Sunday, December 9, 2012

5 Month Whirlwind

In August we demolished.

In September we reconstructed.

In October we painted inside.

In November we painted outside.

In December, we decorate!

Stripped to the bone.

Fortifying and insulating. 

New drywall.

Primed and ready to go.

Oops.  That color was a misstep.

New, lighter colors in living room and kitchen.

New seating area next to fireplace.

A real dining room.

A more open concept.

New windows and shades throughout.

Bigger and bigger

Every day I feel bigger and bigger.  And this time it's not in my head!

 About 2 weeks ago.  Gotta take some more photos, I'm getting bigger by the minute.

The first two outfits for our boy!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Au Canada

This past week Janda and I took our last trip of the summer.  We hopped on our motorcycles and headed up to Mont Tremblant Cananda to watch Ironman Mont Tremblant.  It was by far our most ambitious trip on the T-dubs, but it proved that it can be done!  The entire trip people were stopping to talk to us to say either a) "Wow, what cool little bikes" or b) "You've ridden HOW far on those little bikes?!?"  It was a really cool trip and until the last two hours from home, we really enjoyed all the riding.

The first day we left late morning with the intention of getting as far north as possible.  We rode west to Rt 119, which is an awesome scenic route through northern MA and southern NH.  Then we headed into VT, which is the most scenic New England state, if you ask me.  We stopped to have lunch at the Vermont Country Store on Rt 103.  The store is full of quality, locally made goods, with lots of free samples.

The two bikes all packed up

Making sure we're going the right way

After we got back on the road, we headed towards Middlebury.  Right before we got there, we got poured on!  It was my first time riding in real rain- about as fun as it seems like it would be.  Basically it poured for about 10 minutes and then I was cold and wet for the next few hours.  I had on a waterproof coat and boots, but my jeans and gloves got soaked and once my jeans were wet, the water dripped inside my boots.  Surprisingly, the wind from riding the bike dried everything but the inside of my boots.  We stopped for a quick dinner in Burlington before heading up to the campsites on the islands that are in between NY and VT just shy of the Canadian border.  RT 2 goes up through all 3 islands and the whole way you can see Lake Champlain on your left and right, interspersed with tiny towns and farms.

The next morning we had breakfast on one of the islands and headed into Canada.  We were in a hurry to meet Kat and Jeff and their kids, so we took the highways instead of scenic backroads.  The bikes cruise pretty well, so it wasn't bad, except that there was a lot of construction and detours in Montreal that added to our trip.  As always it took a little longer to get to Mont Tremblant than expected, but we made good time overall.

The bridge to NY/Canada

After dinner, we headed up to the ski village at Mont Tremblant with Jeff and the kids.  The first thing that we had to do was the luge.  I was terrible because my helmet kept sliding off and then to fix it I'd have to take my hand off the "accelerator."  Everyone passed me!  But it was good fun.  Then we headed to an extravagant sweet shop and got some mango and raspberry ice cream to eat while we toured the little village.  It was very European and super cute.

Looking down the main street of the village

Janda and Jeff riding the gondola behind us

The upper level of the village

The next day we spectated Ironman Mont Tremblant, which was actually quite hard due to all the road closures.  We rode a lot of extra miles going around them, but we did get to see the whole bike course, have a great breakfast, hit up a grocery store and still catch some of the run.  After the race we had a great dinner at the Au Coin pub in town and watched the back half of the race go by.

After the race there was a double complete rainbow: "What does it mean?!?"

After a hike up Mont Tremblant the next morning, we started our trip home.  Since we weren't in a particular hurry, we took the scenic route, no highways this time.  We knew though, that rain was closing in on us, so we were kind of racing the weather.  As we got closer to the Canadian border, we started to see the clouds rolling in.  All that we were hit by was a couple of sprinkles, but we decided to hedge our bets and camp in Burlington.  After the biggest dinner ever at Panera, we settled into our tent to rest up for one more day of riding.
Janda and the bikes on the ferry across the Hudson in Canada

Me and the bikes on the ferry across the Hudson in Canada

The view of the mountains from the NY/VT bridge

He looks calm, but really we're racing the rain at this point!

See how close it was?

The next morning we rode across VT.  It was amazing to see all of the damage from Irene that was still un-fixed.  Although we were quite tired by the time we made it to the MA border, we made it home in one piece.  Thank goodness.

Overall the trip was awesome.  I really wanted to try a longer motorcycle trip, so I guess that 1100 miles counts!  The little bikes held up great and did well on the back roads, the dirt roads and the highways, so no complaints there.  Next time who knows how far we'll go.  :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Good, the Bad and the Pretty

The good news is that we are undertaking an exciting renovation chez us.  We are expanding our living room into the dining room and moving the dining room into a different area of the living room. The only reason we haven't done this already is that pesky wall you see below.  So in the midst of other, smaller renovation plans, it was decided that the wall has to go.  The bad news is that it looks like this right now:

The living room with a hole and all of our furniture.  Recently the room got a lot emptier when half of our furniture, which was broken, went into the dumpster. 

It's even better behind the tarp! 

The pile of renovation debris. 

While we were at it, we did some demo in the basement too.  If you look closely at the bottom of the picture  that's a metal retaining wall that no longer retains.

The pretty of course, is in the garden.  The flowers and veggies are doing great.  Only a few ripe tomatoes so far, but pretty soon we'll have bushels.

Emma sampling a ripe Warren's Yellow cherry tomato. 

My cosmos are going awesome this year.  The color selection I got is great. 

Wild Catch-Fly (I think) in the back yard.

Alyssum loves my backyard.  I'll have to remember that when planting next year.

The Bachelor Buttons are still going strong.  The are attracting loads of little yellow birds- American Goldfinches according to my mom.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pacific Northwest - Days 6 & 7

On Saturday morning, Janda and I woke up in a comfortable bed in a nice hotel room.  Probably not Janda's favorite morning.  ;)  Since we didn't have to be on the wedding bus until 3pm, we figured that we would head into Portland in the morning.  We started at the Saturday market, which was full of handmade objects of all kinds.  There were food trucks getting set up, but nothing that seemed like breakfast food, so we kept going.  We walked past the Oregon Brew Fest set up right on the river and then headed into the city.  While Portland was well-maintained and clean, I have to say that it wasn't my favorite city ever.  Maybe we were in the wrong section, but all that we saw on our hour long walk were stores and restaurants.  There were endless places to shop and eat, but not much to see, so to speak.  I guess coming from Boston and having visited Europe that past two summers, I'm used to a different kind of city.  Not to say that there wasn't anything interesting in Portland, it just didn't appeal to me much.  Because of that, I didn't take any pictures.  Oops.

After we walked by all the stores and restaurants, we strolled through Chinatown and a couple of blocks later we were back to the Saturday Market.  Now all of the food trucks were in full effect and Janda and I grabbed lunch and ate by a fountain on the river.   Janda had a taco salad in a huge tortilla bowl and I had teriyaki chicken with rice and noddles.  It really hit the spot.  Janda and I relaxed and did some people watching by the fountain- the kids playing in the fountain we really enjoying themselves.  After lunch we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding.

Ignore the weird squinty look on my face! I made this dress earlier this spring.

The wedding was lovely.  It was held at the bride's parents' house and they did an amazing job planning, etc...  The ceremony location was a clearing that they had cut in the forest and the reception was on an old tennis/basketball court.  It was a great vibe and there were great local beers and of course great food.  After all of the eating, cake cutting and toasts, there was a lot of dancing!   We didn't leave until almost 1:30, which is way past our usual bedtime!
Our table - sitting with another of Janda's former athletes

Our table after dark

Janda and I 

Our table neighbor tried to take a picture of me dancing, but the settings weren't cooperating

The morning we slept in a little bit and then headed out on the road to Seattle, via Mount Rainier.  We decided to take a scenic route that would afford us views of Mount Rainier, so you could say that we took the long way.  I would say that it was almost 2 hours longer than a direct trip, but we got to see a lot.  We ended up on another windy mountain road, but at least this on was paved.

Mount Rainier 

Mount Rainier again 

Janda documenting 

See how dirty our car got on that dirt road! 

 After we saw Mount Rainier, we headed straight to Seattle to meet my high school best friend and her husband.  It was the first time that I got to see their house, which they scrupulously remodeled themselves.  They took us on a tour that included a really cool park called Gas Works Park.  I'm totally bummed that I didn't bring my camera- I didn't want to lug my huge camera to dinner- because the views were amazing.  A little later we went to dinner at a local pizza place, Ballard Pizza, which my friend's architectural firm designed.  After a little digestive walk to see a couple of other places that she had designed, it was time to get to the airport.  Our flight left at 11:30pm and we arrived home around 7:30am the next day.  No big surprise that I took a nap and fell asleep super early that night.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pacific Northwest - Day 5

The next morning we woke up a little early and took our time getting ready to meet the group, which of course meant that we were rushing at the end anyway!  We had camped at the campsite above the Eagle Creek trail head, so we just had to drive down the hill to meet the group.  I would guess that there was somewhere between 20 and 30 people on the hike, but I could be completely wrong.  It was my first time doing a large group hike and it was a lot of fun.

We hiked up the Eagle Creek Trail a couple of miles along a path that was right on the edge of the hill.  It was a very cool hike but not too hard since we were with a large group and there was a time limit so that we could make it too lunch.  About 2 miles up the trail we all stopped at a pebble river bed where there were a couple of waterfalls and pools.  It was a really beautiful trail and if we hadn't been with a group, Janda and I would have loved to hike up further.  You can apparently go to other waterfalls, some of which you can hike behind.  Sounded cool.

This particular hike was chosen by the groom who had hiked it in the past.  The reason that he chose this trail and this waterfall was that one can jump off the top of the waterfall into the pool below.  I, of course, did not jump.  I can swim but I'm not big on tall dives.  It takes me 5 minutes to get up the courage to jump off a 3 foot rock at Flatrocks!  Anyhow, Janda, of course, did jump off.  It was chilly as every other morning had been and the water was a little cold, but he couldn't resist.  When he hit the water, he discovered that it was actually a lot cold, but luckily we had the hike back to the car to warm up.

Some of the group on the Eagle Creek trail

The trail was lovely- as with every other trail we saw, it was green and mossy

Some parts were right on the edge of the hill

The waterfall

The pebble river bed

There was a second waterfall right around the corner

Of course he's going to do it- but from where?

The highest point he can find of course

It would have been a perfect 10 except for that splash

We got back to the parking lot and then started off to the Full Sail Brewery for lunch.  Janda and I were following the bus, which was very interesting.  We had to follow it into a weigh station!  We got to Hood River a little after noon and the whole group had lunch at the Brewery.  We were lucky enough to sit with the bride and groom, who Janda used to coach, and another of their friends who worked with Janda also.  It was great to catch up and here what everyone had been doing- since that's hard to do at the wedding.  The food and beer at the Brewery were excellent.  I had a burger and Janda had a pulled pork sandwich, which kept us full for at least 8 hours.

After lunch the bus went back to Portland and we took advantage of having our own car to check out hood River more and then drive out to Mount Hood.  Hood River was the place to be if you were interested in water sports.  We walked down to the Columbia River to watch people windsurfing, kitesurfing, jet skiing and more.  The water must have been cold though, b/c everyone was wearing wetsuits.

We then headed out towards Mount Hood, not to climb up, but to get a good view.  The road we took was lovely and we spent a half and hour or so driving by orchards and vineyards.  We popped into a ranger station to take some pictures and the ranger told us about a scenic route to get great views of not only Mount Hood, but also Mount Adams and Mount Rainier.  It was about 10 miles of country road and then about 10 of dirt road.  Even though we were driving a crappy Hyundai Elantra (which I specifically tried not to get!), we figured we could make it.

Mount Hood from the ranger station

The 10 miles of country road were no problem.  It was windy and hilly and apparently I was driving too slow b/c some Suburu flew by us.  The 10 miles of dirt road, on the other hand, were white knuckle the whole way.  The road was narrow and had major divets and going up the drop-off was on the right, so right on our shoulder.  I was going pretty slow at this point- I don't think that I broke 25mph the whole way.  All I could think of was the car hurtling off the cliffs.  I was a nervous wreck, but luckily we didn't really come upon any other cars.  That Suburu though, did come back down while we were still going up.  I don't know how much they appreciated the views.  The good news is that we made it.  The only thing damaged were my nerves- so much so that I refused to drive down, which annoyingly wasn't half as scary b/c we didn't have to drive on the edge.

The views from the top were phenomenal and totally worth the drive- just don't take an Elantra if you go!  There was a house at the top that a local mountaineering club uses and from which any rescues on Mount Hood are staged.  The views of Mount Hood and Mount Adams were great, sadly it was too hazy to really see Mount Rainier.  There had been a fire recently on that road, so everything was sparse except the wild flowers which were all over.  

Wildflowers everywhere

Most of the trees looked like this one

Mount Hood

 Mount Adams in the distance

After we made it down safely, we drove back to Portland via Washington and checked into our hotel.  It was pretty late at this point and after our showers we had a little trouble finding dinner.  Luckily we found a pizza place right before closing time and grabbed a half price pizza to bring back to the hotel.  We scarfed it down while watching the Opening Ceremonies of the Olypmics and then promptly fell asleep.