Monday, April 07, 2014

Cincy trip and another baby shower

Eleven hours and five states and we arrive in Cincinnati.
Spring Break here in the Med City made it possible for Nate and Danae to join us which gave us an entertaining road trip.

Cara's mother-in-love, and her 3 sister-in-loves put on really nice family baby shower for our girl.  My mom and sister Barbara came from NW Indiana to the shower and spent the afternoon and evening the day before with us, my niece (Bailey) who lives in Cincy joined us at the shower too.

Cara's nephew, Kiefer, made it to the shower too!

 Monday was opening day for the Cincinnati Reds.  Opening day is a huge deal in Cincinnati.
I joined these four downtown for the parade.
Kirk worked "from home" while we were gone.

 best part of the parade ....

 PaPa helped put the stroller together

next trip to Cincinnati, we will see three!

....waiting for the phone call....

Monday, March 10, 2014

Baby Shower Time!

Shower season has officially begun in our family!
First shower:  Baby Shower 1 of 3.
Cara's co-workers at the hospital gave her a beautiful shower this past weekend.
I couldn't make this shower, so Cara sent me phone pics to "take me along" to the shower.

Her work "people" know her well -- the shower was very Cara...
(keep in mind Cara and Tim have no clue if baby is boy or girl)

How adorable are these little onesie sugar cookies?

Willow Tree's "expecting a miracle" adds to a beautiful table vignette

baby is a wish come true 

 a pretty cake

Mommy & me

loved on and spoiled by co-workers

Baby's Breath
yes, please

If your co-workers have had this many little girls....

will the girl pattern continue?
Or will a boy bring change?

One baby shower down, two to go.
Danae and I are excited to be able to attend the 3rd shower in Cincy!

Then .... the bridal showers will begin!

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

North bound?

Last weekend we headed north.
Crazy.  I know.

We wanted to "get outta Dodge" -- relax, shop, dine, bum around ....and do a little birthday celebrating.
Nate did us a huge favor and hung out at TheCottage taking care of chickens and canines while enjoying his own "get-away" while we escaped to Edina.

We chose to stay at the Westin at the Galleria for a few reasons ...
1.  Shopping connected to the hotel so we didn't have to go outside.
2.  We didn't want to deal with the city parking (and paying to park)
3.  Good restaurants nearby.
4.  Fun stores at 50th and France.
5.  Barnes and Noble 
6.  Good room rate.
7.  We've stayed here before.
8.  Very nice rooms.
9.  Reasonable price.
10.  Not too far from home.

Thanks to an awesome concierge, we got a free upgrade on our average room to this:
Savor the private floor when you book the Westin Club Corner Deluxe guestroom during your next stay. Indulge in our exclusive lounge that serves a continental breakfast and hors d'oeurves in the evening daily. Additional amenities include: Westin's signature Heavenly Bed, an ergonomic task chair and a well-stocked refreshment center. Our Westin Club guests receive upgraded amenities/robes. 

Friday and Saturday evenings we enjoyed hors d'oeurves in the exclusive lounge on the private level where our room was located. Saturday and Sunday mornings we had a very nice continental breakfast to start our day.

The Club Lounge
Other than spending time in our room reading, playing Quirkle, and napping, we also enjoyed ...

Shopping at Albertville Outlet Mall
(snagged some awesome deals there --$7 skirts at Loft!)
Shoppes at Arbor Lakes
Edina Galleria 
(Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel)
Dinner at Big Bowl  (favorite spot)

then a quick stop at Barnes & Noble for some chocolate!
(Try this chocolate -- it is amazing!)

We also hit up 50th and France for some entertainment of the shopping/dining kind.
After spending over an hour in PaperSource drooling over all the papers and paper crafts

.... we headed to a Mexican bar/restaurant for a late lunch/snack and beverage
and to warm up!
Made to order guacamole, a fancy appetizer and a margarita .... yes please!

Skipped dinner on Saturday night.... appetizers were enough
and we didn't want to go out in the cold...
Spending a few hours at Barnes and Nobel reading magazines
 while enjoying a coffee was a better option!

Lazy Sunday morning before hitting up IKEA to do some returns
and drive back to reality

and our home sweet Cottage.

Next year ... somewhere South?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Soooo over. it.

One by one, six coworkers entered the time clock room this morning.
We all echoed the same sentiment.
"I am so over this"
The snow.
The cold.

Looking out our front and back windows it's hard to tell if we are in Narnia or Rochester.
It is pretty.
But it sticks around too long.... 
and causes all kinds of trouble.

My drive home from work is usually about seven minutes.
Last Thursday it took me 45 minutes to get home.
That was just the beginning of the snow storm.

The trouble began trying to get up our driveway.
I got stuck.
Took Baby Girl, Kirk and I an hour to get the car to the garage.


  No school on Thursday or Friday for students ... or the teachers.
Baby Girl stopped by for a visit and to do laundry.
Then she spent two nights!

Friday morning.
Kirk cleared the driveway
but the city hadn't cleared our street.

Not sure if or when the plow would show up
Kirk plowed a path with the four wheeler 
down our street to the adjoining street so I could get to work.

Sunrise Friday morning:

afternoon sun:

The abundance of the white stuff creates all kinds of challenges at TheCottage

Power outages --  twice on Thursday night
Getting to the chicken coop to collect eggs and feed the hens

the white lines in center photo is snow falling!
or provide places for the pups to run
and do their thing.

  Four days post storm
the roads are still cruddy
and the snow is still sticking to the trees

and I'm thankful for a warm home

and the promise of Spring!

Monday, February 17, 2014


Many moons (and months) have passed since we completed our new kitchen/great room space.  The major parts of the remodel:  flooring, kitchen cabinets, painted walls were finished early last summer.  However, like any major (and sometimes minor) projects here at The Cottage there is usually some leftover details to finish.

Sometimes the delay is due to us finding our roundtuit.

Other times the hold up is me.  Me and my pal, indecision.
And so it is the case with the stairway.
When we ripped out the linoleum for the remodel, we (as in Kirk) ripped out the railing -- balusters, newel post and all.

We carefully removed the original knotty pine railing planning to re-install it.
Maybe paint it.  Maybe not.
Throughout the remodel project I combed the internet for other railing options holding out hope for some inspiration and a railing that had the cottage-y look we love.

Recently Layla and Kevin Palmer at The Lettered Cottage featured their new railing which is exactly what I was picturing for our railing.
Slightly concerned that it might be too "busy" for our stairs/room and that it would add more vertical lines to a room already filled with vertical lines, I kept thinking.  And thinking.  Then one night as I was dozing off to sleep (typical idea time), I remembered built-in bookcases doing double duty at a stairway in the former home of our friends (Dave & JoLynn)

We can only see the backside of the built-ins in the photo, so you'll have to imagine shelving on the reverse side.

Would that same idea work for us?

To get an idea of how they might look, I pulled these shelves out of Baby Girls former bedroom.  I bought these at a garage sale over 25 years ago -- have painted them many times and altered them over the years, but they are still serving me well :)

I gave the shelves a quick coat of Sherwin Williams Creamy mixed in Home Depot/Behr paint to match our walls.

Then I set the old shelves where the potential shelf/built-in/railing will be built.

I think we cut the back out for a stereo component or something like that years ago.... not the prettiest sight, but it does give me an idea ...

Leaving some areas open to both sides would let in more light on the stairs -- and give some visual interest on the stair side.

These temporary shelves are just an idea. Giving us a "feel" for the look without committing to it yet. The shelves Kirk will build would have a different configuration.  Probably not so many sections.  Maybe a sliding door to leave some shelves open, some covered.  All the shelves would most likely have the same depth, and maybe the shelves will be adjustable?

I think the lines of shelving mirror the built in bench in the background nicely.
All we need now is to find our "round tuit" -- design the shelves, get the materials and build 'em!
Finding time for Kirk to build them would be helpful too!