Saturday, January 28, 2012

Insulation is a hard word to understand...

I talked to both my mom and brother this week on the phone. Both had a very hard time hearing the word insulation. The conversations both went something like this: "What are you up to this weekend?" "Well, Phil got his electrical inspection and it passed, so now he is just working on the insulation." "The what?" "The insulation." "He's installing what?" "No...the INSULATION!" "One more time, this phone must not be working right." "Phil is working on the know, for warming up our house before he can do sheet rock!" "Oh! The insulation!" Ahhh...cell phone technology. Certain words just remain difficult to hear clearly and I don't blame my family. So, as I said, our electrical inspection passed on the first try, which is very exciting since Phil worked so hard the last week and a half or more to wire the whole house, pretty much by himself. Phil put me in charge of measuring and ordering the insulation, which was delivered Tuesday, so if we run out or have way too much...we know why! I shouldn't be put in charge of things like measuring!
Insulation on our bedroom exterior walls

Stephanie helping Phil with some duct/vent situation in the attic

bags of both blown in and bat insulation

Blown In bags...lots of work to do!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Re-Organizing our Zone of Chaos (plus SNOW!)

I have been getting very easily frustrated with the chaos that our living situation has become. While I still know that we are very lucky to be able to do this project and eat out and even to have access to microwaveable food, I can't help but get annoyed. Mostly, I am a pretty organized person and this remodel hasn't allowed me to keep tidy and organized. To try to satisfy that need, I began reorganizing my classroom the other day, which definitely helped. Since I did have a mini breakdown the other day regarding lost pots and pans (which ended up being right here in the house and not in the piles of boxes in the garage that I searched through), I decided that I would find a way to try to re-organize our "pantry" stuff in the living room. Thanks to a shipment of new Tupperware containers from my mom and to Stephanie's help, we sorted many pantry items such as our sugars and flours into containers and started from scratch placing most used items on the top shelf to infrequent or bulky items on the bottom. We stored away many less used baking items into our media center (since we were not watching movies or playing board games, I boxed them up and sent them to the garage). Here are some highlights from the weekend:
beginning of the organization frenzy
organized products

We can cook on a stove again!
Last week we got to see baby Isaac again...I can't not include this photo since he is too cute!

This weekend my parents were in town & my mom helped me sew. More on our project soon. snowed this weekend! Our remodel looks like a winter wonderland!

Monday, January 9, 2012

All about you!

Now that I have surpassed my 2000th view on this blog, I thought it would be wonderful to learn about my readers. Please, don't be shy. Tell me a bit about yourself. What do you enjoy about GrowingSoundRoots? What would you like to hear more about (or what should I skip) in the future?! Leave your comments immediately below. I would appreciate it! And...thanks so much for reading!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Shoemaker's kids... A Week of Wiring

I'm not good at remembering sayings and cliches, but I always remembered my mom saying, "It might be like the shoemakers family. He works all day on shoes, so by the time it comes to making them for his family, he's too tired to work on more shoes." Or something like that. I always secretly wondered if Phil would be like that...the Electrician's family with only minimal electricity. Luckily, as this remodel has proved, that is the opposite case. Phil is rigging up outlets everywhere & putting fancy can lights in each room. We will have dimmers on every light. He is going to put a heated floor in our master bath. We have pendants & Chandeliers & cans & sconces & accent lighting. He has thought of all the right pathways so that you will not be searching for a switch that is not there. He is doing the doorbell, the exterior lights, smoke detectors, and more. It is so amazing to see the intricacies of his electrical knowledge. Of course, most of the time I have no idea what he is telling me, but sometimes I can follow for long enough to be really impressed. Phil has spent all this week doing electrical work & has a few more days to go. I am so thankful for his ambition, motivation, and follow through. I am also thankful that he doesn't expect me to help too much.
kitchen lights, outdoor light, hallway light, kitchen pendant
wires wires everywhere
Susan & Stephanie helped Phil create this situation for all the TV DVD cables

Steph spent all weekend digging a hole in the crawl space for the sump pump! We'll call it her rent. ;-)

Phil even got the Wedgewood stove's gas connected

real we come again...finally!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A baby, A Few Friends, & a Butterfly

During this winter break there were a few non-family, non-holiday, non-house related goings ons with the Vrbas'. We went up to Woodinville with our friends Anna & Ryan to see Krista and Peter and meet baby Isaac! He was of course so adorable. We are looking forward to spending lots of time with the little guy.
Isaac and "Uncle Phil"!

Anna and Isaac

Isaac's a popular kiddo!

Ryan and Isaac
 I missed a photo of Isaac with his parents, but I did snap two funny ones of Peter pretend breast feeding and Phil playing along with it.

For New Years Eve, we spent a very awesome, low key night walking up to the Junction with our friends Mike, Jeff & Steph (in town from Missoula) and partying at A Terrible Beauty & Talaricos. While it was a bit of an effort for most of us to make it to midnight, we did...and then left by about 12:15. Haha! The next day we took Jeff & Stephanie to brunch at Portage Bay Cafe and then over to the Pacific Science Center so Jeff could relive his childhood dreams. It was a nice way to start 2012.
Mikey, Steph, Jeff, & Phil cheers on the job site

this could have been circa'd almost never guess this is 2012

Steph and Jeff liked Portage Bay

and what a gorgeous New Years Day! 2012 looks bright!

In the IMAX...a tornado movie

May you spread your wings in 2012

Monday, January 2, 2012


I've always loved the song that Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof sings, "Tradition!" His deep bellow of a song gives such depth and importance to the word.

As the New Year begins, I've been thinking about traditions a lot. I am currently reading Gretchen Rubin's "The Happiness Project" and in it she also thinks about traditions and how they provide connection and predictability, provide anticipation, security, and continuity and mark the passage of time in a happy way.

When I was younger, I was a stickler for tradition. I loved every little bit of Christmas and Hanukkah to be the same. The same people had to be there, the same music, the same food, and more. We had to listen to Christmas music while driving to Turlock for Christmas Eve. We had to deck the halls with holly, not put holly in a vase in the living room. We had to go to In N Out Burger on the way home (after stopping to see Christmas Tree Lane). We had to have Uncle Herms latka's at Hanukkah and had to put on a Hanukkah play. There were many like these, even for things non-holiday related like going to my cabin in Twain Harte. We had to pet the fake horsie tree on the way to get slurpees from 7-11 before going on a creek walk.

As I got older and my priorities shifted along with priorities of other family members, plus the availability of time and the additional distance from said traditions, some began to fall by the wayside. As I begin a new year, my fourth one in Seattle, I have realized that I am left with very few traditions and it is time for Phil & I to start some of our own. While we still light the menorah for Hanukkah and practice Christmas and Thanksgiving traditions every other year depending on which family "gets us" for the holidays, we need to create some Seattle specific traditions. One that we have begun is going to see the Gingerbread Village each year at the Sheraton downtown. We go to Pioneer coffee on Alki when it is super rainy and gloomy and we have nothing else to do.

I'd love to incorporate some traditions that others do and also create some Seattle specific traditions. What traditions does your family have? Do you have any Pacific Northwest specific traditions?
I'd love to feature a few traditions in a future blog post if you'd let me. :-) Just email or add your words to the comments section below.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

2011 was full of good times, good jobs (with steady work), adventures, & many special occasions. Here are some of the highlights in photos:
Ringing in 2011 with Cassie & Andrew in the Bay Area

Time with our moms

Good Dinners with friends and family

Some great hikes like Mt. Si

Visiting Morgan & Mandy in Boston

Giants Spring Training in Arizona with the family

My surprise birthday trip to San Diego

Getting to celebrate my sister Jen & her fiance Alan (& meet his family)

Celebrating Jen's last single days at a fun San Fran bachelorette

Celebrating Dave & Derek's 30th golf birthday in Couer d'Alene
Kindergarten Graduation

Fourth of July with Krista & Peter at their cabin

spending time with my cousin Elizabeth and her daughter Lulu & fam

Giants baseball in SF

On the field during 49ers PreSeason practice

Being Matron of Honor at my sister Jen's wedding in July!

Spending time with Mikey & Skyler

And Tyrell & Kloe

Watching Jeff marry Steph (& Phil be a groomsmen)

The Hedlund Family Reunion in Idaho in August (Phil's mom's fam.)

Celebrating Leslie's last days as a single lady in Suncadia

Getting some QT with Cassie & Andrew when they lived up here for a short time

some QT with Krista and Peter before baby Isaac arrived

Leslie & Kurt's South Lake Union wedding
Phil's big Thirsty 30 Birthday weekend with our families and friends

Time with the ladies on mom & Gramma's Seattle trip

Beginning of the remodel

Time with the cousins
  • Welcoming babies of friends & family in 2011...Danica Neiderman, Will Russo, Ellie Cholas, Isaac Richardson
We hope  know that 2012 brings will bring more  fun, adventures, and blessings for our friends, family, and selves. This remodel will prove to consume much of 2012, but I'm sure we will sneak in many more surprises and plans too. We already have two Bat Mitzvahs, a Bar Mitzvah, and a friend's wedding on schedule.

Some resolutions goals for 2012:
  • Spend more time with our siblings...a trip to Denver?
  • Keep our remodel a priority
  • Photograph more
  • Improve my blogging 
  • Stay passionate about work
  • Laugh each day
  • Be silly
  • Speak up
What are your highlights from last year? What goals or resolutions did you make for 2012? Let me know here in the comments section!

Also a big thank you to everyone reading for reading my blog! It means a lot to me. I'd like to expand my audience this year, so if you find it interesting and think someone else you know would also find it interesting...let them know about us!