All posts by Lauren

The House, part 2

Here are some pictures of our house as it is today (sans baby items that are starting to take over everywhere). These make me realize how we never got around to painting anything differently than the way it started, except the nursery!

Living room from inside the front door
Living room from inside the front door
Eating area into the kitchen
Eating area into the kitchen
Kitchen
Kitchen
Downstairs bathroom (it's a jack-and-jill with another toilet/sink on the other side of the shower)
Downstairs bathroom (it’s a jack-and-jill with another toilet/sink on the other side of the shower)
Guest room
Guest room

 

Our room
Our room
Nursery
Nursery – curtains, bedskirts and pillow sewn by my mom and tree decals painstakingly put up by Joel
Nursery
Nursery

 

 

 

 

 

The House

*I wrote this 6 months ago but never posted it for some reason? Post with completion pictures to follow…

We began looking for a house in September 2010 but weren’t having luck. In May 2011, I found a post on Craigslist about a house being renovated down the street. It sounded promising, so we checked it out. Although it was gutted, it seemed like it had more potential than anything else we had seen, so we went under contract. As the months passed, nothing happened. Our closing date (originally July 2011) got pushed back a few times as nothing and nothing and nothing happened. We were buying it from a lady who was flipping it, and everything basically fell apart for her. We felt very sad for her in the process, but a lot of the problems were because she hired a less-than-honest and non-licensed contractor to do the job (we didn’t know this until after). It got to the point that she couldn’t complete the project, so we bought it from her as-is. We didn’t get a steal because of her loan situation, but it still seemed like a good option. We  finally closed in November 2011.

We then hired our own contractors to begin/complete the project, and we were we glad we did! They said the work the previous guy had done was the worst work they had ever seen, and it all had to be ripped down. Overall, the project turned into a bit of a nightmare for most everyone involved, mainly because of an improper bid and some misunderstandings. Regardless of all of that, we moved in March 2012, 10 months after going under contract. What a year! The house has some issues of course, but overall we are happy to be here and have had a great first year.

Here are some pictures of the renovation, starting with what it looked like when we went under contract.

When we went under contract
When we went under contract – she’s a beaut!
Upstairs room add-on by the fake contractor
Upstairs room add-on by the fake contractor
Inside the house: future eating area and kitchen.
Inside the house: future eating area and kitchen.
The back, once our contractors got started. They tore off the other guy's work and had to rebuild the back room on the bottom because it wasn't up to fire codes.
The back, once our contractors got started. They tore off the other guy’s work and had to rebuild the back room on the bottom because it wasn’t up to fire codes. And yes, snow got in the house! To the right are trusses ordered by the fake contractor that don’t even fit the house.

 

Work inside - new hole cut to move the cellar stairs.
Work inside – new hole cut to move the cellar stairs.
Work inside - building the stairs
Work inside – building the stairs (extreme math project for someone)
Work inside - Joel standing by the frame of the back bedroom window
Work inside – Joel standing by the frame of the back bedroom window

 

Work inside - hardwood on the stairs
Work inside – hardwood on the stairs (more math)
Work inside - hardwood in the kitchen
Work inside – hardwood in the kitchen

 

Work inside - tiling the upstairs bathroom
Work inside – tiling the upstairs bathroom

 

The brick is scraped, the old porch is ripped off, and the new porch is framed
The brick is scraped, the old porch is ripped off, and the new porch covering is framed
Planting our new tree in April!
Planting our new tree in April! (before we fixed the grass behind us)

 

 

Babies Update

We haven’t been doing too much lately that is picture worthy (at least me sitting on the couch doesn’t seem too exciting), so I thought I’d post an update on the kiddies, size-wise at least. And I’m sitting down because my feet are tired, and I’ve apparently run out of other things to do on the internet.

Baby A – 1lb, 13oz

Baby B – 1lb, 8oz

That’s as of our appointment on Thursday. Everything is looking good so far, so we feel very blessed (I’m hitting 25 weeks this weekend). We’ve been working on nursery stuff as well as our back yard, so I’ll have pictures of those at some point. Also, we do have some ultrasound pictures, but I can’t tell what 90% of them are supposed to show (oh, there’s his hand in front of his face! oh really? I can’t see that at all. All I can see is more blurry stuff!).

Isla Mujeres

Back in the fall, we decided to take a trip to celebrate my upcoming 30th birthday. As you may know, we are also having twins! (boys!) When we found out, we decided it should be a “babiesmoon” too. For the first time in the history of Joel and Lauren, we selected a warm, relaxing location…it did sound fun, but of course our typical adventure/sightseeing trips weren’t going to fit the bill for me this time anyway.

We decided we didn’t want to do a resort, so we ended up in Isla Mujeres, Mexico (island off the coast of Cancun) using extra frequent flyer miles from what we saved for our South America trip. We had a wonderful time relaxing on the beach and exploring the island. There was a number of people with kids there, so who knows? Maybe we’ll be back one day.

Our trip began at Nautibeach on the north end of the island, which boasts the downtown and popular Playa Norte beach. We rented a golf cart mid-trip and explored the rest of the island, transitioning to stay at Lolo Lorena’s, an eclectic bed and breakfast. Lolo is a a chef and made the most fabulous breakfasts! We were the only guests there, and she was very attentive and thoughtful to my pregnancy. We explored the southern tip of the island’s rocky coast and went snorkeling one day. The trip was filled with lovely food experiences, beautiful weather, and lots of sunscreen and umbrella time (our biggest goal was to not get burned!).

And…our twins are apparently growing like crazy because I am getting huge!

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Mankins Visit

In January, our dear friends the Mankins came to visit us! We had a lovely time snow tubing, eating, and just having general fun. See the picture below that Joseph made: the boys got to check out the driving on ice at Georgetown Lake. A couple of people even took them for a spin!

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Christmas 2012

Is it March? Better late than never.

In December, we made the big drive south for Christmas. We had fun spending time with Matt & Erin & the girls in Dickson, my family in Nashville, and Joel’s parents in Birmingham, along with some friends sprinkled in there. We also got to see my extended family, but not surprisingly, I have no pictures. Our friends, the Mortons, were in Kansas, so we had a fun, short stay with them on the way back. We were unfortunately caught in a snowstorm the next day and had to stop an extra night, but we finally made it home!

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Other 2012 Highlights

Since there’s no way I’m going to make posts about all of these things, here are some other highlights from 2012. We did move in 2012, but I’ll actually make a post about that!

Skiing a few times, despite the bad snow year
Skiing a few times, despite the bad snow year
We went to Memphis for Rebecca's wonderful wedding
We went to Memphis for Rebecca’s wonderful wedding

 

Joel turned 30, and we had a big fiesta
Joel turned 30, and we had a big fiesta
Mom and Dad came out and conquered a difficult hike with us
Mom and Dad came out and conquered a difficult hike with us
Joel and 4 of us ladies went on a fun snow climb to the Citadel
Joel and 4 of us ladies went on a challenging snow climb to the Citadel
Matt, Erin, Evie, and Amelia came for a fun weekend
Matt, Erin, Evie, and Amelia came for a great weekend
We did round 2 of the snow climb up Kelso Ridge on Torrey's Peak with Sarah & Patrick
We did round 2 of the snow climb up Kelso Ridge on Torrey’s Peak with Sarah & Patrick
Some of our community group took a fun trip to Annie's family cabin in South Dakota over Memorial Day weekend
Some of our community group took a lovely trip to Annie’s family cabin in South Dakota over Memorial Day weekend
Fun on our block!
Fun on our block!
Although a little rusty, we brought out the old climbing gear a few times
Although a little rusty, we brought out the old climbing gear a few times
Joel's mentee, Kuatid, graduated from high school
Joel’s mentee, Kuatid, graduated from high school
We had a fun couple of days with Brittney and Dupree in the mountains
We had a fun couple of days with Brittney and Dupree in the mountains
Our 2012 garden
Our 2012 garden

 

We climbed the West Ridge of Quandary Peak...our 3rd way to climb it
We climbed the West Ridge of Quandary Peak…our 3rd way to climb it
Joel's parents visited and provided invaluable help as we and our neighbor sodded our front yards
Joel’s parents visited and provided invaluable help as we and our neighbor sodded our front yards

 

Guanella Pass provided one last chilly camping trip of the year with Sarah, Annie, and Patrick
Guanella Pass provided one last chilly camping trip of the year with Sarah, Annie, and Patrick

Heart Lake

Back in July, we took a short backpacking trip to Heart Lake. It was really the perfect length…just when I started to get tired, we arrived! After enjoying the beautiful wildflowers, we camped near Rogers Lake. We then climbed Rogers Pass to get a view of Heart Lake the next morning. From the top of the pass, you can see over to Winter Park as well as the backs of some peaks, like Mt. Bancroft.

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At Rogers Lake

Heart Lake

Rogers Pass

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New York

Back in August, we utilized frequent flyer miles and hotel points to take a 7th anniversary trip to New York. I had saved hotel points from previous jobs, and we finally made use of them! We stayed in the Tribeca neighborhood and really enjoyed our time in a more “normal,” not-so-touristy neighborhood. Here is a run-down of the things we did:

-Ate in Little Italy (I could do without Little Italy)
-Took the ferry by the Statue of Liberty and on to tour Ellis Island (it was freezing inside but so interesting)
-Visited the Irish Hunger Memorial
-Visited the 9/11 Memorial (Would not do it again – wait until it’s finished and you don’t have to go through five thousand security checkpoints)
-Ate at L’Ecole French Culinary School restaurant (during restaurant week! made it affordable)
-Went to see Wicked on Broadway
-Toured the Tenement Museum (so great!)
-Met up with our old friend Jelmore and walked around Brooklyn
-Visited Chelsea Market (neat) and the High Line park (way too crowded)
-Spent time in Central Park
-Visited the Top of the Rock observation deck at Rockefeller Center
-Ate pizza, sushi, doughnuts, pretzels, cupcakes, etc, etc…
-Spent our last morning walking around the Tribeca neighborhood

We had a great trip but each agreed that NYC for us is a place to visit only!

9/11 Memorial

9/11 Memorial

L'Ecole

At L’Ecole French Culinary School’s restaurant

At L'Ecole

At L’Ecole French Culinary School’s restaurant

Brooklyn w/ Jelmore

With Jelmore in Brooklyn

High Line park

At High Line Park

Pizza time

Eating pizza at Lombardi’s

Central Park

At Central Park

Top of the Rock

 At the Top of the Rock Observation Deck

Lima, Peru – Part 2

Finally, this post concludes our wonderful trip to South America!

We spent our last few days in the non-touristy but interesting capital of Peru: Lima. First things first…it was HOT there! I had to go to the store to buy shorts and a tank top (remember this is January). Second, since Lima is not a big tourist destination, we stood out, especially Joel. Some kids openly gawked at big blond Joel with his huge beard!

We took a highly-recommended private tour of the city, where we stopped at San Martin Square in the historic City Center.

In the middle of the plaza is the monument to San Martin, the liberator of Peru.

This is the front of the monument. Our guide told us a funny story: When the monument was being constructed, the sculptor was told to add a “llama” or flame to the top of the lady’s  head. The sculptor thought they meant llama, like the animal (which is very important in Peru), so he put the animal on her head (look closely). I’m glad they kept it.

We  saw the Lima Cathedral:

We toured the church of San Francisco and its catacombs, but you can’t take pictures inside:

This is Love Park in Miraflores, where there are lovely mosaic benches, reminiscent of Park Guell in Barcelona. The sculpture behind us (“The Kiss”) was done by Victor Delfin, the owner of the bed and breakfast where we stayed. Also right after we took this picture, some guys jumped out of a van, ran up and painted some white paint on the black part of the sculpture then ran away. We had no idea what that was about…unfortunately it seemed like vandalism.

Lima is not known for its beaches by any means, but we spent a little time at the one down below where we were staying (upper left corner). At one point, we started counting the unbelievable number of items vendors tried to sell us while we sat there. It was quite the variety.

Joel took some time and did a little mountain biking (kind of funny since we live in CO, but he loved it). Side note: Notice that Joel has no beard in this picture. He couldn’t handle the beard in the heat, so we bought clippers at a store, and he shaved it. At least we own clippers now.

We visited the Larco Museum, where we saw a large collection of Pre-Colombian art and had a lovely lunch at their cafe.

On our last night, we ventured to the very popular, almost locals-only Magic Water Circuit. This is an extremely cheap activity where you see maybe 20 large fountains lit up with different lights.  This was a fun night – a couple of girls asked to have their picture taken with us (you know, the gringos), and then later when we were looking at different areas, I found another girl getting her picture made with Joel. So funny…we figure we’re on someone’s facebook.

And thus concludes the amazing South American adventure. Special thanks to American Airlines for the free (plus taxes) flights and to Trip Advisor and random peoples’ blogs for helping us research. :)