Stepwise refinement

Half jokingly, I asked Ross if he knew what stepwise refinement was. He was on his phone, and I assumed he wasn’t actually listening to me, but then he looked up and said this gem:

“Usually the less I know, the better.”

Besides being hilarious, isn’t that the truth sometimes!? I play the dumb blonde card more than I care to admit, because it saves time, energy, and frustration and when people underestimate you it’s a good thing in my experience. More reasons to love that man. There’s a genius behind those muscles.

Our trip to Ely

We went with my brother and his fiance to a cabin at Elbow Lake Lodge outside of Ely. It was perfect weather and the weekend went way too fast. We had a lot of fun without the kids but of course we missed them the whole time, too!

Elbow Lake Lodge from the huge dock

Elbow Lake Lodge from the huge dock

My favorite part was mini-golf. They had the most insane, coolest, most creative mini-golf course I’ve ever seen. We were going to do a few rounds of golf, but it was so challenging we ended up running out of time!

Taking a break from mini-golf

Taking a break from mini-golf

I was secretly hoping my brother would propose at the lighthouse. After encouraging them to go out there, I was hoping he would suddenly pull out a ring and just do it, already. But of course he had his own plans for a proposal that we weren’t witness to at all. I’m sure we’ll hear all about it soon!

My brother and his now-fiance walked out to the little lighthouse

My brother and his now-fiance walked out to the little lighthouse

We brought Ross’ boat so we took that out a few times. It was fun to drive around and check out all of the neat properties on Elbow Lake. Some were perched right on the rocky shoreline, and we all loved the fact that they were literally on the water.

The shoreline from the boat

The shoreline from the boat

Apparently I was the only one who didn’t know how to play 500, so they taught me how to play and I started winning pretty quickly! It was a lot more fun than I expected, and we played that pretty much every evening.

The beach at Elbow Lake

The beach at Elbow Lake

We had a great time at Elbow Lake Lodge and hope to go back soon.

Things you overhear

I was making something in the kitchen and I heard George mumbling to himself in the living room. Of course I was curious what he was talking to himself about, so I stopped what I was doing and went over to eavesdrop. This is what I hear…so adorable!

…”The team races to the lighthouse…this is a job for the Paaaaw Patrolllll….!”

Putting subway tile and hex tile in each bathroom

We had a date night recently and as per usual, we used it to work on the house. At first, I held back and did some work on my laptop while Ross worked on the hex tile. However, I got bored pretty quickly and asked Ross how I could help. He said the best thing I could do is pre-cut tile to the specs he provided. When he didn’t need a half piece of the hex tile, he would draw on the tile with a permanent marker and I would cut it.

I learned a lot about cutting tile. Incorrectly, I assumed you had to slam the handle down on the tile and it would actually scratch the tile a tiny bit. Ross didn’t really notice, but eventually he came over and told me I didn’t need to slam it down but just very gently tap the tile, after it is cut. Low and behold, tapping the tile after cutting it was really slick! We were a great team and the tile looks great. I kind of appreciate chipping in and rolling up my sleeves alongside my man.

Using the tile cutter

Using the tile cutter

We cut a sheet at a time

We cut a sheet at a time

1/4 x 3/16 V-Notch Pro Trowel and tile adhesive

1/4 x 3/16 V-Notch Pro Trowel and tile adhesive

We installed 1/4 in. Georgia Pacific DensShield on the floor and 1/2 in. on the wall

We installed 1/4 in. Georgia Pacific DensShield on the floor and 1/2 in. on the wall

Hex tile being installed in the downstairs bath

Hex tile being installed in the downstairs bath

Downstairs bath hex tile finished

Downstairs bath hex tile finished

View of the bath from the downstairs hallway

View of the bath from the downstairs hallway

Subway tile being installed on the walls and shower!

Subway tile being installed on the walls and shower!

 

Blessed.

I was getting the boys ready one morning and Julius was all over George, as per usual, when he happened to sneeze.

George: “Argh! Waaaaahhhaa!”

Me: “What!? What’s wrong?”

George: “Julius blessed me!!”

He did probably get some baby snot on him, because Julius is always either on top of George or right next to him, but George’s panicky reaction was pretty funny. He obviously does not get the concept of a blessing yet!

Science Camp

I enrolled George in Science Camp at the Science Museum of Minnesota. He’s only three so he was one of the youngest ones there, but he had a blast and it made me really excited for him to go to preschool this fall. He loves other children and most kids (and adults) seem to really enjoy his character. It’s hard to define him, but he’s very wary, intelligent, joyful but thoughtful. He gets excited easily, and can be emotional, but some of that may be his age. He’s very genuinely interested in other kids – he wants to play with everyone. I also think he “brushes it off” well when other kids don’t share or take toys away from him.

First day of camp - he was a little nervous I think!

First day of camp – he was a little nervous I think!

He had many questions about dinosaurs

He had many questions about dinosaurs

I’m a little disappointed in the number of girls registered for Science Camp. There was like 1 – maybe 2 girls and the rest were all boys. Is it any wonder there are fewer women in medical, science and technology fields? We don’t send our girls to science camps, we send them to ballet camps on the rare chance they move to Paris and become a ballerina.

Listening to his teacher

Listening to his teacher

George's teacher seemed to really enjoy him

George’s teacher seemed to really enjoy him

He plays really well with his seven year-old cousin so I think he keeps up with older, faster kids well. He plays pretty well with Julius too, so I think that makes him well-rounded and amiable. He really enjoyed Science Camp and I’ll definitely enroll him in more summer camps as long as I am able. It’s so worth it to see the change in him from only a few days of new people, surroundings and knowledge. He’s definitely ready for preschool! But, am I ready for him to be in school?? Not hardly. EEEEK!

He was afraid to go by the polar bear until I went over and growled, then he acted tough and broke out his big guns ;)

He was afraid to go by the polar bear until I went over and growled, then he acted tough and broke out his big guns 😉

 

Dealin’

I was watching Ross lay the hex tile in the upstairs bathroom and it looked amazing. I told him I loved it even more than the marble tile in our downstairs bedroom at home. Half-joking, I told him I wanted to take it to our house. He shook his head and said this gem:

“It’s like being a drug dealer, honey. You can’t take from your own stash. If you start doing that, you’re not going to make any money.”

Hardwood floors refinished! Whew!

This was so much work. I can’t even count the hours Ross put in ripping up old carpet, fighting with carpet glue, sanding and coating. But I fervently believe this was the single most valuable feature we pulled out of this house, for the least amount of money. I mean, the sander was $200. It’s just the work involved – the elbow grease – that sucks so bad. Plus we had to patch areas because “somebody” had to have wider doorways that let in more light…I always further complicate things. But it was all worth it…and I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…!

Sandpaper for the edger

Sandpaper for the edger

Living room carpet glue we sanded off

Living room carpet glue we sanded off

Entryway staircase landing

Entryway staircase landing

Downstairs living room floor

Downstairs living room floor

Master bedroom floor next to the chimney

Master bedroom floor next to the chimney

We took up all of the kitchen floors to make the hardwood carry through to the back hallway

We took up all of the kitchen floors to make the hardwood carry through to the back hallway

Relaying the kitchen floors

Relaying the kitchen floors

Downstairs dining room floors

Downstairs dining room floors

Master bedroom floors

Master bedroom floors

Downstairs dining room floors finished

Downstairs dining room floors finished

Master bedroom floors finished

Master bedroom floors finished

Dropping the hammer

We have this “Story of Mom & Dad” book that we read to George before bed. It tells the story of how Ross and I met and fell in love and how he came to be. The first part of the book talks about how we met at a bar (we were set up and it was a group outing). I was reading the story to George before bed tonight and this was our conversation:

George:”Mom, why did you and dad go play darts without me?”

Me:”Well, you weren’t born yet. You were in mommy’s heart at that time. Then you were in mommy’s belly, and then you came out.”

George:”Yep, I was in your belly and I hammered my way out. I hit your belly with the hammer until it broke. Then I ate all my vegetables and grew really big and strong.”

I fucking love kids. Boy kids.

Antique stores haul

As I mentioned in our camping trip post, we had two straight days of rain so we had to find indoor stuff to do. Luckily I have the best husband in the world who let me  drag him around to a bunch of stores. Buuuuuuut, there wasn’t anything else to do….as far as alternatives so there’s that. Okay, he could have went and sat in a bar. I’m happy to say he didn’t do that….

Since I really don’t have much time to do Christmas shopping or birthday shopping or similar spur-of-the-moment shopping trips, I ran through a mental list of people I needed to buy gifts for, for a few different occasions. We also ran to a few consignment stores because everything was $1 and I found a handful of things for myself and the kids (slim pickin’s). But all in all, I was pretty happy with our sudden shopping trip and the deals I found…hopefully everyone loves their gifts as much as I liked them…

My best friend is having a girl and although we didn't know it was a girl at the time of purchase I had my hunches (timing of ovulation and all that) - Google it.

My best friend is having a girl and although we didn’t know it was a girl at the time of purchase I had my hunches (timing of ovulation and all that) – Google it.

I bought these from a tiny attic store where a mom and her five (5!) kids sold homemade soaps. Glad to help. Here, take my money.

I bought these from a tiny attic store where a mom and her five (5!) kids sold homemade soaps. Glad to help. Here, take my money.

I had to dig, dig, dig, to find these Banana Republic shorts for $1. They are super worn and a bit big but who cares...it's $1 and I've already worn them once!

I had to dig, dig, dig, to find these Banana Republic shorts for $1. They are super worn and a bit big but who cares…it’s $1 and I’ve already worn them once!

This hobo bag was $1 and I can never have too many large purses/satchels, because KIDS!

This hobo bag was $1 and I can never have too many large purses/satchels, because KIDS and their CRAP!

Again with the $1 clothing items. This is a large but oversized can be cute. I promise I'll wear it soon....

Again with the $1 clothing items. This is a large but oversized can be cute. I promise I’ll wear it soon….

George wanted yet ANOTHER stuffed animal, and we couldn't say no because it was so cheap. Consignment stores are like stuffed animal graveyards.

George wanted yet ANOTHER stuffed animal, and we couldn’t say no because it was so cheap. Consignment stores are like stuffed animal graveyards.

The antique store wanted a bit too much money for the gold purse I wanted so I settled for this coin purse (it's a gift).

The antique store wanted a bit too much money for the gold beaded purse I wanted so I settled for this beaded coin purse which was practically free at a whole $1.

How cutesy and feminine are these vintage dish towels! LOVE.

How cutesy and feminine are these vintage dish towels?! LOVE.

Vintage flour sack - this could be used for so many things. It's huge too!

Vintage flour sack – this could be used for so many things. It’s huge too!

Vintage flower-print apron

Vintage flower-print apron

This vintage apron is a gift but for a split second I thought about wearing it for Ross. Naked. Bahaha I KID I KID!!!

This vintage apron is a gift but for a split second I thought about wearing it for Ross. Naked. Bahaha I KID!!!

Vintage scarf with fur ends. I know people are generally opposed to fur...but I liked this scarf {covers eyes}

Vintage scarf with fur ends. I know people are generally opposed to fur…but I liked this scarf {covers face}

This was not cheap. It's a pristine vintage wool coat and I LOVED it. But it's a gift.

This was not cheap. It’s a pristine vintage wool coat and I LOVED it. But it’s a gift.

I feel like we made the best use of our rain days. We got a ton of gifts purchased and fun stuff for the kids too. We found an old Operation game from 1964 in perfect working order (George loves it) and a somewhat recent version of Guess Who. Yep, those were $1 each. They almost are paying us to take it off their hands at that price.