Monday, December 27, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Here she is, Caroline Noel Jacobs......... 7 pounds 2 ounces, 21 inches long and making her appearance to the world at 12:39 am this morning.
Kirsta and Caroline together after the quick delivery.
And some photos with proud big brothers and a happy mom. (Poor Kirsta. Patrick and Eli didn't give her any rest from being a human jungle gym in her awesome moving hospital bed)
Patrick couldn't wait to hold Caroline when we got into the room. I think the look on his face says it all.... he is pretty happy to be a big brother to a little sister. He already told me that he loves Caroline the most (sorry Eli).
I guess I will have to ask him again in about 14 years when he is having to share a bathroom with her in the mornings. I bet his opinion will change and Eli will be back in the running as his favorite.
Monday, December 13, 2010
We were given a bird feeder during the summer but never actually filled it with birdseed until this past week, when Joe bought birdseed for an acticity with his sunday school kids at church. We were very excited to see the birds flock the the feeder, and the boys loved to watch, since it's right outside our patio doors. A few days later I set out our pumpkins, which we never carved, since it was time to get rid of fall decorations and put up Christmas stuff. I suppose I could have painted Santa faces on them instead of jack-o-lanters, but I decided to feed the birds/squirrels with them. I cut them in half and sure enough, birds and squirrels alike were attracked to such yummy fare. Now this probably would have happened eventually, but my pumpkin enticements may have expedited the process, and the squirrels found the birdfeeder and have turned themselves from "cute li'l backyard critters" into "annoying backyard pests that scare off the birds and climb all over our porch and DO NOT scare away when you go outside - CREEPY!" So Joe took matters into his own hands, literally, and brought out his air rifle. I thought FOR SURE we were going to get the cops called on us by our neighbors, guns ARE loud, ya know! But it turns out that air rifles are not quite guns and are NOT loud so Joe had ots of fun popping off a few rounds at the bold squirrels. He claims his rifle needs to be sighted in, since he never got a kill shot, but I think maybe he just didn't want to kill them in front of Patrick (I do NOT think he's a bad shot, he's shown me up plenty of times before!). It probably wouldn't have mattered, Patrick was loving the action - when one squirrel darted away before Joe had a shot Patrick ran outside and yelled "come back, squirrel! My daddy wants to shoot you!" Ahhhhh, CLASSIC.
Now just le me know if you want to stop being friends because we are too hillbilly, I'll totally understand :)
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Now for Joe - there's no real reason he hasn't been mentioned much. His winter scruff would hide a double-chin, too, so no reason I don't have any photos! Shame on me. He is busy at work, as usual, continuing as a Project Engineer at the CU dorms job. For a few glorious weeks I gave up getting up with him before he left for work because the boys were both sleeping until 8 a.m., so I slept in, too. He usually leaves around 6:30 a.m. and gets home at 6:30 p.m., Mon-Fri with the occasional Saturday shift as well. When CU is done in the spring we don't know what's next, so we'll just wait and see where he'll be commuting - hopefully not far! He's doing incredibly well, though, he is very good at his job and looking forward to becoming an Assistant Project Manager in the next year or so. While we miss him tons during the day (Eli gets up at 7 and goes to bed at 7, so he only sees him 30 minutes a day) we appreciate how he provides for our family, and the boys always get their "dad time" on Saturdays while I go in to work for a few hours. It works out nicely to have at least a little balance that way.
This weekend there is LOTS of balance because I don't have to worry about anyone! Joe took the boys to his parents' house for the weekend; he's going hunting nearby for a few days for deer/elk, so they'll have a sleepover while he has a campout! BRRRRRRR! I'm totally nervous but I also realise that worrying won't change anything so I've made a list of things to keep myself busy while they're gone, like update my blog (done!) and do a whole heap of scrapbooking.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I wanted to post this video when it was fresh; now Eli is much better at walking than this, even. I think he practices in his crib after naps because I don't remember that Patrick got the hang of it this quickly. From taking his first steps only 2 weeks ago, now he can stand up unassisted in the middle of the room to start walking, and even change directions. What a big guy!
A HAWK! Eating his breakfast on our woodpile, which was kinda yucky (especially when he flew away and left some bloody scraps and feathers), but mostly it was really awesome! Patrick was pretty excited about it, too, and Eli was so excited he decided to scare it off by banging on the windows. Thanks, li'l buddy :)
Sunday, October 17, 2010
In general, Patrick is good - just an awesome 2 1/2-year old who surprises me every day. He's not good at the moment, though; he picked up hand/foot/mouth disease and has had the WORST TIME of it. It gives kiddos rashes on their hands and feet and possibly bum, then sores in their mouthes. Both boys got it, both had mild fevers, both had mild rashes, but while Eli got over it, Patrick has the sorriest looking mouth you've ever seen - he won't stick out his tongue to show Joe, but I've seen at least 3 horrendously large, white, broken clisters on the bottom of his tongue, and I'm assuming he has others around his cheeks/gums/etc. We heard it was pretty mild, Tylenol should get him through the trauma of eating, but NOT SO. It's been 72 hours since he had any solid food, poor guy, though he keeps asking for it and then BAWLING as soon as he puts it in his mouth. Day 1 we figured this would be quick, so we stuck with milk and gatorade. Day 2, still no go on anything but liquids, so we added fruit & yogurt smoothies to the mix. Day 3 we realized we could be in it for the long haul, so breakfast yesterday morning was a smoothie with a banana, peanut butter, milk, and 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal - breakfast from the blender! He drank it all down, but hasn't had anything since. We read it generally lasts about a week, but COULD last 2-3 weeks... this morning he woke up in good spirits and hasn't taken medicine in over a day, so I hope we're on the downhill slope! I am already dreading that this may be a long winter with lots of illness unless I quarantine our family until May of 2011, which brings its own set of things to dread, like cabin fever a la "The Shining."
But whether it's 2 more days or 2 more weeks I know he WILL get over this eventually, so up until now, and after this bout, here's what Patrick has been up to: spending lots of time on his own. Every day he is allowed to watch a movie while Eli takes a nap. Since he stopped napping movies have been his "down time" and generally stave off evening tantrums, with the added benefit that I get to take my own nap during this time. He initially woke me up numerous times for his needs but has become completely independant lately, which is AWESOME - he can go potty without any assistance whatsoever, he has one glass of juice and knows he won't get another snack til I wake up, and when his movie is done he takes it out of the DVD player and puts it on top of the TV (which he turns off) and then goes and plays by himself until I get up. It's CRAZY, and I like to think he is exceptionally self-sufficient for a 2-year-old. Am I right? He plays trains, reads himself books, digs in the sandbox, gets out all his dinosaurs for a dino-brawl... I've said before that my house is not baby-proof, it's Patrick-proof, and this is just an example of that. Let any other 2-year-old loose in my house without supervision and it would be destroyed, I'm sure.
Outside of my nap time and his play time, he is currently obsessed with dinosaurs. We get the $1 dinos from WalMart, which have the names on their tails, and he is incredible at remembering and pronouncing their names - not just T Rex, but Pachycepholasaurus and Parasauralophus and ankylosaurus... and he corrects me when I misname one! Heaven forbid! So we read lots of dinosaur books and got him a dino costume for Halloween, I figure it's a good love to encourage! Certainly I can think of much more annoying things that kids falls in love with... He is still the world's sweetest boy and LOVES to snuggle and read books, indicating how many he'd like to read by holding up that number of fingers - sometimes ten, sometimes two, depending on how long he's trying to put off bedtime. No matter how many books we read, though, he still wants "four minutes 'fore bedtime," silly boy. He pets my face and smiles and tells me "you happy to see me!" to which I am required to answer "I'm always happy to see you." If he gets in trouble his defense is "you happy to see me!" with a sob in his throat and a tear in his eye, or if I'm yelling at him he yells at me, "you happy to see me!" so because I'm happy to see him (aka I love him) I can't yell or get him in trouble, I guess. I've been working on explaining the difference between me loving him and me NOT loving that he just hit Eli :) He likes to look at pictures, and my scrapbooks have made a handy reference to how babies grow and his family on both sides, but he often requests pictures we don't have, like "daddy and Fafa on an airplane." Sorry, bud, I don't have pictures of EVERYTHING! Hmmmm... there are 10 bajillion things to write, but I think this is quite long enough!
Monday, October 11, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
After leaving off on the most sour note I can imagine, Joe and I had a few days of intense discussion about housework, jobs, child-rearing, etc, and after much gnashing of teeth we came to a remarkably simple solution: after we put the kids to bed we should clean together for 20 minutes. I will continue to do my best during the day to keep the house from burning down or being overrun with garbage, but since we both know that wasn't cutting the mustard, we will combine forces. 20 minutes is quick, so we don't feel like we're losing our evening to cleaning, and with 2 people doing it it's really equivalent to 40 minutes of MY time, so a lot gets done. And what doesn't get done probably wasn't that important anyway. This isn't a hard-and-fast rule, either - if the house is good enough for us and we're just not feelin' it, forget the 20 minutes. Like I said, it seems pretty simplistic after all that I wrote, but it seems to solve the problem of me feeling overwhelmed and him feeling like it's still not good enough.
Enter problem #2, where barely 2 weeks later Joe thought it was another *really good idea* to drop bombs on a pregnant lady and tell her "I don't feel like we're in love anymore." THAAAAAANKS. Because you telling me I wasn't good enough TOTALLY made me feel in love with you, too. Fortunately, I suppose, we lost that loving feeling (whoa-ah, whoa-ah, whoa) at the same time, so we were both ready and willing to work on it. Also fortunately I happened to be reading a relationship book at the time that gave me some insights and ideas. So while the bomb should have been pretty big, it was more like a dud, and within the hour we'd made a pact to start ACTING like we were in love. We weren't missing anything huge in our marriage, but we were missing the little things that add up to something that feel huge, so we each need to work on adding back the little things, like giving REAL kisses when the other gets home, hugging more often, calling during the day to check in, leaving little notes, bringing each other surprises from whatever we were doing that day, etc. Everything that's natural when you're dating and wooing but becomes a bit of a chore when you've already got your plate loaded with kids and home responsibilities. We even went on our first date in a long time, and it was a huge success! I was only in charge of picking the babysitter instead of the date, time, place, etc. BIG step in the right direction!
September was an eye-opener for me, I suppose, that marriage is work. When you're so in love at first it seems like it could NEVER be work, and *obviously* people who have to work at it are doing something wrong or weren't really in love in the first place... but that's ridiculous. From the first week we were dating I KNEW that Joe and I were meant to be together, always. Perhaps somewhat thanks to that knowledge, and thanks to growing up a bit, I know it's still true, but I also know things take work. Time. Effort. 110% from both sides. And if I ever considered starting again, it would be just that - starting this saga ALL OVER AGAIN. And NO THANK YOU. Marriage is difficult, but dating? Life decisions? Blending families? Falling "out of love" and into habit again? It seems roughly 1,000,000x easier and more fulfilling to keep working at it and get it right THIS time. So Joe and I will keep plugging away at reconnecting and I will keep plugging away at being my own personal best. No, not the World's Best Housekeeper, but simply my personal best. And let's anticipate doing this again in a few months because 2-3 nuclear-scale meltdowns a year seems pretty standard for me. Sound good? Good.
I'll update on the boys soon, they're a whole different story!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
The generally summary is that I am not, nor will I ever be, enough. I am not a very good mother; I do love my children, but I am not a very good mother, and those are two very different things. I’m not saying they would be better with anyone else because I think that is untrue. They both love me so unfailingly, in spite of my countless faults; a sweet, naïve love that does not count the number of fish stick lunches and short-tempered flare-ups. It's good for us to be together, but it would be better if I were better. I am also a very poor housekeeper, to put it plainly. I love having a home, and I like to see it clean, but I dislike putting forth the effort it requires to keep our house looking the way I really love it to look. I don’t mind doing one cleaning project at a time, but the overwhelming number of projects and the never-ending cycle makes me put it aside for a few more minutes, during which another project gets added to the list. I don’t wash the frying pan after breakfast and before I know it, it’s time for lunch and now I have TWO frying pans to wash, which makes me even less inclined to roll up my sleeves. Perhaps it is laziness, perhaps it is merely complacency (not that complacency is not a sin, I am intimately acquainted with my sins), but it certainly is an unappealing character trait and even I am disgusted at myself that I can turn my back on a sink full of muddy dishes that is beginning to smell. That is bad when you are disgusted at yourself. The wind understood me, though, and did not complain. My dear, sweet, loving husband also listened before he went to bed, though it was admittedly his complaints that brought me to my knees. On-edge and grumpy from the moment I got home from work, where I thought I was doing my best to support our family without deserting our family, he claimed repeatedly that he was fine… until the moment he discovered an accidentally broken DVD, when he was admittedly no longer just fine. “We” are careless with our things, and blame must be placed, a millstone of guilt hung shamefully around your neck, and the neck must always be mine because I am the only one who is always home. Even on nights when I am at work, I was home the rest of the day so the evening’s difficulties are my own fault.
I try to be a good wife. I explained again to him tonight my theory of my ring – he gave me a stunning 1-carat solitaire when he proposed marriage and I vowed then, to myself, that I would not let down my end of the bargain – I would be a 1-carat wife. I would serve him hot homemade meals in a clean dining room on clean dishes, and he would be seated surrounded by happy children, clean and well-clothed, and next to a happy wife who had done her hair that day. He works so hard at his job to provide me the opportunity to be this person, he puts stock in me because he believes I will put it back in him. But what am I? What do I do? I have just admitted my failings of home and motherhood, which means I must rightfully admit my failings as a wife, though there is nothing in the world I strive so hard to be as a good wife. I do not clean my home because I enjoy cleaning or because it brings me any great personal satisfaction; I clean my home “so that daddy can be happy when he gets home,” I tell our sons. When daddy is unhappy at home it is because, in her heart, mommy knows she is a failure and has not lived up to her personal vow. Daddy says it’s not true, but the implied and accusing “you” instead of “we” when discussing that carelessness speaks for itself. I told him how embarrassed I am, how terribly guilty I feel when he does housework. I blush when he picks up the broom to sweep the kitchen; I feel a knot grow in my ever-expanding belly when he picks up a fallen chair. He says this should not be true because he is not unhappy to help, but then I know this is untrue because he does not help unless he is unhappy. He does not sweep unless the sandy floor is driving him nuts. He does not pick up the chair unless it has lain lonely and neglected for over a week with no justifiable cause. “We (you) are so careless with things,” yet just last week I threw away a new bucket that was full of hardened mortar that he had not rinsed out, ruining the bucket. I tossed out a wooden airplane, a gift for a 12-year old that was purchased for a toddler, yet he was upset when the toddler broke its wing. Even the crusted bucket of mortar bears my seal of guilt, though, for I should have been able to work on the bathroom while he at his never-ending job, or perhaps I should have rinsed it out for him as the least that I could do after he did such an amazing job laying tile during those long evenings after work. But I didn’t, and the mortar hardened, and I am continually careless and wasteful. The jesting phrase “this is why we don’t have nice things!” felt heavy and burdensome tonight, and my laugh was only one of mild hysteria as I sat crying in the night, repeating “I don’t know! I don’t know! I don’t know! I don’t know!” And really, that’s it – I don’t know. Don’t know why I am still crying, don’t know why I began crying in the first place – Joe was so good to bring down his walls and talk to me, where I know 3 years ago we would have gone to bed in silence and the gloom would have lasted for days. His reward, of course, is a snotty nose and red-rimmed eyes from a woman who should pull herself together and just clean the house and cook the meals and do her hair and dress the kids, but I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know… I don’t know what else to do.
So tonight what I need to do is let go. What can I let go of that doesn’t hurt any of the things that are already suffering at my careless hand? I cannot be more lax on the house or Joe will surely go insane, I can’t be less interested in our children because they are already ones who need my attention MORE, and I can’t backpedal and become a worse wife because that defeats everything. One big thing that I can give up is blogging. I’ve spent so much time typing this out tonight, which was cathartic for me even as it cast a dreary light on me and my marriage, which is actually NOT dreary (but who would believe me after this?), but blogging takes time it is pretty addictive. A seemingly easy way to pass 5 minutes, but 5 minutes turns into 50 and suddenly we’re back to having waffles again for dinner because I didn’t drag myself away from the computer to cook something healthy, and Joe is coming home to a messy house where toys get stepped on and broken. So I am taking a personal-growth hiatus until at least October. If I can grow into the responsible adult I should be, though, where the “to do” list gets shorter rather than longer by the end of the day, I might let myself come back for some quick updates on the boys. No long ravings about myself, I promise. In the meantime, feel free to stop by our house, I will have a much cleaner home to visit and things will be taken care of for once; perhaps I’ll even have to drop the self-deprecating housewife humor if I find I am decent at cleaning. So good night and goodbye.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
It was especially good timing that my friend clued me in, as I had just read an article about housekeeping from someone who admitted they hated it (ME!) and I recommended it to her. Turns out, it's the same person! The outspoken blogger happens to write articles for Parent's Magazine every now and again, and this was one of those articles. Very good stuff! So check her out, she's very funny, and please recommend other links you enjoy - parenting or otherwise. Just what you like to read to blow off steam. Thanks!
Sunday, August 15, 2010
1. Living in our tiny 1st apartment I was very excited for my family to visit when Patrick was born - we'd just gotten home from the hospital after my c-section, been there one night, and I was trying to pick up the house and get things ready. I maybe have even put in a load of laundry. This isn't anything extraordinary, except that I'd just had a baby via major abdominal surgery, and I should have been RESTING. An hour before they arrived my c-section site began bleeding, I'd developed a hemotoma and had to go to the ER the minute they walked in the door, then stay in the hospital the entire time they visited. The doctors said it wasn't anything that I did that brought on a hemotoma, they just happen, but still, I SHOULD HAVE JUST RESTED.
2. Still in our first apartment, 3 months later, my family was coming again to visit, and though my house was clean and I'd healed up nicely, I wanted to make EVERYTHING sparkle, including Patrick's bottles and my breast pump (like anyone but me CARES about my BREASTPUMP) so I put them all in a nice big pot to boil and sterilize. Then I walked off and went babysitting for 3 hours, coming home to fire trucks, doors busted open, and an apartment that reeked of scorched plastic and rubber products. I SHOULD HAVE JUST RELAXED.
The most recent example is from this past weekend, when we had ALL our company come at once. We had weeks upon weeks' worth of notice, and we've had our downstairs bathroom in need of repair since the day we moved in, but you know what seemed like a really good idea? Tackling this gargantuan project exactly one week before Joe's parents came to town! DUH! And exactly one week and 1 days before MY family came to town! Everyone knows projects don't go as planned, schedules get pushed back, a weekend projects turns into a month of weekends, but we were pretty sure we could still squeeze it into working order if we really pushed ourselves. So we did! We stayed up until midnight most nights for the entire week. This probably wouldn't be such a big deal, we'd just be extra tired, except that Joe got exposed to strep throat and with a SERIOUS lack of sleep his body and immune system were running on empty, so when he got sick he ended up getting sooooooooo sick. I've never seen him in such bad shape! By the time both our families came to town our house was not only in shambles from an unfinished basement bathroom, but Joe was nowhere to be seen - he was sleeping! He slept probably 14 hours a day for 3 days straight, and when he was awake he was thinking about going back to bed. Strep hit the day we were going to grout the tile, so since we couldn't grout we couldn't move the washer and dryer from their prominent positions in the family room, so you could hardly squeeze into the guest room, and the downstairs bathroom was DEFINITELY unusable since, without grout, we couldn't even replace the toilet. Joe's parents got to town first and were planning on staying at his grandma's house for the first few days of their visit, then come stay with us, but thanks to Joe's malady and the wreck of a basement, NOBODY ended up staying at our house... even though everyone was visiting us!
Next time we have company coming I am going to force myself to sit on my hands or read a good book or update my blog so that I don't get all motivated to do something stupid. I think our company would have a much better time in an intact house with intact family members. Our apologies to everyone who visited, but we still had a really great time getting together and showing off our un-grouted bathroom/laundry room. Come again soon, we'll have it completed and you can even access the guest room if you want to stay the night :)
Friday, August 13, 2010
Here is Patrick roaring at nothing in particular while we wait for the doctor.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
But let's talk about my house. OK, I'll talk, you listen. Our house has done a lot of wonderful things for us - it shelters from the cold, wind, rain, or blazing sun, it keeps us warm in the winter and doesn't give us heat stroke in the summer (it doesn't keep us cool by any means, but that's an upcoming project, you can be sure). It gives our kids a place to play, and a big yard to run around in. It gives us lots of chores, but we try to make those as much like play as we can (I just need a little bit more of Mary Poppin's talent). It gives us space for our gardens, which will be replanted this fall since I missed out planting summer stuff this year. It gives us a safe place to sleep each night. What it's given Joe and I, though, that we are sort of ridiculously grateful for, is PROJECTS.
When we went house hunting, we wanted a home that needed a lot of TLC without needing a masters electrician's or plumber's license. This helped with the initital purchase price of course, but it has also helped us hone our skills and our relationship. We've had tons of fun painting, scraping and retexturing ceilings, relandscaping, knocking down walls, laying tile, and drawing up plans for future projects as we go. I would say that the planning is more fun than the actual work, but that just isn't true - especially with Joe. During projects, especially in tough spots, I keep expecting Joe to give up, lost his cool, and kick a hole in the wall, and so far? Zero holes. Cuss words, YES, but holes? No. In fact, he's actually very friendly during physical labor, which astounds me! So I know that as we approach a project it will mean not only are we getting rid of something ugly, we are replacing it with something beautiful, and in the meantime I get to spend extra time with Joe who will be in a good mood because of all of the above. It's GREAT! So with an obvious break in work this weekend due to visiting relatives, we have been having a great time re-doing our downstairs bathroom and laundry room. The bathrooms in our house didn't make much sense - we only had two, and one was directly connected to the master bedroom, and the other you have to pass through the utility room to get to. The first we remedied a while back, but this downstairs bathroom has (until now) been the ugliest, most dysfunctional room in the house since we moved in. We ripped out all the flooring and made it one cohesive floor, and fresh paint has certainly helped, and while we still have quite a bit left to do, I wanted to get these before/after photos up because we are just so dang proud of our handiwork! And pride is just what homewornership is all about!
Standing in the utility room, looking into the bathroom. The bright blue bath set doesn't help anything, but let's be honest - it didn't really hurt, either. Notice the change in flooring, from really ugly fauc-wood parquet laminate to really ugly faux marble tiles. There was a 1/2" difference in height, too, since they laid the tile on plywood subflooring (which, when we ripped up the tiles, was black with mold and mildew [or mild-eeeeewwwwwwww!]).
Awesome wood towel bars, and a counter that made it next to impossible to access the toilet tank should you have an issue.
Awesome paint job
Awesome un-grouted tiles used as a backsplash... but also set on top of the existing backsplash. Does that make any sense at all? Anyone? The cabinet had also sustained a fair amount of water damage from some plumbing incident that must have happened before we moved in. Yech.
Same white/gray faux marble tiles. Seemingly good from this side, when you went to the crawl space it was obvious they had to be ripped out completely, wall and all, because the entire peice of drywall was molded through. We didn't want anyone falling into the crawl space mid-shower, should the moldy drywall decide to give out. .
This is the floor when we had ripped out the tiles and linoleum, and the green is a GOOD thing! It's a moisture barrier for concrete basements to avoid future issues with adhesion due to damp flooring (the reason they laid plywood down the first place, we think). Although necessary, it sure made the basement look (and smell) pretty funky! .
Joe bought a small tile saw and just went to town, meauring and cutting and laying out, and it turned out SO WELL! I was so proud, when he decides he's going to do something, he just jumps right in and learns as he goes. I didn't get any shots of that part of the process, but here he is grouting them all in. .
And here is Eli and I sponging excess grout off the shower tiles, which I grouted (sans Eli) .
The new floor - all one level, all one design, all looking 1,000X better than before! .
Our new sink base/countertop. It's not a good picture of it, but it's a nice stain on the wood and a solid surface countertop with an awesome seamless square sink. It has yet to be connected, but isn't it a ton better than the other one? Yeah, we thought so, too :) .
Lastly, our new shower. Joe simply sawed out the walls with the other tile, we re-drywalled with hardi-backer, which DOES NOT MOLD OR GET DAMAGED WITH WATER (why didn't they use that in the first place?) and then laid these great new tiles, complete with accent border and cool embossed accent squares at the top.
Now, as well as having a fantastic new bathroom (hopefully completed this weekend, just in tome for NOBODY to use it since they've all gone home) we have lots of fond memories of working together and making our dreams happen, one ugly room at a time. Ta-da!