Monday, November 30, 2015

Be the first to read the Prologue to my novel. (also, last day of NaBloPoMo!)

Here it is, Day 30. I did it! 30 days of posts in 30 days. 

Thanks for sticking with me. I like to do a special post on the last day of the challenge, sort of a celebration of my personal accomplishment, and a 'thank you' to those that have been reading along.

I thought I'd share the Prologue I wrote for my novel.

I should warn you, this is a long post. And there are no pictures for my visual friends. But it's the start of what I hope I will be able to write and finish, and finally share with everyone.



Every woman remembers the time in her life when she was at her thinnest. Maybe it was her wedding day. Or when she first moved into her own place and was living on ramen. Or perhaps it was when she was dating the guy with all the tattoos who survived on black coffee and cigarettes.

For me, I was at my thinnest in December of 2004.

I was coming off a week-long recovery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Seriously, if you’re ever looking to lose those last few pesky pounds, a stint in a hospital works wonders.

Without boring you with the details (I’ll do that later, I promise), I had discovered in October that I had cancer, and I opted for a radical surgical treatment that would hopefully eliminate the need for chemotherapy or radiation.

Prior to entering the hospital, I was in decent shape and at a normal weight. I had kicked up my workout routine over the summer as part of Operation: Wedding Prep. After all, I had to don a fancy white dress and stand up in front of everyone and recite vows in just eight short months.

My diet in the hospital consisted mostly of English Muffins, cranberry juice and a morphine drip. I spent a week wearing the uncomfortable mesh underwear that they give you (and that you can take home because who doesn’t want mesh granny panties to wear at their leisure?), and an unfashionable hospital gown 3 sizes too big. I didn’t see my reflection in a mirror for an entire week, and only stole glances at my body when the nurses forced me to go through the excruciatingly painful process of taking a shower; and even then, my eyes were usually clamped shut because I was doubled-over wincing.

On the afternoon before I was being discharged, my fiancé Rob and I were watching what felt like our 137th hour of HGTV. I was sitting up in my adjustable bed on top of the covers like a princess. I was marveling at how long my leg hair had gotten, when I took a good look at the two pasty white sticks poking out from my hospital gown. I started to massage my thigh just above my right kneecap.

“I feel like I’ve been in this bed forever,” I whined to Rob. “Do you think my muscles are going to atrophy? All that hard work I put in at the gym, then one week here and POOF, my legs stop working.”

From the love seat-turned-cot that had served as his (uncomfortable) bed for the week, Rob raised an eyebrow at me. It’s the same look he gives me when he discovers I’ve shoved over-sized items in our trash can. Or when I pretend to know anything about geography. “Um, no. I do not think your muscles are going to atrophy.”

In response I hold up one leg in the air, “Look at my calf! It’s like my skin is hanging off the bone. My muscles shrank. I may finally have skinny legs!”

I should note, that my body was not made to ever be skinny, no matter how much time and effort I put into exercise and dieting. My Italian heritage has always kept me short and curvy, especially around the hips. Prior to my surgery, I had gotten myself down to a size 4, a size I hadn’t seen since high school. So could I be thin? Sure. But I will never have a standing thigh gap.

Atrophied legs or not, the next day they sent me home with a catheter (oh what fun!) and heavy duty pain meds, and the promise that my appetite would be back soon. Oh, I could eat cheese again? And can’t exercise for 8 weeks? Nice knowing you, size 4.

My first week home was challenging, even with my senior-citizen dosage of medications I was taking every day. I was in pain in the hospital, but I had my trusty morphine drip and nurses at my beck and call. God I missed my morphine drip. We had some good times together.

Apparently when they cut your abdomen open and sew you back up, every little thing you do afterwards hurts. Sharp, excruciating pains would shoot through my body whenever I coughed, sneezed, sighed, laughed, breathed or blinked.

Three weeks into my medical leave – all of which consisted of me trying to win Ellen’s amazing holiday gift giveaways, taking short walks up and down our small street, and coming to terms with the fact that I was toting around my own urine everywhere I went – we were invited to a holiday party by one of Rob’s coworkers.

Rob looked at me expectantly. “You up to going?”

Though I was still in pain, I was moving around much better these days. Plus, the thought of hanging around with people other than myself was rather enticing.

“I have just the catheter for this party!” I exclaimed, pointing to the bag on the floor. When I left the hospital they gave me a ‘travel’ catheter that I could use if I was going to leave the house. You do a simple switcheroo with the tubes from the main catheter to this pint-sized one and then strap it to your leg and voila! Party ready.

In the last month my wardrobe consisted mainly of old sweatshirts and pajama pants –namely Rob’s pajama pants, because I could pull the tubes of my catheter through the fly hole (was I sexy or what???).

I spent an hour seated in front of my closet, reviewing what I had that would fit me. I felt festive in a red sweater (which accentuated my protruding collar bones, btw) and a new pair of winter white pants, that with my recent weight loss were baggy enough to conceal the plastic bag of urine that was strapped to my thigh. I’m not going to lie, I loved this new thinner – albeit slightly medicated – me.

We didn’t know many people at the party, which was actually a blessing because it meant just a handful of folks knew I had just undergone a radical surgery. And, thankfully, no one knew that I was secretly toting bodily fluids under my clothing.

I’m sure the party was a blast, but I had trouble letting myself enjoy it because 1. I was drinking cranberry juice and seltzer (liquor and meds don’t mix well) and 2. I was paranoid that my travel catheter was going to leak. I felt like the 13 year-old girl who had her period for the first time and was wearing white pants. I could see it now: I’m complementing the hostess, “Wow, these canapés are fantastic!” completely oblivious to the face that urine was dripping down my leg and pooling onto their hardwood floors.

After the first hour, I started to relax. I snacked on appetizers, chatted with other party goers, and felt more like myself than I had in a long time.

At some point, the party hosts’ big black lab, Sadie, made her way over to us, wiggling her tail and her whole back end, excited to meet new people.

“Well, hello, you!” I exclaimed, scratching her head and back. “Who’s a good girl?!”

Suddenly Sadie stopped wiggling, whipped her head around, gave a big sniff to the air, and shoved her snout right into the middle of my right thigh! I tried to gently push her away, and shift my body, but she persistent. This dog had found something better than the crotch of the guy next to me.

“Oh my god! She smells my pee!” I whisper-hissed at Rob. “Get her away from me! She’s going to knock the tubes loose!” I put my hands on her big black head and pushed her to the side. But Sadie’s snout came right back. “What if she pees on my leg to mark her territory?" I started to freak out a bit. She’!” I managed, giving her head one final shove.

Rob, sensing a code red, immediately thanked our hosts, got our coats and ushered me out the door.

When we got into the car we burst out laughing. It hurt like hell to do, but I couldn’t stop once I started. Who would ever believe that a dog outted me and my concealed bag of urine?

As I watched the city streets whiz by in a blur of lights, I smiled. I was beyond exhausted. I hadn’t stood, walked, or stayed awake that long since before my surgery. But it was the first night I had felt like myself in a while. And let’s not forget how thin I was! My pants were baggy enough to conceal bodily fluids. That felt good. Weird, but good.

Rob held my hand the whole way home, and helped me into the house. I switched back to my trusty catheter, pulled on Rob’s pajama pants, and settled in on the couch. I was asleep before Rob could cover me with a blanket.

That December, I learned that laughter can truly be the best medicine.

I learned that while being thin is nice, being healthy is most important.

I learned what unconditional love was, and to appreciate my future husband for the amazing person that he was.

And, I learned that no matter how much you try to hide it, dogs can always smell pee.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

One year in: soundbites in the KK household. (Day 29)

Last year I blogged about those conversations when you have a newborn, that if neighbors ever overheard you, they might question your sanity.

Well, here we are a year in, and the conversations haven't gotten any less crazy...or graphic.

Here is this year's list of things that could be overheard in the KK house – the 1-year old version:

"Do you want a flat nipple or a rounded one?" Oh, the nipple talk never ends. We now have two different types of nipples that we use: round for bottles and flat for sippy cups. No matter which one he has, Max gnaws, bites, tugs and pulls on it with his little baby razor teeth...making me VERY happy we use bottles (and not real nipples) to begin with.

"Can I still point it down when it's like...that?" Not having a wiener makes it difficult for me to know wiener boundaries, especially when said wiener is, er, at attention. Does it hurt him when I point Max Jr. south during a diaper change? Can he pee when he's like that, because that thing is pointing right at my eye? (This is all once I got past the fact that my baby might be secretly watching porn in his crib to end up like this.)

"Was it a sticky pancake?" No, we're not talking about a new breakfast craze. Once you have a kid, not a day goes by that you don't talk about poop. And you will have nicknames for the different kinds of poop that you encounter. And you'll know them by their smell. Bright side: solid-food poop is MUCH better than formula poop.

"Let me get up in there with my finger." I can officially add "booger retriever" to my resume. And I'm GOOD at my job. (Most booger retrievals are done while singing "Boogie Fever", FYI.)

Oh, the joys of parenthood!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

I'm fickle that way. (Day 28)

Before we begin this blog post, I wanted to share one of my favorite ways to enjoy leftovers: for breakfast.

I call it: Leftovers Benedict.

You could make it with any leftovers you have, but here's what I use:

Leftover mashed potatoes (shape them into little potato cakes)
Dressing/stuffing (I use my mother-in-law's dressing, which is mainly seasoned ground beef).
I pan-fry the mashed potato cakes until golden brown, top them with the warm dressing, and the top that with an over-easy egg.


As far as holidays go, I'd give Thanksgiving a solid B.

We host, and I enjoy preparing and cooking all day Wednesday, setting the table and making people happy with food.

But once everyone leaves at night, and we've loaded the last of the dishes into the dishwasher, and the leftover turkey is barely cold in the fridge, it's like a switch is flipped and Thanksgiving is dead to me.

I have mentally already moved onto the BEST holiday of the year: Christmas.

I LOVE Christmas.

To quote Andy Williams, it's the most wonderful time of the year.

(Last year I was home with Max on maternity leave, so it really WAS the most wonderful time of the year.)

Once Black Friday is upon us, I'm all Christmas music and holiday shopping. Pumpkins get traded for pine cones, and cornucopias for cookies. I'm all like, "Thanksgiving who?" as I pack away leaves and pull out the stockings.

Because I LOVE Christmas.

I love the hustle and bustle and shopping.

I love that the air smells like snow and the house smells like pine.

I love wrapping presents, and watching people's faces when they open them.

I love the magic and the merriment.

And this year is no different.

Sure, we're under crazy construction, and the new room (that was supposed to be ready for Thanksgiving) won't be ready for Christmas. And we have nowhere to put our tree. And I have nowhere to hide gifts. And nowhere to decorate.

But I still LOVE Christmas.

I can't wait to see Max's face on Christmas morning, as he finally starts to understand unwrapping presents. I anxiously awaiting to see what happens when he sees Santa...will there be smiles or tears?

And I can't wait to surprise everyone again this year, by picking out my tree in under 5 minutes. It takes me longer to pick out my outfit to go and get the tree, than to pick the tree itself. 

But that's next weekend.

In the meantime, it's time to make room for Santa. See ya later, gourds!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Black Friday, (with a) baby!

Since the arrival of Mr. Max,our Black Friday routine has definitely changed.

Crowds be damned, we used to head out every year. It used to be that we would time our trip to be early morning,and – back in the day when Black Friday really meant Friday shopping – we would arrive after the wave of 5am-ers were heading to their cars to go home. It was like we were the second shift.

This year, we STILL did Black Friday, but our focus was less on the shopping and more on where our lunch was going to be. Sure, we hit up a few stores, but the bulk of our day was  planned around Max's lunch and nap times.

Like usual, most  of my Black Friday purchases were for me. Though this year I snuck a few items in for Mr. Max as well.

Today turned out to be less about shopping and the Christmas rush, and more about me spending time with Mr. KK and Max. 

We weren't on a time schedule. The weather was 65 degrees. Seriously, it was a perfect day.

After Black Friday shopping we hit the park with Max. 

This kid loved the swings!

Random: When was the last time you saw a $2 bill? Let alone $36 dollars' worth!

FACT: bars will take $2 bills...reluctantly.

(they ARE money, though!)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

So, so thankful.

SO much to be thankful for this year.

Especially this face. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My husband isn't the only one who does this... (Day 25)

There's a term I use often in our house: Blowing Leaves.

Blowing Leaves came about in the late morning of two Thanksgivings ago.

On that particular Thanksgiving morning, I had been up early, halving a million pounds of Brussels sprouts, slicing and baking Ina Garten’s Parmesan crackers, and assembling a veggie tray. There were still quite a few things to be done – not to mention me showering and drying my hair, which could take forever in itself – and with only two hours left, even if we didn’t stop to pee or drink something, we’d be cutting it close.

I was piling raw broccoli onto the glass platter when my husband walked by me dressed in windy pants, wool socks, a flannel coat and a winter hat. He was carrying gloves and headed towards the door to the garage.

“Where are you going?” I asked him. He was clearly dressed for the outdoors. 

Was he running out to get something we forgot to buy? 

Are the stores even open today?

“I’m going outside to blow leaves. The yard and patio are covered,” he replied, sensing nothing wrong with this answer, while we were T minus 2 hours until our guests arrived. “I should only be a half hour or so.” And with that, he was gone. Minutes later, I heard the blower start up and saw leaves swirling in a million directions as he made his way across the patio. Vito was on his feet immediately, barking at what he thought was a crazy stranger on our property. Because who else would be outside doing yard work on a holiday mere hours before 12 people were coming over? 

Only a madman, obviously.

And it was that day that the term “blowing leaves” was born.

The definition of Blowing Leaves is this: starting a task that bears no relevance whatsoever on the situation at hand, and having said task take up WAY too much time and energy, both of which you do not have.

Maybe your husband’s ‘blowing leaves’ is just one more quick video game before you’re due at a friend’s wedding. Or maybe it’s trying to fix that leaky pipe under the sink that he needs just 10 minutes for as you’re walking out the door to meet your parents for dinner.

No matter what the activity, every husband blows leaves.

And that's why we love them.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

That person in the grocery store? Smiling and humming? That's ME.

One of my favorite days of the year is the day before Thanksgiving. You read that correctly...the day before the day when you get together with family to drink wine, eat amazing food and drink wine.

Because on that day, I get to do he mother of all grocery store shopping trips.

And it's a little bit like Christmas morning to me.

Weeks of planning go into that grocery store trip; algorithms and mathematic equations factor into the outing. NASA is jealous.

Menu planning. In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I will go through tons of recipes and cookbooks and blogs looking for the perfect menu items. Oftentimes, I will try out recipes ahead of time. When the menu items have been narrowed to the winning line-up, I list out the ingredients for each of them on a piece of paper.

The grocery list. Once I have all the items for all recipes written down, I then go through and make a new list, and rearrange the items in the order in which I shop the grocery store (produce first, followed by cheeses and meats, then center store, the dairy and frozen perimeter).
I want to share that I use the same pad every year to make the grocery list. I like how wide the lines are and that I can do a double-column of items. But then you might think I'm weird.

The grocery store trip. This goes down on Wednesday morning, around 7am. Armed with my tea and my list, I meticulously make my way through the store. My mood is light, I'm smiling at stock boys, I'm talking to strangers. 

Cooking. Prep begins the minute I get home. Even before I unload the groceries, I have the cream cheese in the mixing bowl to get it to room temperature for the pumpkin cheesecake and the oven preheating. While one food item is browning, I'm sautéing another. While cornbread is baking I'm chopping onions. This goes on for hours.

At the end of the day, my feet ache and the kitchen smells like love.

And while I've cooked all day, making casseroles and appetizers and dessert, turns out we have nothing in the house for dinner and we have to go out. 
(Secret every year!)

Monday, November 23, 2015

'tis the season of giving (day 23)

Last year at this time I was home on maternity leave, a time I like to refer to as "The Most Awesomest Four Months Ever".

While home, I was able to faithfully watch ellen every day. And, being the holiday season, I watched with envy as she gave away a gazillion dollars of cool stuff during her 12 Days of Giveaways.

Ellen and her 12 Days of Giveaways hold a very special place in my heart.

In 2004, I was also home watching ellen, in what was probably the first year she did her 12 Days of Giveaways. I had just undergone surgery for my cancer, and I was home recuperating. 
(I celebrated 10 years cancer-free last year, you can read about it here). 

My mother had come up and was spending my first week home from the hospital with me and Mr. KK. 

It was a rare moment in my adult life, that I spent a full week with my mother, when we weren't on a vacation. Instead, she was taking care of me.

Watching ellen with her giveaways was part of our daily routine.

We'd snack on crackers with peanut butter and tea as we watched ellen reveal gift after gift; Me, lying on the couch that had become my home, and my mother sitting in the other other chair we had in our small living room in our little row house in South Boston. 

She and I watched in awe as ellen gave away prizes every day, like washers and dryers and Dyson vacuum cleaners (these were the early days, before the gifts were digital or gift cards). There was a secondary chance to win the prizes online, and I entered us both every day. (We never won).

For a few years after that, I would enter our names online to win the gifts Ellen was giving away. But when you work full-time you tend to miss daytime talk shows and I never remembered to keep up with it.

And then last year, I found myself home again, watching Ellen and her amazing giveaways. And, on at least one of the days, my mother was there watching with me, holding Max while he slept. And once again, I entered us online for a chance to win everyone. (We never won).

And today starts this year's 12 Days Of Giveaways on ellen!

I'll be watching Ellen do her giveaways every day on her Facebook page, remembering that time 11 years ago, when my mother and I were watching for the first time...together.

And Ellen – if you're reading this – we'd LOVE to be part of your 12 Days shows. Just sayin' :)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday Funday: Ladies' Brunch (Day 22)

When I was younger, I wasn't much of a breakfast fan (the horror!). I'm not sure why, but I would pretty much skip over breakfast and go right to lunch.

In my college  and early post-college years (read: hangover years), I learned to appreciate the miraculous breakfast food known as the bacon, egg and cheese sandwich.

And in my late twenties and early thirties, I learned to love the meal known as brunch. I love that brunch happens late morning/early afternoon and it's perfectly acceptable – almost required – to drink. I love the diversity of brunch: if you are in the mood for breakfast, they have it. Feeling more like a lunch meal, they have that too. And, on those occasions you can't make up your mind, they have items perfect for you, such as a burger with a fried egg on top.

NOTE: is there anything better than a burger with a fried egg on top? I'll tell you: No, there's not.

Not only do I love to go to brunch, I love to host brunch. It gives me the opportunity to cook foods that span two different meal times, but all during one event.

Today, I hosted Sunday brunch for a few friends. We haven't been all together in so long, that I wanted to serve something delicious, but that didn't require me to be slaving over the stove the entire time they were there, so that I could spend my time drinking catching up.

They brought the bubbles, and I served up a kale caesar salad, sweet potato hash and eggs, and cornbread. AND, I even made my (famous) pumpkin cheesecake for dessert.

the coupe glasses were ready and waiting for the bubbles! 

 The hash was delicious! You can find the recipe here.

From-scratch cornbread. The recipe is here.

The sign of a good brunch.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

#datenight (Day 21)

It was a crazy Saturday.

Up at 5am (naturally, don't ask me why)
Max's strobe light show at 6a
Gymboree at 9:30am
Mr. KK priming the ceiling in the addition
Me, prepping for a brunch I'm hosting tomorrow
2-hour trip to Lowe's (insert silent tears)
Then bath night for Mr. Max


We were both looking forward to an amazing dinner and relaxing.

Good thing I didn't disappoint!


Snack time while Max has dinner! Cocktails and kale and artichoke dip.

The beef rib roast is seasoned and ready to go 
with minced garlic, herbs de provence and olive oil.

Now that is a thing of beauty. 

Onion rings (because I can't help myself) and roasted garlic and rapini. 

That is restaurant-quality medium rare right there.

And, of course, a nice bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Happy #datenight!

Friday, November 20, 2015

There are Mom-things I'll never be good at. (Day 20)

There are all different types of Moms out there.

Smother-you-with-hugs Moms, Make-it-better-with-chocolate-chip-cookies Moms, Tough-love Moms.

And each of these Moms is really good at doing at one thing, and really horrible at doing another.

In the last 13 months, I have realized that there are just some things I will suck at. But, on the flip side, there are things I'm awesome at.

Here are some of those things:

1. Improvising. Honestly, I thought I would be a shoe-in for swaddling. I could tie a scarf in a variety of knots like nobody's business. But from that first day at the hospital – staring at my 2-day old son and the tiny blanket that was supposed to miraculously not only fit around him, but bind him into sleeping submission – I knew I was in trouble. Things got no better at home, even when I whipped out the ridiculously large muslin swaddled blankets. Max got out of those things in under 1 minute. So I bought the insta-swaddle: the baby "sleeping bag" that they were zipped into nice and tight and didn't wake or move until the morning. Easy way out? Maybe. Way out with the most sleep possible? You betcha.

Me and the swaddle were not a good mix. Max's pseudo-swaddle, the Woombie. 
This thing worked WONDERS. I highly recommend it!

2. Doing art projects. I LOVE crafts! And what better way ton spend your time then teaching other people how to do crafts! You can count on me to be all artsy all day long. Coloring? Check! Making things out of scrap paper? Check! Decorating with stickers? Double check!

3. Making sh*t up. There's nothing I love more than making Max laugh with the silly song lyrics or games I make up. Just this morning we sang my new-and-completely-made-up-song: "We're going to Grammy's house". He loved it.

4. Being the fun foodie parent. I love to cook. In fact, every week I make food for the upcoming week for Max. In fact, November was a big food introductory month for Max: farrow vegetable soup, and beef stew, kale and veggie burgers. He loved every last bite!

5. Snuggling. I could stop what I'm doing and at any point during the day for Max hugs. Right now, Max isn't that big into hugging. He begs to be picked up, and once he's up, he squirms to be put down. My favorite time is right before he fall asleep, when he snuggles into you just before closing his eye. More of that time, please!

I've found out that it doesn't matter what type of Mom you are. Your baby will love you for who you are. And for everything you're not, that's what your child's friends' parents are for.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Are you going to have another baby? (Day 19)

I'm not a saver. I don't tend to hold onto things, and when faced with cleaning out a closet or a room, will pretty much opt to throw everything away.

But when it comes to Max, I have kept every onesie, sock and toy he has outgrown since the day he was born. His blankie from the hospital. Used pacifiers. Even his magic swaddle sleepy thing that is so threadbare from so many washings. 

I saved it all. 

There are bins upon bins of his tiny little clothes, the jump-a-roo he no longer fits in, and his infant car seats slowly making our basement into a mini maze.

I'd like to say we're saving it all to re-use with baby number two.

But I'm not so sure.

I don't think there are parents on the planet who haven't been asked about their procreation plans.

I'm always amazed at how many people just come out and ask "Are you going to have another baby?" like they are asking me for a piece of gum.

My initial thought is: 'Well, it's not really any of your business, is it?' 

Followed by, 'Are you buying?'

But if I were to answer them, I can honestly say: I don't know.

For a few reasons:

1. It's expensive. Our experience wasn't the norm, and that comes with a hefty price tag. Do they do kick starters for kids? Maybe ""?

2. What are the chances I'd have TWO perfect babies? Max didn't have the moniker 'fake baby' for nothing. Slept through the night at 3 months, rarely cries, eats like a champ, has only thrown up once in 13 months. That kind of luck doesn't come around twice in a lifetime.

3. Our house is small. Yes, we're putting on a small addition. But it's just so we have enough room for Max's stuff. Another kid = another addition.

4. Double the guilt. I deal with Mommy Guilt on a daily basis with just ONE child, I can't imagine how it would take over my life with two. Between working full time and my long commute, I'd have to split those few precious hours at home between two little munchkins. And Mr. KK. And Vito.

5. There's something special about 'Only's'. Both Mr. KK and I are only children, and we had wonderful childhoods. I don't think I ever wanted a sibling (a pet, maybe, but not a sibling). We have a bond with our parents that is rare, probably because we spent so much time with them growing up.

On the flip side, I would take another maternity leave in a heartbeat! The best four months of my life.

So for now, I'll keep the plastic bin industry in business, filling them up with memories of baby Max. 
(But knowing our luck, we'd have another baby and of course it would be a GIRL.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Day 18: the worst thing my husband could say to me.

"We have to go to The Home Depot."

As much as I love renovating and decorating and design, I HATE going to big box home improvement stores.

So this morning when Mr. KK casually said to me: "We have to go and pick out tile this weekend", I cried a little inside.

Max obviously shares my dislike of going to these places, too. Here he is a few weekends ago at Lowes:

Max even dressed the part in his little lumberjack shirt!

He's probably thinking: "Why are you being so mean to me and bringing me here? I thought you loved me???"

Either that, or: "Why don't they serve snacks here???" 

PS: the second worst thing my husband could say is, "We have to go to BJs."

Just shoot me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Day 17: Renovating, renovating, renovating.

We've in the throes of a renovation at our house.

The project started in August, and has slowly taken over our lives (and our house!). We hope to be finished by the end of the year (fingers crossed!)

Our project consists of turning our current garage into a family room, and then building a new garage next to that (and opening the wall between our current dining room and new family room). 

Mr. KK did some high-tech drawings with measurements and all that with his fancy computer program, but here's MY blueprint of what we're doing:

Not drawn to scale.

We're VERY excited at what the finished product is going to be, but I'd be lying to you if I said I wasn't ready for it to be done already.

We watch a lot of HGTV (a lot) and there's a reason why people hire designers and architects to do their renovation projects for them: it's a full-time job.

While we have a contractor and team doing the work, all of the planning and designing was done by me and Mr. KK

And at 9:30pm, after Max has gone to bed and we're cleaning up our dinner dishes, the last thing I want to do is stand in the new room in the cold, shivering and holding a tape measure and doing math. 
(I have news for you, there is NO time a day – no matter how warm it is – that I want to do math, let alone in the dark when I'm exhausted)

That being said, I'm excited to share where our renovation currently is, with before and after photos!

I'm not sure why this photo looks like it was taken in 1972, but here's where we started.
We also replaced windows on the far right of the house in one of the bedrooms, too.
Oh, and why not re-side the whole house while we're at it.

First up, framing up the garage to be the new family room.

 This is the back of the room; we're turning that doorway into a french door.

The front of the room.

Digging up the old garage floor. You know, there's just 
a huge piece of equipment in our old garage. No biggie.

And digging the foundation for the new garage. 

We have foundation!

And the garage is going up!

Shingling the house. Never-ending shingles. For weeks.

It was time to take down our patio off our kitchen.


The former front wall of our old garage, 
getting framed up for the front of the new family room.

The new front wall of the new family room. 
Our fireplace insert is being installed this week!

The wall in our dining room that features our family tree of old photos 
(that was put up during the blizzard a few years ago).

Aaand...there goes the wall. 

 Vito can't WAIT to get into the new room!

And perhaps the WORST part of renovating...the dust. It's everywhere. 
And now that the wall is open, Vito loves to explore the new room...
and leave his sheetrock-dusted footprints on our couch.

More pics to come as we get closer to the finish!