Everyone have a safe and lovely long weekend…

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It has been such a cool spring so far, and I know it won’t be any time at all before it starts getting incredibly hot, but for now I love having to bring a sweater or hoodie along when I go outside. I dread hot weather. If it never got above maybe 75 degrees, I would be happy forever. This unidentifiable old rose lives in the very back of the yard, in the most unlikely spot. I’ve never watered or fed it, but it seems to thrive on neglect. My favorite type of garden plant.

I was so sad to leave my little rose garden behind when we sold our first house. I had planted four or five beautiful english roses and especially loved the big yellow one that consumed one whole side of our deck. When we moved in here Tony bought me this little yellow climber and we planted it by our garden shed. It hasn’t done as well with neglect, the poor thing. I bought two of the same giant yellow rose this spring and will put them in up front… he doesn’t mind a little shade and was at least ten feet wide and ten feet tall, blooming constantly until Thanksgiving. I also bought six pink climbers for the side of the house. Hopefully the rain is over for now and I can plant them over the holiday weekend.

The kids are enjoying the mild weather also. A has a natural affinity for baseball and R loves to swing as high as possible.

I love that t-shirt he’s wearing; it has a steamroller on it, and whenever he wears it, Rosie sings to him, “I’m a steamroller, baby, gonna rooooolll all over yooou!” I have no idea where she picked that up. Anyway, the shirt is also the exact same color as his eyes, weirdly enough.

I’m trying to shield Rosie from as much awful tween-preteen pop culture as possible (Hannah Montana is persona non grata here), but occasionally she will pick up the odd slang or pop reference and file it away in her brain and then POP! lay it on me in an unexpected moment and I’ll laugh until I choke. The other night she was getting ready for bed and said to me, “Hey girlfriend! What are you wearing to Europe? Are you ready to kick it??”¬† I think she may have gotten that from the movie “Enchanted?” Who knows.

They are always so happy to see each other and (mostly) play so well together. I know I have to take a lot of pictures to remember these times so that when they are older and are all “he looked at meeee!” “she touched meeee!” “MOOOOM!” I can look back and remember how nice it used to be. And I can show them the pictures and say, “Look! You used to hug each other! Without biting!”

Have a great weekend!

Well, I’m back from a brief blogging absence. Every year Derby is worse than Christmas: tons of hype and fun and things to do (and eat and drink) leading up to the big day, then POOF! it’s all over and in the vacuum you’re left wondering, what am I supposed to do for the rest of the summer?

In our case, what we are going to do is finish our living/dining room arrangement (no! really! i mean it!) and have our front porch renovated. As we continue to wail and gnash our teeth over our kitchen indecision, we’ve decided that we may as well tackle one of the other non-DIY-able projects on our list. For some reason our porch floor has deteriorated rapidly over the last year (actually, why be so magnanimous? the reason is that the previous owners installed it improperly and maintained it poorly, just like everything else. harumph) and it’s starting to feel a little… dangerous. So we’re having the old porch floor torn out… which means the columns have to be removed… which means some structure has to be built to support the roof… which is why this is totally not a DIY affair. But that’s not to say we aren’t helping… Tony and I will prime the new tongue-and-groove wood flooring before it is installed and paint it after the contractor is finished. We’ll probably paint our shutters and trim as well…. who wants to help us pick a color?

But back to Derby for a second. It’s widely known that Derby weekend is the greatest holiday of the year, involving a tremendous amount of anticipation and planning. It is also generally the first major outdoor event of the year for most people, although falling as it does in early spring–in the Ohio Valley–conditions¬† can range from snowfall to thunderstorms to 95-degree heat stroke. Needless to say, accurate weather forecasts are crucial on Derby weekend. One must balance the need to look fabulous with the demands of the weather, not to mention staying comfortable trackside for eight hours or so. Take last year, for instance: for Friday’s Oaks, the meteorologists predicted rain throughout the day, so we dressed down, wore appropriate shoes and rain gear, and had a damply wonderful time. This year, however, I am very sorry to report, was an undeniable DISASTER. After wildly ranging forecasts throughout the week, we woke up Friday to a forecast of partly sunny, no rain until after dark, possible storms overnight. Oh no! Derby may be rainy, but at least I won’t have to wear a parka! Yay me! So we eschewed parkas and sneakers for airy ruffles, linen and sandals. This is what it looked like outside early on Oaks day:

Rosie, sporting a Derby hat of her own creation.

This is what it looked like when we got to the racetrack three hours later:

Perplexing! This is partly sunny? Oh well, after a few rounds of mint juleps it didn’t seem so bad, and I figured, at least I won’t get sunburned. And then the skies opened up and the wind started to blow. A quick call home revealed that we were under a thunderstorm warning, a tornado warning, and, yeah, possible hail. SAY WHAT? How do you whiff on a thunderstorm warning, Mr. Weatherman? On the most important weather-related holiday weekend of the year?? So we took our sodden ruffles and soaked linen and wet feet under cover, staked out a friendly corner and resumed our Oaks day. I don’t have any pictures of that part of our day, because for the next six hours I was standing with a racing program in one hand and a drink in the other. When the Oaks went off, amid 40-mph winds and muddy mess, this was the view:

Dreadful. They lied! Jerks. The next day, Derby day, was lovely, of course. But I’m still a leeetle bitter about the way Oaks worked out. So if you ever see me in the headlines, “Woman Punches Weatherman in the Mouth,” now you know why.

While stripping wallpaper in the dining room over the weekend, I uncovered the word “Library” scrawled on the bare plaster. Same black pencil as the word “Parlor” I found in the living room. So, this house was built with a Parlor and a Library (cute!), but… where did they eat? Where did they sleep? The original floor plan of this house remains a mystery.

After many meetings and measurings and estimates, we’re back to the drawing board on our kitchen remodel. Which is kind of frustrating, but I’m keeping it all in perspective. Thinking about last week’s earthquake–on the very same day of the catastrophic San Francisco earthquake in 1906– helps keep me grounded: there is a very fine line between a terrible disaster and a fascinating act of nature that is scary only for a moment but is harmless in the end. I’m reminded daily how lucky we are to have what we have. Whether we remodel on a grand scale or a very conservative one (yes, please!), or not at all (urk), doesn’t matter.

BUSY weekend. Highlights follow:

…chalk drawing… some zinnias came over and planted beer on my porch… or some beer came over and planted zinnias, i don’t know… baseball practice… tony and rosie painted our new picnic table…

So, it wasn’t an airplane taking off, or a tree falling on the house, or Rosemarie jumping out of bed and running around her room. It was an earthquake, this morning at about 5:30. Tony and I were both already mostly awake and when it started we exchanged this conversation: Me: “Humph?” Tony: “Wha?” Me:”Is that?” Tony: “EARTHQUAKE! GET THE KIDS!” So we flew out of bed and ran upstairs to grab the little people, and I think by that time it was over. The shaking lasted a little less than a minute, I guess. What are you really supposed to do in an earthquake, go outside? I’m not sure, but that’s what I did. We are all okay, no damage anywhere that we can tell right away. (Damn! Why couldn’t it have demolished the kitchen??) A letter organizer fell of the desk upstairs, but I think that’s all. It seems like the only damage in the city so far has been part of the facade fell off an older building downtown, maybe two miles from here. It seems like everyone is waking up and going on with the day. It was a very weird, very shaky, feeling. Apparently a 5.4 on the Richter.

Erin and I are taking off work today to take Marie and Anthony to the zoo, the weather has been phenomenal. More updates and pictures later. 

Don’t you love fireworks? They make me feel like a little kid. So shiny! So sparkly! Saturday was the biggest fireworks display in the US, held every year to kick off the Kentucky Derby Festival, Thunder Over Louisville. Thirty solid minutes of purty sparkly stuff blowing up, set to music. Thunder is pretty much one of my favorite holidays. There is an air show all day with military jets and the little tumbly aerobatic planes, and then the fireworks after dark. We didn’t go this year, because unfortunately the weather was horrible–cold and rainy. Shlepping two kids downtown with a few hundred thousand other people in the cold gray rain? Yeah, I’ll pass. We won’t even talk about the traffic. Apparently we were not the only ones who had the idea because the crowd was way below normal at only 350,000 people. I tried to keep Rosie up so she could watch it on TV with me, but by the time the two astronauts at the International Space Station did the countdown to launch, she was snoring. The fireworks were fabulous, as always, and now we’re only three weeks away from Derby. My other favorite holiday.

I’ve heard from a few people who’ve made their way to our new blog (HI AUNT SUE!), and I just want to say, thanks for reading! Please feel free to hit the “comments” button anytime to leave us a message. We want to hear from you!

Things at the house are creeping right along. We dove into some outdoor projects over the weekend while the kids played outside and enjoyed the nice weather (finally). Hopefully we’ll have more kitchen news to share when our contractor gets back into town….

Erin brought Marie over to play!

WELL. Here we are at the new blog. With new news! Well, a little news. We got the second set of drawings from Pete, the kitchen designer (who, by the way, has been great to work with so far). He designed and quoted our kitchen with three separate elements: the perimeter cabinets, the hutch (a freestanding piece on the currently blank north wall), and the island. So we can configure the kitchen as our budget allows. The hutch, at over eight feet tall, eight feet wide and twelve inches deep, cost almost as much as the entire run of perimeter cabinets! Who knew?! So, as lovely as it would be, we’ll probably not install that at this time. The island? Maybe, maybe not. We may use an old 48″ round table that was our dinner table growing up, put that in the center of the kitchen to double as workspace and dining space.

The cabinets we are planning on are from DuraSupreme, and I was so excited to have a look at them in the showroom. They really are beautiful, sturdy, solid. They look “crafted” more than manufactured. And they have these soft-close thingies on the drawers so that when you close them, they kind of magically siiiiigh closed the last few inches–you can’t slam them! Fun! We picked the quarter-sawn oak door, in a simple recessed-panel style:

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We haven’t picked a countertop yet. Or appliances for that matter. We have to get our order placed in the next two weeks to hopefully take advantage of a promotion DuraSupreme is running, to save 12% on the cabinets.

It looks like we’re going to pull out (sounds so easy, doesn’t it??) the old chimney and put windows all across the back. You can see the chimney in this ooold picture, right in the middle there. It goes all the up from the floor through the ceiling. Taking it out would allow us to run cabinetry all across this wall, instead of being interrupted in the middle there, as well as adding another window (squeeee!). This of course all depends on having the contractor get another good look at it, but we’re hoping it’s feasible.

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This is a crazy process, so many decisions (so much money! yikes!). We’re trying to keep it all in perspective and focus on making this place OUR HOME. I can’t wait to really get started, and I really REALLY can’t wait to be finished.