Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Skiing In New Hampshire: Or the Coldest I've Ever Been

Dan's cousins have a lake house in New Hampshire and the are always telling us we should plan a visit. Over Martin Luther King weekend, we finally made it happen!

We don't get to see this part of the family often, but when we do, we always have a great time. Paul and Yana have a son who is a year older than Zahara, but they haven't seen each other since Zahara was four months old! The kids all got along well (for the most part), and had fun building forts, playing in the snow, eating yummy food, and snuggling their two GIANT dogs (120 and 140 pounds each!).

Speaking of snow, we were excited to get some good snow since we were planning on going skiing. We didn't bargain on an actual blizzard and polar vortex though. We got around a foot and a half of snow one day, and FREEZING cold the next. I'm not exaggerating when I say freezing. Wind chills were -25 degrees. Can you even??

Playing in the snow during the blizzard was really fun though. My dad always says the number one rule for playing in the snow is you must stay outside at least as long as it took you to get ready. This was a challenge for us, to be honest. It took forever to get a million layers on each of the kids, and it was pretty darn cold out. They didn't last too long, but we had a lot of fun. We especially enjoyed playing fetch with the dogs (until we couldn't find the ball in the snow anymore), and sitting in the hot tub while it snowed! That's such an amazing feeling!

Skiing was...cold. We don't ski often and we had been really looking forward to the outing. If not for the absolute freezing weather, it would have been perfect. The mountain (Gunstock) was really close to their house and had great, wide trails. We put Zahara in ski school while Asher was in day care. I think next year he'll be ready for school too.

Zahara did really well! She mastered her turns and was able to carry her own gear. The only downside was that it was so cold that you couldn't have any exposed skin. We tried our best to dress warmly, but there's only so much you can do with those temperatures. Both she and I had serious issues keeping our hands warm. The instructors were able to get her additional hand warmers and another set of gloves, so her second time out was much more successful. I think next year/lesson she'll be ready for the ski lift!

Dan and I did several runs together and a few with Paul. After a few hours, my hands were too cold to continue, so I hung out in the lodge with Yana. I was pretty happy with the skiing I did--minus the one giant fall that left me a bruised mess. We all had a great time and were ready for a nice afternoon nap.

Thanks Paul, Yana, and Sasha for a wonderful family vacation! We can't wait to see you again soon!

Friday, February 1, 2019

Our House: One Year Later

It's hard to believe that we've been in this house for more than a year already! In some ways it feels like we've been here forever, but in other ways it still feels like we just moved in. This place definitely feels like home, but there are still some big ticket items I'd like to check off before really calling it done--not that a house is ever really "done."

I feel like we're entering the maintenance phase more than the start-from-scratch phase. It's a good feeling to be really comfortable in your own house. And we really are. I couldn't love this house more. It's fulfilling every single hope I had for it--tons of entertaining space, great kitchen, open feel, separate work has it all.

Here are some of the things we've done lately:

This room is mostly complete. We added four stools to the counter and they've added so much function! Dan and I were in a design debate over what type of stools to get. I lobbied for a chair with a back, since I envisioned the kids sitting there doing homework eventually while we cooked, and I wasn't sure how comfortable a backless stool would be. Dan argued that the sight-lines are much better with a backless chair and that the kids would get used to it. If they didn't, the dining room table is two feet away and they could work there instead. In the end, I conceded, and I have to admit he is right. These chairs are awesome, and so cheap! I highly recommend them. They're comfy, sturdy, and tuck in easily under the island.

Dining Room
We found it! The perfect dining room table! It's a gorgeous 8-seater that extends to seat twelve. We bought it during a crazy sale at Arhaus (who's surprised?), so we got it for 50% off. We also got a matching bench. I'm not sure we'll use the bench every day (though we have been so far). Eventually, I'd like to get chairs and a rug to go under the table. I haven't seen anything that I love yet and I really want to be deliberate about that choice.

Living Room
Again, this room is mostly done. Eventually I'd like to add some greenery (probably fake), some floor cushions, and way down the road--when I'm not constantly thinking about sticky hands--a new couch. In the meantime, we added this small table from World Market, and I LOVE it! It's the perfect place to set a cup of tea while I'm reading a magazine.

Oh, Arhaus, how I love thee. Let me count the ways. Dan and I couldn't find the perfect piece for the office that would house our printer and our files. Then we went to the Arhaus showroom on a whim, and BAM! There it was. Isn't she lovely? I'm eventually going to get some boxes to use as a filing cabinet and get rid of my existing one. But is already so functional. I love it.

I can't say enough what a good decision it was to do our deck in the late winter, meaning it was ready for use when the weather got warmer. We enjoyed this deck all summer and fall. We got an 8-seat table plus a deck box that doubles as extra seating.

Same deal here as the deck. So functional! I love that there is enough room for a shaded area, but also for a fire pit. And, we specifically designed the patio to be large enough to hold our sukkah, which we got to use this year!!

Dan is a bit of a perfectionist, which means he is in charge of hanging any art in our house. I have slowly been forcing asking him to hang things on the walls so they aren't completely bare. We're getting there. And, I got an AWESOME piece of art for our bedroom that I am totally in love with. We need to find some furniture in there before we know it's permanent place, but right now I can see it from bed and it makes me happy.

I think we're done with lighting for now. We got gorgeous pieces for all of our bedrooms (our chandelier, Zahara's petal semi-flush mount, and Asher's industrial-style). I couldn't be happier with these. Eventually we'll add a big statement light in the living room, and replace the builder-grade lights in the dining room, kitchen, and foyer. But that's down the line.

We're making great progress on our to-do list, but there's still quite a bit. The largest items are the dining room and bedroom, which are still largely untouched. We've got time though. For now, I'm loving my house even more with each passing day!
  • Kitchen backsplash (we're doing this ourselves over winter break!)
  • Kitchen bar stools
  • Dining room table and chairs
  • Office furniture (have a desk, need a place for printer and files, etc.)
  • Mudroom build-out (need a place for coats, backpacks, shoes)
  • Basement organization (bookshelves, toy storage)
  • Basement guest room curtains
  • Master bedroom bedframe (we put our old one in the guest room )
  • Master bedroom curtains
  • Master bedroom furniture (probably a bench for the end of the bed and a chaise lounge)
  • Master bedroom light (it's roughed in, but we need a fixture)
  • Asher room light
  • Zahara room light
  • Guest room curtains (bedroom and bathroom)
  • Guest room nightstands
  • Decor throughout the house (nothing is on the walls yet and it's starting to drive me crazy!)-
  • Patio furniture --got chairs for fire pit, but still need something under the deck (lounge seating)
  • Deck furniture
  • Fire Pit