Monday, November 28, 2011

Family and Turkey Time

Kendra & Syd looking beautiful

Caden is the man!

Julien and the cast

Pheseant, mashed potatos, carrots, yummy stuffing, turkey, brussel sprouts, & Susan's rolls!

The kid table: such great cousins! 

this is what twin sisters look like when they have fun

3 out of 4 Lewin siblings

We were there too! This year I got proof!

the boys doing boy things with Uncle P

Overall, it was another awesome and relaxing time spent with the Lewin family & friends being thankful together.

The best meal of my life (Washington's best little secret)

Charlie's treats

welcoming tub

Charlie likes the doggie bed!

Phil likes the TV!

Copperleaf Restaurant's comfort

The beauty of the Cedarbrook Lodge

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sunrise and Siding

Kurt's guys have been working on siding the house, which is taking longer than I had expected, but I guess when you do the shake in the eaves piece by piece, it would take some time and labor. This morning Charlie woke me up and as I was mumbling and grumbling, annoyed about getting up earlier than I had to, I stepped out the door to see this amazing sunrise. It was gone by the time Charlie was done doing his business. So, I'm thankful for the surprises that having a dog brings.
morning sunrise

progress as of Thanksgiving day

up close view of the siding

the back of the house is looking good!

our little bump out for the master bath

So very thankful

This year I have a very new outlook on what it means to be thankful. This year I am thankful for things I never had to even think about before. Like for starters....I am really super thankful for the roof over my head every night. I am thankful for electricity and heat (and have learned to appreciate them so much more). I am thankful for our parents and relatives who have been so supportive during this whole process (and of course in general). Here are some other things I'm thankful for this year:
  • Being able to talk to my mom or dad or both on the phone almost every day
  • Having long meaningful conversations with my mother-in-law (also thankful for the fact that we really get along!)
  • Knowing my brother is in good hands with his super amazing DIY/baker/chef wife!
  • a brother and sister in law that are both so loving & share my sense of adventure
  • the opportunity to plan ahead for our future
  • my job (having one) 
  • doing the same grade level
  • the brand new school building that I get to work in every day (check out this link...
  • the students that I interact with in my class and in the whole school 
  • the families that I get to know each year through my work
  • a husband who is loving, supportive, amazingly intellectual, challenges me, betters me, and also is pretty damn patient. I am also newly thankful for his amazing talents as an electrician and all around DIY guy!
  • having food to eat (and amazing choices at that; avocados, guacamole, mexican food, pasta, salad, cereal, chai teas, and so much more!)
  • beautiful sunrises and sunsets
  • an amazing doggy that keeps me company and snuggles me up and entertains me
  • friends that take the extra time to keep in touch 
  • good neighbors (especially Cricket whose yard is a mess thanks to us & the new neighbors Lisa & Aaron for hosting us to a dinner a day after meeting us!)
  • a supportive group of colleagues in my UW writing program
  • cameras and their technology, allowing me to document life 
I could go on and on.
I just asked Phil what he is thankful for. It went like this:
House, Charlie, you, job, that's it....family, friends
Remember....he's more nature than nurture :-)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Space heaters, extension cords, microwavable food...oh my!

Phil & I had our first "remodel fight" on Friday. I was supposed to help him fish wires down the walls so that we could reconnect the new power supply to get normal lighting in our bedroom & office. I gave up. Unless we are going to have the money to pay for large dental & chiropractic bills, I should not be fishing wires in a remodel situation. I started grinding my teeth in frustration (which I used to do a lot, but never since being with Phil). It was not good. Bottom line...we recovered and repositioned my assistance to cleaning. I took my job seriously and on Saturday morning got out the gloves & shop vac and vacuumed for about 2 and a half hours. I also took all of our clothes to the laundromat since our washer has been disconnected (& it was falling apart anyways). I had not been looking forward to doing coin operated laundry, but it actually was such a great experience! The laundromat was nicely heated and instead of spending two days doing lots of loads of laundry at home, I just loaded four washers right up, read & grabbed a Zats bagel while I waited, then switched it all into two dryers, left to run errands, and was back in an hour...all the laundry done!
The rest of the weekend went well. Krista & Peter surprised us with a nice trip to our neck of the woods to grab a bite to eat & see the progress on the house. Saturday night, Susan came to join us for dinner and a night at the symphony (which is my new favorite thing!).
Today, Jon came over again to help out (so thankful for him!). He and Phil moved our furnace from the attic to the crawl space. I only had to help maneuver it once and we are that much closer to getting some heat in this freezer!
Another cool thing about doing a large remodel...a lot of our neighbors have been showing up to observe and say hi. Once we get things into a little more livable condition around here and the weather gets back to spring or summer, I am going to plan some kind of block party or gathering.
temporary power situation in the bathroom

new windows in our bedroom

new window in the front bedroom

The beanie beard wearing boys & charlie

Krista (3 weeks away from meeting baby Isaac!) heatin up

insulation before siding; plus new windows in the front

insulation & window trim on the side of the house

starting to get some hardi shake up in the eaves!

this is the stuff that caused me my worst night of sleep ever on Wednesday

Jon helping Phil move the furnace

Stocking up on snacks, microwave food, beer, & warm beverages.

Friday, November 18, 2011

It gets worse before it gets better!

We are definitely in the "it gets worse" phase. I have found out what things I am really not willing to live without in life. The two that come to mind are normal functioning electricity and heat. The third would be the use of a basic stove and oven. Luckily we still have our fridge and freezer functioning, otherwise I'm sure I'd discover the necessity of that too. I am trying not to trip over all the extension cords and cords plugged in all over the place to keep life somewhat normal (which it's not). My husband is wonderful and has done such a great job that I feel bad for acting like this is so tough sometimes. He has been working on our house for hours after coming home from work. He has great patience and vision, which keeps me going.

I have been feeling so "jappy" (Jewish American Princess like) or like a spoiled Californian girl. Although, I did bust out some "get it done" behavior the night before last when the aluminum tin foil substance that was exposed (they removed the old siding) kept flapping around, crinkling and making noise in the powerful wind storm that we had. I could not sleep at all (which is rare. I am a very good sleeper!), so around 2 or 3 in the morning I went outside in my PJ's and slippers with a flashlight and began yanking the foil off of the house, cussing the whole way! haha. It was quite the adrenaline rush. Yesterday, luckily, they put some insulation stuff on the outside of the house so that we didn't have the same problem.
Trying to channel this behavior. Tonight I will help Phil try to finish reconnecting the electrical in our bedroom, office, and bathroom.

So it's not that bad, but there are moments where it feels like it! ha!

This whole process has made me really appreciate what it is like to live with less. I keep thinking about homeless families or families with old homes that fall apart and don't have the resources to fix them. I will be donating more to those causes from now on, that's for sure.

I will post more photos of the house this weekend when I can take photos in the daylight (which I don't see much of anymore). All of the new windows are in and they even starting trimming out the windows on part of the house, which looks awesome!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Feels like winter already!

Let's just say that without our space heater, you can see your breath in here. This morning, I tripped the breaker since I tried to run the space heater and my hair dryer from the same electrical outlet. haha. I guess I should know better since I'm married to an electrician.
The roofers are finishing up, the windows are almost all in, and the plumber has been setting up drains for the new sink location and the new shower and the new laundry area.
All this as I am dreaming of ways to stay out in the warmth of some other building..anywhere but home!
The crazy cool sunlight and stormy weather on veterans day last Friday

a door I considered. haha!
the front door we purchased (dental shelf not pictured)


The first Hail of the season, with frost already white many mornings

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Achy breaky business

This stuff is tough! I'm so sore and achy! After helping Phil with demo two days in a row, the muscles in my shoulders, arms, back, and butt are so sore! I almost have callouses on my hands! Poor Phil ran into the fan that he'd placed in the window and now he has a huge bump on his forehead! The three day weekend was nice. On Friday, I met up with my friend, Krista, for tea in Ballard. It was poring rain! I spent the rest of the day doing report cards at Tully's on Alki. I cannot believe it is almost conference week. The rest of the weekend involved meeting with a guy about potential cabinets (the quote comes on Wednesday), ordering a better front door than the one we had first got (the windows looked so horrible in it! It was ridiculous. You definitely get what you pay for and we had tried to go cheap on the front door. We won't make that mistake again. Now we just have to put the first door up on Craigslist), buying our farmers sink at IKEA, and cleaning up the job site and doing the demo around our bedroom and living room windows (the new windows will be installed this week and since we are not just swapping out for the same size windows, we had to demo some more of the lath and plaster walls). Here is a look at some of the work around the house.
prepping the room to keep the dust off our bed & furniture

new windows in the new kitchen!

the ugly first door & the windows installed for our new master bedroom!

the french doors to our new bedroom pre-installation


room to grow! Possible small upper level room if we ever want to way down the road

the product of our demolition on the lath and plaster walls making way for new windows

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Part Vegetarian: All Flexitarian

I'll be the first to admit it. I love meat. I like my steaks rare. I do not have a problem with killing and eating animals. I do have a problem when it is not done in a sustainable, environmentally friendly, somewhat humane way. The more that I learn about the industrial food industry, the more it truly disgusts me. Ignorance is not bliss. Does this mean that everyone should turn around and instantly become vegan? I think not. Instead, it means that we need to educate ourselves about our food choices. People....this conversation ties directly into so many other important conversations...Being Green and saving our environment, the health care problem, healthy lifestyles, and more. Am I trying to dress in a suit and tie and ride my bike door to door to proselytize vegetarianism or even flexitarianism? No. Does it mean that I am voting with my wallet and with the daily and weekly choices I make with my food consumption? Yes.

The following books and movies have educated me & inspired me:






So, with this new look on life we either shop at the West Seattle Farmers Market or at PCC. We were getting awesome fresh produce from Full Circle Farms, but unfortunately we couldn't eat our box quick enough and food was being wasted, so we stopped.





If we go out to eat, I'll either eat vegetarian or research restaurants with sustainable/local/good practices (a.k.a. non industrial food industry supporters). These are some of our favorite local ones:
Circa; West Seattle (Admiral)
both the Circa Burger & Lamb Burger are amazing, but their butternut squash tacos, fries, & mashed potatoes are subject for long smile filled conversations

Zeeks Pizza; West Seattle (Fauntleroy)
The Veggie Thai and Tree Hugger are scrumptious

A Terrible Beauty; new pub in West Seattle (The Junction)
The Grilled Cheese (feta, basil, sourdough, tomato, onions!) and the house salad (humus, sunflower seeds, oranges, vinagrette, and more!)

Pioneer Coffee; West Seattle (Alki)
Best seats inside & out, yummy chai's, coffee or wine or beer! Best view!

Chipotle; Downtown Seattle, Issaquah, & Southcenter Mall
Yes this is a chain, but they buy local and keep it fresh and yummy

Portage Bay Cafe: South Lake Union
Fresh fruit topping bar with pancakes or french toast. Best tofu scrambles. EVERYTHING here is good!

These are some of the reasons why we love it here!