The day has come, my friends, to show you our final home tour on our little cottage in the city. It is definitely bittersweet to share this post and video with you, since so much love and hard work has been poured into this home. We were definitely never intending to sell it only a year and a half after we purchased it (if we had known, we never would have bought it in the first place), but opportunities much too grand to let pass by came up that we just had to jump on for the future of our growing family.
I explain in the video a lot of what we did as well as why we finished the basement right before selling, so watch that if you would like more detail.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the video with before photos, an emotional update, and a full home tour of the house at the time of selling.
Upstairs Floor Plan Before and After
Back Bedroom Upstairs
Front “Master” Bedroom Upstairs
Stairway Down to Basement Family Room
Basement Floor Plan Before and After
Basement Family Room
Basement Full Bathroom
Back Basement Bedroom
Front Basement Bedroom
I hope you enjoyed the final home tour! We are very sad to leave this home, especially now that it is almost exactly how I envisioned it would be for us over time as our family grew, but it is just a house and now someone else can enjoy it. We would greatly appreciate prayers for a quick sale close to asking price so we can move on to a new home hopefully before little Celia arrives.
My belly is definitely just getting wider from the side view. I’m sure some of that could have been from the multiple hot dogs I ate for lunch at my parent’s when we were welcoming in their new fire pit! I haven’t eaten so much in one sitting this entire pregnancy and I was still hungry! I didn’t eat breakfast, so it may have had something to do with that.
How big is baby: 3.5 inches long or the size of a lemon! It’s funny how these past few weeks, the same fruit are being used to describe the baby’s size even though the baby is getting bigger. I liked reading the baby is about the size of a fist – that I can picture!
Weight gain/loss: Still hovering around my pre-pregnancy weight.
Sleep: We had a wonderful weekend and stayed at my parent’s house and I got the best sleep I have in months! I think the bed was comfier, we were extremely exhausted, and they have dark curtains, so we weren’t woken up by the sun. I slept a full eight hours without waking up!
Stretch Marks: None yet
Cravings: I mostly crave cheesy things, but I haven’t had any consistent, strong cravings.
Aversions: Still chicken and just random things at night.
Movement: I am not certain, but I felt something very deep and low that felt a lot like small vibrations or shaking. It was very similar to what I felt during my HSG dye test during our infertility testing when a balloon was placed in my uterus, but it was not painful or uncomfortable. I imagine it was what people describe as a flutter, but at this point, I have no clue! My intestines and other organs are being pushed all over the place right now, so it could have been something else.
What I’m loving: I’m just loving this little baby. I haven’t bonded per say, but I have been falling asleep and waking up rubbing my belly, just dreaming of meeting our little one. I really feel that there is something “extra” in my body, like there is some mass in there, so it is really cool to now actually feel pregnant when before I was just nauseous and tired. I’m also excited to see my belly growing and am hoping soon it will look like a pregnant belly and not like I just ate too much this summer!
Symptoms: Nausea around supper time, I’m still very exhausted at the end of the day, and some irritability thrown in there. Not much more than that, though!
What I’m excited about: I’m excited to have no plans this weekend! I expect to get a lot done around the house and get some rest. I love spending time with family and friends, but I also love a weekend with no plans. It’s been quite a while since that happened. Also, it’s our third anniversary this week! I’m so excited to celebrate on Thursday!!!!
What I’m nervous about: After a conversation with two good friends about birth (one who has gone through it twice and one who has never been pregnant), I am a little worried about attempting a natural birth. I just picked up Ina May Gaskin’s book and a book on the Bradley method. I figure the sooner I prepare, the better! I know I’m not good at calming myself in intense moments, so I need all the practice I can get in the next five and a half months!
In my video last week, I mentioned that I’m confused about why I am showing since the baby’s heartbeat was found deep within my pelvic bones. I discovered this awesome interactive diagram that shows how the organs shift and move as a pregnant woman’s uterus grows, which explained why I am showing. My intestines are being pushed out and things are shifting upward and outward. I have noticed having trouble breathing already (while filming videos and talking a lot) and my rib cage and waist are so much wider now (from front to back) then they ever were, so I know a lot of things are moving around in there. I can only imagine how hard breathing will be when I have a watermelon baby in there!
Time. It seems like in today’s time, time is such a valuable thing to have. It’s time with your kids. Time with your friends. Time doing the things you want to do the most. Of course time does also play a factor in your health and fitness goals too.
Within the past few years, I’ve come to really appreciate not just being able to drive down to my local gym, but being able to workout at home as well. There are always pros and cons when it comes to both but I think I’ve come up with a conclusion: I love them both.
We all have our own reasons for why each is better than the other. Some may say that driving down to the Y is better than watching a DVD. Some say being at home is better just for convenience. Well friends, why not love them both?
Going To The Gym/Fitness Facility/YMCA/etc.
I love going the gym. I feel at peace with myself and my world when I’m there. There’s something about getting that bicep pump or that sensation you get when you shatter a PR (personal record). It’s you versus you there. You have the ability to shut off the world there and focus on your health, mentally and physically. The different machines, weights, and racks there keep each and every workout interesting and challenging as well.
Sometimes it’s hard to find the appropriate gym for your budget and lifestyle. Are you going to have kids soon? Do you like to swim and play basketball? Finding the right place can be a challenge, especially if you have only so much to spend per month on a membership. Another reason gyms may not be your cup of tea is probably the peak occupancy times. There has been too many occasions where I will have to alter my workout or change what time I choose to go because of how many people can be there sweating away the pounds.
Not only does the price tag go up with what amenities you want out of your establishment, but dealing with scumbag gym-goers. The one’s who never rerack their weights. The people who refuse to share the equipment/hog it for long periods of time just talking to their buddies. The gym rat with loads of advice that you don’t really want to hear or even need. The list can go on, but you get the idea.
Working Out From Home:
A little obvious, but you don’t have to go anywhere. During the frigid winters of Minnesota, I find myself really dreading the drive to my iron church. It’s nice to be able to pop in a homework out DVD (like Insanity, P9oX, or what have you) and just grind out the exercise in the privacy of your own home without feeling self-conscious about yourself. The fact that you are able to go at your own pace and not have someone pestering you is an added bonus. I also love the fact that I’m able to play music as loud as I want and make as much noise as I want without people giving me the stink eye.
Some times you need space big enough for your home workout. Some DVD’s require you to also have some equipment as well (like a stability ball, dumbbells, etc) that you may not have space or money for. I know from first-hand experience, that it’s a hell of a lot easier to get distracted at home too. If people start calling you, if your dog starts bugging you, or if someone unexpectedly comes over, it can totally throw you off your rhythm and you can easily loose focus.
Although it would be awesome to just axe the gym membership all together, it would cost a fortune to have a home-gym set up the way I want it. There is also a limited amount of exercises that I can do at home without the proper equipment to hit the proper muscle group too(with the appropriate weight I might add).
In a nutshell, although I do love going to the gym, I do also really like that fact that I don’t have to go anywhere to get a decent workout in. Some days when our pup would be home for a very long period of time (without going out or eating), I’m still able to get some exercise in without having to leave her behind. On the flip side though, the high after completely an intense gym session is unmatched. I love feeling accomplished and somewhat defeated after giving it my all at the gym.
What are your favorite things about working out at home? Do you find that you have better workouts at the gym or in your humble abode?
Ever since Sarah and I purchased this house back in May, it seems like our To-Do lists are never completed, or they just keep growing. The responsibilities of being a homeowner often plays a large role in controlling how we go about our day-to-day tasks, which include eating. Sometimes, takeout or a drive-thru seem to be a better option than coming home at around nine o clock most Saturdays and firing up the skillet.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love using my kitchen tools, making up things as I go, and trying new flavors out, but there just isn’t enough time in the day for me to cook each and every meal. If I also have to get up earlier the next day, I don’t want my sleep to suffer, and I love me some sleep (who doesn’t). So, for the sake of time, the wife and I often break out our trusty and always reliable crock-pot. It’s pretty common for the misses and I to use our crock pot at least once or twice a week depending on our schedules. Sarah gets home later in the day because not only does she have to work about ten hours a day, she also has to commute 30-45 minutes each way. Since I do the cooking most of the time and my schedule is so random, this leaves little time for us to make much at home that isn’t a frozen pizza or pasta and red sauce. Here are some reasons why we love our crock-pot:
It’s pretty much common sense, but most people really underestimate how simple it is to make a wonderful meal without having to labor over a stove or keep checking on the oven. Just throw a bunch of ingredients in there, turn it on, and forget about it. Sarah loves using it because it requires her to think less about making dinner and more about getting our home back to order after a chaotic week.
#2 It makes meal prep easier:
Since I’ve started intermittent fasting and plan on dropping a lot of weight this year, I have to keep my calories in check (a caloric deficit). This means that I will be bringing all of my meals to work instead of having what is on hand. Using the crockpot allows me make a rather large amount of chicken breasts (that are fall apart tender) that I can’t do in an oven. Sure, I have to wait longer for them to be completely cooked, but while they are in there, I am free to clean up the house, shovel some snow, or even run a bunch of errands. Once they are finished, I weigh out the correct portion sizes and put them in microwave-safe containers to take to work with me. By doing this method, I am able to make lunch for myself and Sarah for 4-5 days, which is about 8-10 meals! Talk about efficiency!
#3 Clean up is a breeze:
Self-explanatory. Just throw a liner in that bad boy and your set. Don’t forget that most crock-pots have removable stoneware so you can store the left overs (if any) in the fridge.
#4 It’s great for entertaining:
Love pulled pork? Love spinach dip? Then a crock-pot will become your best buddy. Once you’ve finished making either dish, you can keep it on warm for as long as your guests are there for, just make sure to check the crock from time to time (to prevent burning or scorching). Sarah and I love making hot dips and keeping them nice and warm for our friends when they come over. If you don’t have a chaffing dish for keeping foods hot and delicious, the crock is the next best option.
So that wraps up the biggest and probably most obvious reasons why Sarah and I (or probably most people) love using a crock pot. We love being able to come home to a wonderful smelling home cooked meal after a long day of working. Why is a crock pot a useful tool for you? Do you have any favorite recipes that are always being used?
Happy New Year’s! Today I’ll be talking about my personal goals for the year of 2014. It seems like every year, whether I like it or not, I end up setting goals for myself that seem all too unrealistic for me or that seems out of reach. This year I actually had to sit down and think about it for a while. What do I want out of this year? What person do I want to become? For a moment I drew a complete blank. It took a while but I finally narrowed it down to three main goals. Let’s dive in!
Goal #1: Become a more knowledgeable and gain more skills in my career as a Chef
If you don’t know me by now, I did attend a culinary school. There I gathered a lot of useful information that has led me to my current job right now. I don’t think that there is ever a time to stop learning. Once you stop absorbing new ideas and not gaining any more skills, maybe it’s time really reconsider if your career is keeping you happy.
The first step is to read. Read more books, articles and blog posts that will fill my head with not only more knowledge of the culinary industry, but to also gain other chefs and cooks opinions on their techniques, what worked and failed for them, and ultimately take something from them to use in my own way.
Another way to build up my skills would be to learn about new and old ingredients and how I can utilize them in my cooking at work and at home. Of course I do enjoy making Alfredo sauce, but what’s another way that I can really make it awesome? What’s another technique I can use to clean a tenderloin to be more efficient? You get the picture. There’s tons of new and old techniques that I can discover.
The last skill I guess you could say I already have, but it never hurts to become better with a knife. Not just slicing, dicing or chopping, but rather getting more uniform slices, chopping more to be more efficient (i.e chopping onions all together rather than three different times for three different recipes), and try my hardest to have each item I cut be as consistent as possible.
Goal #2: Make fitness and health a priority
I say this every year, but I think I’ve got more motivation this time and more tools to use. I will continue hitting the YMCA 5-6 days a week with a set routine in mind. I will continue to eat clean, eat in moderation, and healthier too. I recently started intermittent fasting and it has helped me with weight loss, but controlling myself and really understanding how much food is a blessing (I’ll explain more in a different post about it all). Of course, being the food-lover and chef that I am, I will still enjoy the foods I love but not as big of portions as I used to take. I need to keep my sanity right?
Goal #3: Learning to let go and stress less
Mentally and physically, last year took a toll on my body. We were going through changes at my current job and we decided to do a full blown renovation that lasted seven whole months. Yikes. The misses and I argued a lot more. The house was in total disarray and things that we needed to use were incredibly hard to find. I found myself suffering from a lot of stress and it showed in our marriage and health. I gained ten pounds in a matter of 2 months. Sarah and I often yelled at each other for no reason. It was awful.
This goal is very important to me because it will keep my heart and mind at ease. I just need to learn to breathe, take it easy, and understand that things could always, always be worse. It was just hard to see through the fog we were surrounded in, but we feel so blessed to be where we are in our careers and to have a wonderful home now.
I feel so pumped about this year , not only for myself but for everyone in our lives because we all want to become better people and improve ourselves. I hope that this year brings everyone lots of love, joy and laughter. What are your goals for 2014? Will they be quick changes for the year or for a lifetime?
As Sarah is fast asleep on the couch, twisted in such a way that would make pretzels jealous, and our pup Clemmy fiercely gnawing away at a bone, it’s hard not to just sit back and ponder about our first two years together as a married couple.
It almost seems like yesterday (I know cliche, but deal with it) that Sarah and I tied the knot. Our wedding was a huge highlight in our young adult lives and we were so glad that we got to share it with our close friends and family. The decorations, the “Sweet Love” candy table, and the overall ambiance of the night just kind of resounded and felt like us.
We know that being young and in love (let alone being married) is tough for most people. It’s a constant speed dating game where you float from partner to partner, hoping to land that “girl of your dreams” or your “knight in shining armor”. For us, we didn’t really expect to be wed at twenty two and twenty three, respectively. Some may call it luck, but I just think that we knew we worked together.
Work. That’s what it takes. When one of us is angry with the other, we don’t stay silent. We talk it out. When the other is needing just to rant and vent about their day, we tune in, all eyes on one another. We have grown to understand each others wants and needs over the past 8 years of dating, to know what each others cues for emotional and physical reciprocation.
Most of our friends think that we know what’s going on, that we are a perfect couple. Just because we have our acts together, that we don’t let one another get the best of them, doesn’t mean we never have our off days. I’ve come learned quickly that marriage isn’t all bubblegum and cotton candy on a rainbow road. It’s a hilly, speed-bum-filled experience.
Fast forwarding to the present, I would have never imagined my life to be what it is today. We both have took a giant leap and purchased a house together. We picked out and adopted our first pet. We are having first-time-home-buyer-blues. In my eyes, I couldn’t imagine sharing my life, or these special moments with anyone else.
If there is anything that I’ve learned over these quick two years of being married is having complete patience. I’m sure it’d be easy to act childish and want your way 100% of the time, but it doesn’t sail like that on this boat. Put yourself first and you’ll and up in the dog house. Being patient means knowing when to bite your tongue and knowing how to respond accordingly. We are not in elementary school, so name calling is out of the question.
Granted people around us have many, many more years of marriage under their belts but these were some of the things I learned within just two years of marriage. Some people say we are just old people in young kids’ clothing. Kind of funny if you ask me.
Hopefully this quick rant gave some insight on what only two years does for someone. If there was any advice to give to young or other married couples, what would it be?
It’s probably seems like forever ago since we brought Clementine Louise into our lives, but it’s only been short three months. Time sure does fly when you have such an interesting little creature to get to know and train too.
Before we left that morning on the search for an addition to our family, we never would have imagined that we would come home with a pet as crazy and as sweet as she has turned out to be.
The card the rescue agency had that described her personality stated that she was energetic, but the volunteer who was her foster claimed that she would come down eventually once she got some of her energy off. For the most part that was exactly spot on. Except for that her energy is easily triggered by the occasional house visitor or even squirrel running along our yard in the morning. That makes up for a dog with a sporadic and crazy energy level. Clemmie Lou loves sitting in our large picture window as if it were her post given to her by her Sargent. She could honestly spend all day up there and keep herself entertained and in turn, be constantly fired-up to chase the creatures she can’t even reach from her window sill.
Another thing that we quickly learned about this little lady is that she’s quite stubborn and gets distracted easily. Although she is incredibly smart and easy to train, she will almost always just do it for food and nothing else. This also makes it hard for us to walk her too because she absolutely must sniff and try to venture off the path that we are walking along. Even when she heads out to go do her business in the yard, it will take her a moment to snap out of what ever has her distracted, to come back inside.
Although she can get a little out of control, she is such a sweetheart and does have mellow moments (which don’t last long). She may bark at new people when they come around, but once she gets acclimated, she gets to lickin’ faces in no time. She once may have run into the bathroom when we had a guest over and jumped on the person sitting on the toilet . . . However, once she has had her time to really burn off all of that energy from yelling at squirrels all day, she will eventually tire herself, and prematurely pass out before Sarah or I do.
Overall, adopting a dog for us was a huge step for our family. We didn’t really expect to bring home such a sweet, clumsy, and crazy canine. She brings joy to us and the people she has met. We definitely agree that she was the perfect addition to our family. She took some getting used to, but we wouldn’t trade her for anything.
Although our blog is less than a few months old, we’ve been pretty consistent with having posts on a schedule and keeping people very up to date on the happenings in our lives. As much as I hate to say it, we didn’t think that we’d come to this road, but it looks like it’s about that time.
We don’t have to explain it, but everyone does understand that life does get in the way of things. Our blog is not an exception either. With the stacks of mail that need to be sorted through, the constant cleaning, and the little bickering wars we get in over organization is bearing down on us. I guess you could say we have the “new-home-buyers-blues”.
As much as we love to write and share the progress of our renovations and share our marital glue wisdom, it’s hard for both Sarah and I to find time just for ourselves. So we’ve decided, as a team, that we will be posting when time allows us. This may not be too big of a deal for most people reading this but to us it means a lot. We want to keep posting three times a week, but with my sporadic schedule at both of my jobs and Sarah trying to run a business, it’s not easy to find a sliver of time to lay down some digital feelings. Some weeks might be kind of quiet while we might post five times other weeks – it really just depends on the time we have. With most of our renovation work happening on the weekends, we are just barely keeping up with bill-paying, taking care of our dog, and other life necessities during the week. We just want to let you know that we love this blog, but until this renovation is done, we probably won’t be posting consistently.
So as of right now, please bear with us as we enter the “Random Zone” and bring you content when we can.
If you haven’t had a chance yet, check out the first post in this series.
Once Sarah and I moved in, it was hard for us to gauge when the best time was to go looking for a pup to bring home and call ours. We decided that we wanted to adopt/rescue a dog, rather than going to a breeder. This allowed us to give a home to a deserving dog. We also knew that with going this route, we could pick one that fit our lifestyle most, rather than hoping for the best with a puppy and not knowing what the personality could turn out like. I finally was able to snag a Saturday off . I knew that this was the perfect day to go looking. It also helped that many of the Pet-Smart’s and Petco’s around us have adoption days on Saturday too. Although Sarah did hesitate, she was more than happy to go looking.
I do have to mention that before we headed out on our search, we perused Craig’s List for adoption days and saw a few potential candidates. One golden dog stood out of the rest, but the ad didn’t actually specify which dogs would have been there and their names. With that in mind we set out on a long, multi-city wide search.
We knew what kind of dog we wanted; a smart, energetic dog. A dog that was able to play without getting too riled up. A dog that would be a great family pet that loved kids and got along with other canines. A dog that was crate and house trained. A dog we could call ours.
With all of these emotions and requirements in mind we set out to our first adoption day at one of the local Petco’s. Once we got out of the car, I knew that we would find a the one pretty quickly.
Once we walked through the doors, we set our eyes on the crates that were all nicely lined up. With all of the different breeds, sizes, and personalities, it was hard to come to a conclusion. We asked the volunteer if we could bring out one of the dogs, a terrier mix, out for a little walk. With leash in hand, we led the little guy around the store, meandering through the aisles of toys and dog food, commanding the creature like we owned him. Although he was a sweetheart and very playful, we wanted to see if that golden fido would be around. After coming back from outside we finally saw her. At the time her name was Cait (pronounced Kate). A mutt in her own right, she looked like an Eskimo dog mixed with a yellow lab. The volunteer wasn’t quite sure of the breed either, considering that she was a stray dog that possibly came from Kansas and brought up to Minnesota for further care. Once we got to walking her around, we knew she was energetic as she was frantically pulling, trying to say hello to just about anyone that walked by. It’s easy to see why people love her so much; she’s a sweet dog, very friendly, smart and loves kids. She met all of our requirements yet we weren’t quite ready to commit to her yet. We left the store hoping she would be there if we decided to come back. If she was still there, then to us, it was meant to be.
We drove around the cities, hitting up every Pet-Smart and Petco that had adoption days. We saw countless, lovable dogs that needed homes but for some reason, we were still drawn to little Cait. After seeing a bunch of pups and driving all over the Twin Cities, we knew that we wanted little Cait in our family.
Just to be on the safe side, we called back to our first stop to confirm that she was there and we got the green light. We drove as quickly (and legally) as we could to go get our new addition. Once we were there, we noticed that she was being led by another person, with a bag of bones in his hand. My heart instantly sank. We patiently waited and the person with her did not actually want to adopt her, rather walk her around while he was shopping for his pets. What a relief! We brought her around the store one more time and stopped in the middle of the aisle. We asked little Cait if she’d like to come home with us, in which she just replied with a lick. We both gave each other that look, to which Sarah said, “We’re going to get her”. Sarah was almost brought to tears, considering how long we waited to finally bring a dog home.
We brought little miss back up to the adoption area and signed the papers. We are her family now. At that moment, I didn’t know what to feel. I just felt accomplished. I am married. We recently bought a home we love. Now we finally own a dog. I can’t imagine us having a different dog in our house.
It’s been almost three months now and she seems to really enjoy it here, especially when there is renovations going on. We couldn’t be happier and we know we made the perfect decision.
Check back next week as we cap off this series. In the mean time, did you ever adopt a pet?
Growing up as an only child without any brothers and sisters could have been considered a blessing by many. Although I begged my parents to give me a brother and sister, my feeble attempts never amounted to anything.
To compensate for my lack of siblings, my parents thought it was best to get me a fish, thinking that having some sort of pet would keep me entertained enough. After seeing fish repeatedly die and neglected, it was time to ditch the fish tank all together. I knew I wanted a companion, a pet I could play with instead of watching it swim around the same tank day-in and day-out. I knew that I wanted a dog but it would take a lot of convincing on my part to make it a reality.
To make a long story short, it never happened. As much as I asked and as much as I was willing to give up years and years of Christmas and birthday presents, my parents knew that bringing home a puppy was more work than they thought we could handle.
As time went on, my longing for a dog dissipated and I just gave up on it.
Sarah on the other hand has had dogs her whole life, six to be exact. From a German Shepard to a Scottish Terrier, she has gotten the full spectrum when it comes to the canines. It was only inevitable that I would grow to love her latest furry friend Stewart. He is her parents dog that they’ve had since she was fifteen.
Sarah knew that I had a soft spot for dogs. We often discussed what kinds of dogs we liked and what personalities we wanted in a dog when the timing was right for us to get one together.
Once we were married we knew that owning a dog was one of the first things we wanted as a couple. Jobs with not-so-great of pay and our wacky all-over-the-board schedules made it difficult for us to afford the care of and give attention to such a pet. It also didn’t help that the apartments that were most affordable to us didn’t allow dogs or had such a steep price for pet-rent that we just stopped wanting one all together.
Our thinning patience finally paid off. After last year’s battle between purchasing a home or renting, we finally decided that it was time to buy our first home. This opened up not only endless renovation possibilities, but allowed us to get a dog without any ridiculous reoccurring pet-rent fees.
Not even after a week after moving in, we went on the search for our first baby. Little did we know, we would come home with this sweetheart.
Originally named Cait (pronounced Kate), this little lady has provided us with tons of laughs and lots of love too. Check back next week as we explain the journey on adopting a dog.
I’d like to know; did you have dogs growing up?