abbie (pregnant with twins!) gave some words of wisdom to the expecting couple and prayed over their little one.

the couple of honor opened all sorts of goodies!

it was a blast. i loved doing it. on the way home i thanked God for the sweet fellowship and that abbie and i were able to be active and on our feet with our due dates coming so soon. (although both of us were waddling by the end of the night!)

and finally, house updates.

 vinyl flooring was installed in the bathroom. it's hard to get excited about vinyl flooring, but it is durable and practical for a kids' bathroom. this picture is actually a few weeks old——we are thankfully a lot further along than this. trim is in, puttied, and touched up. vanity and top are installed. final electrical was yesterday, and carpet is coming in just a few hours! i might actually miss playing general contractor. i rather like it.

and our crib was delivered! it was supposedly backordered until mid-june, but it came at the end of last month. it has been sitting in our living room for a while now...can't wait to put it up!

and finally, and out of left field, abbie taught me to make this scrumptious caprese salad. i've been eating this like there's no tomorrow. tomatoes, mozzarella, spinach, basil (from a jar, but of course you could do fresh), pasta, olive oil, balsamic, and salt and pepper. i just can't get enough.

that's it! we'll talk soon, okay? ;) ;)

corner turned

oh drywall. you are a sight for sore eyes.

[we used durock above and next to the shower and mold-resistant drywall on the exterior wall. just in case you are wondering about the blue color. which i actually kind of love?]

i'm very much looking forward to a date night with my sweet husband this evening. monday is my birthday, and i think he's taking me to see the avengers tonight. and maybe some mama's pizza if we have time. pizza + action movie = a five-star date (in my humble opinion). enjoy your weekend, friends!

shower surrounds, childbirth class, and sympathy for darth vader

how is that for a post title? ka-POW!

1) we are on the VERGE of turning a corner in the upstairs reno. it took a few long evenings and the better part of a weekend afternoon, but ben (and i? very little "i" involved in this project) installed the tub and shower surround. sounds simple, right? ahahaha, not so fast. it never is as easy as it sounds. renovating never is.

renovating often makes me realize how much of a sinner i am: i want what i want and i get crabby when it doesn't happen. in the current situation, there are no light fixtures in the bathroom at the moment, so we use work lamps that also happen to heat things up to a toasty thousand degrees. 10pm + tired + sweaty + pregnant + remodeling woes = potential for sanctification. i truly pray that God would use these situations to teach me patience and kindness——i am going to need them!

2) we had a marathon childbirth class on saturday. we opted to do it all in one day instead of a five-week course. we watched a few birth videos that were pretty darn intense. uh, yup, intense. afterward, ben said that he wondered if going through stressful remodels will help us during the whole labor process. i wonder, too. not that it's gonna be a breeze, but yes——i think remodeling has definitely helped us learn about how we deal with stress and pain in situations where we are tired and crabby (me more than him). so we'll see what happens.

3) i just finished painting seven doors. now i have a ton of trim to do.

i wear this awesome respirator just to be extra extra safe for baby (even though we use water-based paint and the windows are almost always open). when i walked up behind ben and he heard me breathing, he said, "how's it going, darth?" poor darth. so misunderstood.

hoping the drywallers can make it today. then things will really turn a corner!

i'm gonna toot some horns

this post is a random mashup of people/places/things whose horns i want to toot. okay that sounds really weird but just let me, okay? i think it is the part of me that gets excited about a lot of things. i just want you to be excited with me.

1} have you heard of ekate designs and the orchard art house? erin kate is a super cool girl who makes beautiful jewelry. she's the friend of a friend who lives a few cities away and transformed an outbuilding on her property into an art studio. her wares are really unique and i'm rather smitten with her designs. i visited the orchard art house a few weeks ago and picked up a few gifts as well as a couple of goodies for myself, including these earrings. if you get a chance to go, you will not regret it. if you aren't local, check out her etsy shop!

2} slightly less exciting but immensely practical: aldi. i had my first aldi experience a few weeks ago: no frills, but i left with a ton of food (mostly produce) for like 17 bucks. i heard a rumor they are planning to open one in our city! i might become a regular.

3} ryan stadler photography. he was the second shooter at my sister's wedding and he did a wonderful job. he shoots some on real film, which i find very intriguing. check out his work!

4} friends and family who are wisdom givers and gear lenders for all things baby related. you know who you are. i am borrowing a bumbo, boppy pillow, bouncy chair, play mat, portable baby bed, bassinet, and other gear, which definitely helps with budgeting. i bought this changing table from a gal on craigslist (i didn't really intend to buy a changing table, but it's a long story) and all the baby goodies are collecting in a corner of our room until upstairs is ready. i took this picture a few weeks ago and the collection has grown since then.

may i just take a moment to say how excited i am about this crib bedding my mother-in-law gave me from her stash? she is like a professional deal hunter and found these items for a song.

but honestly, friends and family have answered my random questions, fielded many phone calls, walked through the target aisles with me to help with registering, and even given me a sweet pregnancy care package (complete with a body pillow that i rely on every night, because i am not a natural side sleeper). i love and appreciate you girls very much!

5} last but not least, my husband. he works really hard at his 9 to 5 and comes home and works more——on his business, on our house, on preparing the lesson to lead small group, on being a spiritual leader in our home. he was up until almost midnight on friday working on plumbing. i had a minor meltdown sunday over a waffle stuck in the waffle iron (i pretty much just started weeping) and he knew exactly how to love me in that situation. he's very sweet. and very patient. i am not patient. i'm really excited to parent with him. he is a wonderful blessing.

no time

for a long post. we are still squeezing in reno work upstairs, my sister's wedding is this saturday, and i am officially 24 weeks pregnant and not getting any smaller! here are some scenes from our lives during these past weeks:

we're replacing all the doors upstairs (there are seven), so ben and i scoped out bmo for a deal. the tagline is "the handyman's candy store" and it is so true. that place is addicting. we found one door for the linen closet——solid maple for 75 beans. not bad.

ben convinced me to splurge on the dollar bottle of sprecker bbq sauce at menards. we have fancy taste.

my love for menards grew (is that possible?) when they replaced our two broken stanley tape measures for FREE. free people. i was pretty excited.

so excited that i got into a floor sample bathtub.

 loony tunes t-shirt and all. like i said, we're fancy.

i hosted another shower and lunch for my sister and made these simple cheesecake bars. recipe here.

and i got crafty to make some candy-filled favors for the guests. instructions here.

you probably won't hear from me until after the wedding. au revoir!

upstairs reno: demo days

welcome back!

after a few weekends of solid progress, we are officially carpetless upstairs AND my STUDly husband took the pink bathroom down to the STUDs (with help——see below!). there have been a few surprises, both of the good and bad variety.

surprise #1: the hardwood floors under the carpet in the purple room are in terrible shape. we knew there was wood underneath, but we didn't know there would be a huge spot of water damage in the middle of the room with tons of gapping between the planks. i've been taking bids to have the floors repaired and refinished, which would involve a good amount of patching, and it is spen-D. the contractors said it would be cheaper to just replace the whole floor, so i think we'll end up putting down carpet again, which is fine by me for a kid's room (this will be the nursery).

but the question remains: do we tear up the wood or carpet over it? i personally want to tear up the wood and replace any portions of the subfloor that are damaged. that's just my style: do it now because we won't want to do it later!

surprise #2: the tile under the carpet in the blue room looks suspiciously like asbestos tile. my heart just sank when i saw it. there was already a broken piece (eek!) so we sent it and the mastic underneath in for testing.

we just heard back this week that the tile is NOT asbestos, but the mastic contains small amounts of it. the guy we've been working with was very helpful in explaining to me what this means and what exactly might be hazardous. the asbestos in the mastic is only harmful if we rip up the tile and take something abrasive to the mastic to release it as a dust (which we wouldn't do). we were reassured that carpeting over the tile is a very safe option, especially using the existing carpet tacks. when i told our guy that i am pregnant and this is a room kids will eventually sleep in, he said that if he were in the same situation, he would feel very good about carpeting over the tile. that was very helpful. nonetheless, when we sell the house, we must disclose the asbestos in the mastic, so ben and i are going to take bids on having it all removed just to see.

surprise #3: the stair treads and risers are hardwood! this gets an exclamation because it is exciting to me. i was thinking it would just be plywood underneath that nasty carpet.

after a few hours with these tools, i ended up with a few blisters but staple-free stairs.

these will be refinished/painted/a combo of the two. this view is literally the first thing you see when you walk in the front door, so i want to do something special. i'm thinking of a DIY runner . . . something with stripes . . . yes. i think so.

the bathroom yielded no surprises, as far as i know. our friend bert (of bookshelf fame) came over and like a superstar demoed with ben. i am pregnant and not allowed to do such things——even though i do enjoy a good demo day every once in a bit (see this post) my clinic said no way (and with good reason). they have me on a sort of modified rest so i am taking it easy.

my pregnancy-safe contribution was to sweep up and shop-vac afterward. (with a mask on, of course.) i love using the big shop vac. so satisfying.

that's where we stand. and did i mention that i scored a granite vanity top and sink at menards for $57? i did. and i'm very excited about it.

more to come! we move slowly, but we've got a deadline (baby comes in july, Lord willing!) so we will be hustling!

upstairs reno: before


a few weeks ago, we started the demo for our upstairs renovation, and now we are full into the swing of things. yippee! is it bad that i feel so at home when we have a dumpster on our front lawn? yes, we are THOSE people!

here's what we're working with. we have a odd/cool 1.5 story with the half story at the back of the house. it's like a rambler in the front and a two-story in the back. if you think a rambler is all business and a two-story means a party, then i guess that makes our house a mullet.

upstairs consists of two big bedrooms, two big closets, a linen closet, and a full bath. to get things started properly, let's review these shots from february 2009.

blue bedroom:

 yes, there is a framed hole in the door. and it locks from the outside.

pink 60s bathroom:

 i scraped those sticker fish off with a razor blade. i have never taken a bath in that tub and i'm happy to say i never will.

purple room:

i love this window nook and i have big plans for it.

sophie likes to write her name on the ceiling. in pen.

oh, shrek.

come back later this week and i'll show you some progress pics. unfortunately, they don't look too much better than these pictures, but we gotta start somewhere!

p.s. if you want to see some completed projects, check out my before and after tab under the header. i've been updating!