Another snow day!

The boys are stuck at home with another snow day. This morning Will planned out our day so we didn’t just sit around and play video games all day. This morning Will and I went for a walk with the dogs in the early snow. After the walk we cleaned the house and the boys played Minecraft for a while. Now Will and Susanna are cooking lunch while Ben and I take it easy.

This afternoon the boys will get more screen time, though Ben and I will head to the workshop to build shelves.

Will walking ahead in the falling snow this morning.

Will walking ahead in snow this morning.

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Storm Damage

We have (or rather had) two large hydrangea trees in the front of the house on either side of the old stairs down to the road. The northern of the two trees was in pretty poor shape after some storm damage over the last two years, and the wet snow this weekend finished it. So we are left with one large tree in the front of the house.

It is a bummer – the trees provided some privacy on the front porch (with the house being so close to the road. But on the other side, they are large and block the view of the front of the house. So this is an opportunity to redo the landscaping in the front of the house. Susanna and I like the idea of a shrub/tree on either side of the stairs, but we have to pick one that won’t get large and the roots won’t destroy the wall. Does anyone have any suggestions on trees/shrubs?

The front of the house with the remaining hydrangea tree. It is rather large and may be worth taking down in the spring - depending on what we decide to replace the other tree with.

The front of the house with the remaining hydrangea tree. It is rather large and may be worth taking down in the spring – depending on what we decide to replace the other tree with. You can see the broken tree cut up on the right side of the stairs. We will need to fix (or remove) the handrail going down the stairs and do some repairs to the stairs this summer.

Another view of the front of the house. The house is very close to the road, so it limits what we can plant there.

Another view of the front of the house. The house is very close to the road, so it limits what we can plant there.

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Snow Day!

Preston canceled school yesterday – we had a storm blow through during the day dumping 5-8 inches of snow on us and turning the roads into a slushy slippery mess. The boys came over in the morning and spend a lot of time just hanging out, watching some TV and playing Minecraft for a while.

In the afternoon the boys and I went outside. First for a snowball fight and then sledding.

Will ready for sledding.

Will ready for sledding.

Ben after crashing into a tree.

Ben after crashing into a tree.

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Enjoying the warm weather

Jackets, shoes and socks off – a crazy warm last day of January. The boys and I headed into the woods for a short hike this morning.     

 

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Book Display Shelves – Installed

Last weekend, Susanna and I installed the book display shelves in the nursery. They turned out nice enough, that I have to build more shelves for above the changing table. That at least gives me something to do on a snowy Saturday.

Book display shelves installed in the corner of the nursery.

Book display shelves installed in the corner of the nursery.

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A slow Sunday morning

Benjamin and Tucker enjoying the sun before heading out to the Book Barn in Niantic.  

Ben and Tucker

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Book display shelf or two (pine finished with shellac)

As Susanna’s due date approaches we are pushing to get the last few projects ready for the nursery. One of the projects that Susanna wanted was a way to display books – an idea taken from a Pinterest idea that re-purposed a wooden spice rack to display books.

I reclaimed some pine that had been used for shelves in Will’s old room and built two shelves. The shelves are 18″ long with the back around 6″ tall. I milled the pine to 1/2″ in thickness and cut the parts. The shelves were assembled using glue, screws (for attaching the sides to the back where they wouldn’t be seen) and cut nails (where visible).

I finished the first in time for Christmas. Susanna helped me assemble the second one today. They will both be finished with clear shellac. Both took no more than a few hours to complete.

Book display made from pine and finished with clear shellac.

Book display made from pine and finished with clear shellac.

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Reflections on 2015

A year ago I sat down and put down some goals for the year. Of course I didn’t revisit them very often during the year – so some were replaced with other projects/goals. How did I do?

For the workshop:

1.Build at least one piece of furniture

I built a charging station, toolboxes and a bunch of smaller projects. However, I didn’t tackle any furniture this year – nothing seemed pressing to build.

2.Finish the toy boxes

I got the three boxes built and delivered. I was going to replace the roof on two of them, but I didn’t get around to it.

3. Improve insulation and replace the front door to the shop.

This is still on my list… maybe it would be easier if I just got a prehung exterior door to finish the project.

4. Finish one wall and improve organization.

I have improved the organization and rearranged the shop. I haven’t yet completely finished a wall – my original plans had to change when the guy I used to get pine from stopped cutting lumber – so now I’m thinking of using plywood.

5. Replace the bulkhead walls on the sailboat.

I didn’t get a chance to do the bulkhead before putting the boat on the water, and I sold the boat after the season, so this didn’t get done.

For the house:

1. Finish the mud room/laundry room

Finished!

2. Build cubbies for the mud room.

We decided to not build the cubbies.  It is still on my list to build someday.

3. Add switches and outlets to the master bedroom.

I did this, we even switched bedrooms with Will.

4. Reorganize and clean the basement.

Not done.

5. Finish re-plumbing the house with PEX.

I added some PEX, but didn’t completely re-plumb the house.

6. Add grape vines and blueberry bushes to the back yard and clean up the netting for the berries.

We added some grapes, but no more blueberries. We didn’t do netting this summer, so that is still on my list.

With the family:

1. Go on vacation to Mexico.

Done! And we had a great time.

2. Go to Sweden for Sofia’s wedding.

Done! It was a great trip and a perfect wedding.

3. Road trip to St. Louis to visit family.

Done! A great family trip.

4. Get out overnight on the sailboat.

Done! However I didn’t get out sailing as much as I thought last year, and we decided to sell the boat with a baby coming and probably limited time for sailing for the next couple of years.

Do more hikes/bike rides with the family.

Done! We did lots of rides with the boys and walks, but not too much hiking.

Spend less time playing on electronics and more time enjoying life.

Hmm… I’ll have to ask Susanna on this one.

Personal Goals:

1. Exercise more.

I think I was more active this year than last year, but of course I can still improve.

2. If the opportunity opens up, sail to Block Island again.

It didn’t work out for this year – maybe next year on someone else’s boat.

3. Keep finishing projects (Damn you ADHD).

I don’t think I did too bad at this – of course it is still a struggle. Starting projects is way more fun than finishing them.

4. Another year of blogging.

I struggled at this a bit this year. I think I had a lot going on, and it is difficult for me to keep writing when too much is going on.

5. Print blog books for both boys and for myself.

I didn’t get around to this yet.

I think that overall this was a pretty good year. A lot of plans changed when we found out Susanna was pregnant last summer. We added a house project (renovating the nursery) and work got busy in the fall. I think I did better with the family goals (family and house) and not as good with my personal goals (workshop and personal).

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Getting ready for Isabella (progress on the nursery)

We have been working on redoing the nursery since Thanksgiving. Today we made a big step. We finished the painting and added the light and switch. Granted, we are still a bit ready for the room to be ready, but at least now Susanna can start decorating it for real (instead of just in her mind). Another bonus is being able to get the furniture stored in the hallway and our bedroom out.

It is nice to get a project finished. Not that it is totally finished, but the part that I was responsible for is done – Susanna had been waiting on me to finish so she could start to decorate. One less project on my list to carry over to the new year.

Tucker enjoying the new room.

Tucker enjoying the new room.

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Christmas Morning Fog!

The boys are with their mom this Christmas. Susanna and I are enjoying a quiet Christmas morning and will go to my uncle’s house for dinner this afternoon and I plan to work on the nursery a little bit later this morning – it is time to get the last two pieces of trim in and install the light.

The warm rainy weather yesterday turned into fog overnight and a beagle that refused to go out and go pee before bed last night got me up at sunrise to enjoy the early morning fog.

Targa and the sunrise on a foggy and warm Christmas morning.

Targa and the sunrise on a foggy and warm Christmas morning.

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