Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Xander turns THREE at Chuck E. Cheese's house

Xander went through a phase of loving Chuck E. Cheese -- like, he didn't just enjoy going there to play the games, he loved seeing Chuck E. Cheese whenever he'd come out and interact with the kids.
He even called it "Chuck E. Cheese's House"

So we thought it would be fitting to have his birthday party there, bearing in mind that it would likely be INSANE and OBNOXIOUS for the parents, but wildly amazing and fun for the kids.


Invitation design by none other than Terlie Design Co.



The sample cake was MUCH nicer than the one we got :P

Xander and all of his friends :)

The birthday boy had a blast...

...and some AWESOME gifts!

A big thanks to everyone who showed up and helped make Xander's 3rd birthday party a fun one!


Spring with my men

Spring in Chicago got off to a quick start, but summer took a little longer to make an appearance.
It was important for me to take advantage of any opportunity I could get, to spend time outdoors with my little Xander man.

Helping grandma in the garden
 We visited numerous parks and playgrounds all around the suburbs

We visited the Brookfield Zoo for the first time, but got there pretty late in the afternoon and only stayed for about an hour and a half

This is his first mold-a-rama experience, which would eventually lead to a future addiction..



We went up to Milwaukee and spent some time with dada during the week.  Got to go to AJ Bombers, where they have the best peanut delivery system I've ever seen....

Oh.. and they have POUTINE
Officially my favorite restaurant in all of Milwaukee ;P
 While up there, I took Xander to the Milwaukee Zoo where he got to see a lot more animal friends

More mold-o-rama fun, and four less dollars in my pocket

Back down to Chicago.  Bri started playing in an outdoor soccer league, so we would go to cheer him on (and to kick a ball around in the open fields)

We visited the Graylsake flea market at the Lake County Fair Grounds, just a 5 minute drive from our new house

A couple weeks later, we headed back up to Milwaukee to soak in the rays at the beach...



 Aaaaand to celebrate THIS guys THIRD BIRTHDAY!

 How lucky is Xander?! The staff at the aLoft hotel made him a little birthday package :)

Enjoyed a fun date-night with the hubby at Just for Laughs in Chicago - got to see some talented comedians and laughed our asses off


We were delighted to receive an invitation to a birthday party for our friend's son Carter.
Xander got to make PIZZA! at California Pizza Kitchen in Oakbrook.  He had so much fun and made some friends along the way :)


Playdates are always fun when it involves these two kiddos:

We met with our friend Lucille and her girls Ryler and Baya, for a fun day at the Buffalo Grove splash pad.  



 It was a little cool that day, but this was no problem for little X -- he figured out that the cement was warm, so every time he got a little chilly, I'd find him on the ground like this:


So this was just the beginning of our adventures... Spring stretched itself out as long as it could, and Summer eventually showed up to the party --  that's when the fun REALLY started!

Bridal Expo in Wheeling

You probably thought that I was sitting around, all un-employed, just pre-occupying my time with building the house, didn't you? Ha.
Well believe it or not (anyone who knows me well, will believe it), I decided that I'd add a little bit of stress and anxiety to my life, by exhibiting at the Chicago Bridal Expo in Wheeling, IL.

It was going to be my first show in the US... this could either go really good or reeeeally bad.
Only one way to find out...

I dug out my portfolio and started to do a bit of pre-planning for my display.  
You don't realize how much work you've done until you see it all laid out on the floor..
I ordered a few Terlie stamps for the show.  Each bride walks around with a bingo-style card that they are expected to get signed off by each of the vendors that they visit.  All of the other vendors just initial the cards -- who was I to be typical??

This year, I was going to do something a little different from previous shows -- thankfully, I held on to some of my display items from Winnipeg.  This was a huge help, since it meant that I didn't really have to buy anything new...except for this shelf, which would help add a bit of interest and height

$26 bucks, not bad..
 On the day of the show, we (me and my husband) managed to load everything onto one cart and bring it all in.  My afternoon consisted of setting up the display and getting everything just right

And this is what it ended up looking like

My signage 

Mr. Schmid was a trooper and helped me work the show -- he was sick as a dog, but he pushed through it like a soldier

We were the only invitation vendor at the show, so it was pretty awesome to get as much attention as we did.  We got compliments on the invitations and the display from brides and other vendors.  Made me feel pretty proud :)

I guess my dress of choice was a good one, cuz it got as much attention as the invitations and display did.  
Invitations, people, invitations!  That's what you're supposed to be looking at -- not my dress!
$24 from Forever 21 -- you don't have to spend a lot, you just have to know how to rock it ;P 
The show went from 5pm to 10pm.  It didn't take long to break everything down and pack up.


For my first Bridal Expo, I have to say that it was an awesome experience and that there were definitely opportunities for me to improve on for the next one.

Monday, 9 September 2013

The Build - Part 2: Interior

As mentioned in my previous post, the interior of the house was pulled together in the final month before possession.  Once the exterior walls and windows were installed, the inside of the house was completed on schedule, with barely any hang-ups.
Here's a summary:


The plumbing and installation of the shower and bathtubs were completed early on
May 17, 2013

May 17, 2013
 Shortly after the plumbing was done, the heating, cooling and ventilation ducts were installed
May 19, 2013
 Before the drywall could be installed, the builder was required to have inspections done by the Village.  This was a little bit of a process, but once approved, they were back on track and the walls were erected and taped.

 Electricians came in and wired the entire house in 2 days -- pot lights, outlets and undercounter lighting, done.


***

So remember when we had to pick all of our interior finishes from the design center back in January? Well this is the point where all of those tiny 3"x 3" swatches were going to start showing up...in a much larger format.  How nerve-racking.  

After drywall, came the first coat of paint.  The optional paint upgrade included "most" of the house, with the exception of bedrooms and bathrooms.  So "most" of house is painted in Sherwin-Williams Techno Gray

June 18, 2013

Don't worry Xander, we'll paint your room later :(

We took a road trip up to Winnipeg at the end of June, to pick Xierra up for the summer.  When we returned, the doors to the house were locked, and we could no longer get inside *sad face*

Looking in through the front window, we were pleasantly surprised to see that our BEAUTIFUL wood floors had been installed while we were away!  The trim was also installed.

Determined rebels that we are, we found a way to break into the house (i.e. there was a rope peeking out from the bottom of the garage door - we pulled it up and the door opened :P)

The cabinets!!  And the start of my island!!
I'm so giddy!
Complete with roll-out tray garbage cans and lazy susan :)

We were glad to see that the tile was also installed in bathrooms upstairs

 ...along with the vanities


And what's a house without a furnace
June 30, 2013
A mid-week visit revealed an unexpected boo boo -- they installed the wrong color cabinets for our bar. They were supposed to be Kona (dark espresso) to match the island.  Someone effed up the order and they accidentally got the cabinets in Chiffon instead.  I was able to catch it just before the carpenters were about to install the lower cabinets -- a call to the construction manager was all it took to get the new one's ordered..

 

Otherwise, there wasn't too much progress from our last visit -- just the vanity in the powder room and the toilets in all of the bathrooms were installed


July 10, 2013

 The next time we returned, it looked like the builder was starting to get the house cleaned up - they removed the protective sheets on the floors, to reveal the stunning beauty beneath:
July 12, 2013

The carpet was finally installed.  The entire upstairs is carpeted and the family room on the main floor (off of the kitchen) is also carpeted: 

July 14, 2013
The construction manager didn't mess around -- 4 days later, the new cabinets were installed and we were back on track..

The island still needed some finishing at this point, and the counters were still on order, but it was certainly coming together nicely


July 18, 2013 
There was another little set-back, when we found out that our counters weren't going to be installed in time for our final walkthrough.  We did the walkthrough anyway and returned the day that they were completed:

July 22. 2013
Our closing took place on Friday, July 26th.  We got our keys and officially moved in later that day.
Eager beavers, we were, to finally call this place home. 
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