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Happy Valentine’s Day

14 Feb

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Love, ishi!

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Having an Epiphany!

6 Jan

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany. It’s not a holiday we celebrate, but it usually means it’s time for the Christmas decorations to come down… Due to our exterior reno, (originally to be completed by Dec. 24th), we were a bit late putting up our decorations. We didn’t want anything being in the way of or getting destroyed by construction. However, after the roof was completed there were some delays due to weather, and as the schedule was super tight to get done by the 24th, we decided to push the rest of the project back until after New Years.

Anyway, point is, we weren’t in any big rush for our decos to come down just yet, especially since a big snow storm made everything look extra festive! BUT, just as the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is coming down today, so are the majority of our decorations so nothing will be in harm’s way for the big window install which is, believe it our not, TOMORROW!!!

We actually took down the exterior lights near and on the house yesterday in the rain because we thought they were coming today, but they pushed back another day due to rain today. Once we heard there was another weather delay we took the rest of the day off & are now scrambling to de-deocrate the interior. Our tree, which is still looking great, won’t be in the way of construction, so that can stay up at least until the weekend! We’re very happy about that since  we weren’t quite ready to part with it yet!

Here’s a shot of our beautiful 2013 tree we cut down ourselves at Maple Row Tree Farm in Easton, CT!

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And a little panoramic pic Jer shot of the exterior after the big snow storm:

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Merry Little Christmas!

7 Jan

And Happy 2013!!

Yesterday was Little Christmas, the unofficial end of the holiday season. As always, the holidays whizzed by! Ours were filled with great food, lots of family, friends, and some fun adventures!

We’ve begun the process of removing all traces of holiday festiveness from our house (so as to not be “those people” in the neighborhood with the lights up until June!). Fortunately it was pretty warm this weekend, so taking all of our lights down outside wasn’t too tough. It was nice to get that task out of the way, but a bit sad coming home to a dark house. We ended up being busier than expected this weekend though, so it’s still a Christmas wonderland inside! The wonderland’s days are numbered though, especially since we have a real tree that’s steadily losing it’s needles!

Which brings me to the gist of this post… our Christmas tree! I was planning on writing about our tree cutting adventure back when we got in in early December, but that weekend really kicked off the holiday craziness and our blogging-time was limited!

This year we went to Maple Row Tree Farm  in Easton, CT. Seems a bit crazy to drive all the way to CT for a tree, but the place we’ve gone in years past was a bit sparse last year, so we wanted to try some place new. Plus Jer and I are always up for a fun road trip, and it just so happens that one of our favorite road-trip stops, Super Duper Weenie, is also en route, more or less, to Maple Row! (side note: To our surprise, the Super Duper Weenie truck was actually AT Maple Row when we arrive, but it was only for a private event!)

Maple Row

When we arrived we were a bit taken back by the large numbers of people we saw (I should mention we heard about this place via billboard in CT). Fortunately the farm is divided up into several different areas, so we were able to avoid the crowds! This place is huge, with acres and acres of all different types of trees from which to choose. After wandering around for a while, we came upon what we believe was a Balsam Fir, a.k.a. the picture perfect tree!

Maple Row actually lets YOU cut the tree down yourself, which we were really excited about since the place we used to go would only let their skilled professionals do the chopping. It was not an easy task (I tried some sawing), but Jer got our tree down, we had it bundled, and were headed home shortly after to decorate it.. at least that was the plan.

Choppin

treeheaded home

It wasn’t too chilly that weekend, so when we got home sprung into action to we put up all our outdoor lights. With a few new additions to our lighting scheme, we were working on the lights until after dark..

The tree stood unadorned in our living room for a good week until we got to decorate it, but once we did it was quite lovely and the centerpiece of our indoor holiday decor!!

Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas!

25 Dec

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A Happy 4th of July

5 Jul

It was a very happy 4th of July for us because we reached a huge milestone on our deck build. We finished laying down all the decking. This has been a long, arduous task, and finishing it was starting to seem like a horizon we would never reach.
Reaching our goal yesterday was due, in no small part, to the help of my brother Chris, who donated most of his day to us. With him staying ahead of us pre-drilling all the holes we were really able to pick up the pace big time. It was also a huge relief as we got to last 5 or 6 rows to be able to stand on the ground to work instead of crawling around on my knees. That made for much more comfortable and speedy work. As expected, it got really hot so we put up 3 pop-up tents over the whole area we working in, which really helped us stay cool, or at least less hot and not sunburned.

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Corinne even brought out a box fan to help keep the air flowing.

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Life under the tents was pretty sweet, and we all had our hats on to keep our heads shaded whenever we did peak out from the tents.

We went like gang busters all morning but we did have to stop for lunch eventually, despite our desire to keep the momentum going. After replenishing we got back to work and kept going until around 5PM. We had it in the back of our minds that we would have to deal with the end of the deck not meeting up exactly with the end of the framing. What we decided to do, rather than ripping down the last board and finishing off with a partial board was to figure out where the last full board would end and cut the framing to match that. We pulled off the rim joist so we could cut all the joists to allow the rim joist to land flush with the edge of the last board. Initially I wanted to mark where the last board would end up and then measure back an inch and a half to allow for the thickness of the rim joist. Instead, Chris came up with the idea of making a template to mark all the joists, all we did was figure out the width of the deck board, plus the gap minus 1.5. I ripped a piece of plywood down to that width and we slid that along to mark each joist. Then we took the lines and transferred them to the sides of the joist with a square so we could cut it with the saw. Luckily we were able to fit the 18Volt Dewalt circular saw in to make the cuts so we could make quick work of cutting all 29 joists.

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It might not look it but I was like a shake a bake chicken by the end of this, I was sweaty to begin with so my arms and face were covered with sawdust completely, Corinne brought me some wet paper towels so I could wipe down and I had to go for a fresh shirt too.
So, the decking is all down now and the end of the joists are ready to receive the new rim joist that will fit flush to the edge to line up perfectly with the cladding we intend to apply around the outside of the deck. The cladding and the stairs are the next orders of business so that’s where our attention will be focused next. But, for now, we’re pretty pleased to look out and instead of seeing plywood or framing, we can see nothin’ but deck!

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¡Felize Cinco de Mayo!

5 May

We’re celebrating the holiday with a freshly made batch of guacamole (first of the season!) and some cervezas after a long day of landscaping, a trip to Home Depot, and another to Lowes!

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Cheers to the Happy Couple!

25 Feb

Today is my brother Tim and his fiancée Chinar’s engagement party, and this is just a quick note to congratulate them and offer our best wishes for their future together. I’m looking forward to having Chinar as my sister-in-law and I know the rest of us welcome her to our family, just as her family welcomes Tim.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

14 Feb

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Christmas Lights Last Hurrah

16 Jan

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It started to snow tonight and it actually stuck a little, which is the first chance we got see our Christmas lights in any kind of snow. We were going to take them down today but decided not to because it was so cold and we wanted to do some couch shopping.

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Tree B Gone

10 Jan

Well, we did miss the Chip-A-Tree event on Saturday, but we got all the decorations off and last night we took the lights off after dinner. We had seen a number of our neighbors had put their trees curb side so we decided we’d try our luck too. So, we pulled all the lights off and unscrewed the stand and out the front door he went.

It really was sad to see our tree go, he really brought a lot of Christmas cheer to our home!

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Here’s our last view of the tree with a bunch of bins and boxes of decorations packed up.