Sunday, February 28, 2010

Renovation - Curret Status

The goal was to have the renovation completed in a week. Negative, ghost rider. At least another day's worth of work needs to be done.

  • The kitchen is nearly complete. Just need to grout and replace the white plate covers with stainless steel.
  • New doors along with existing and new trim need to be painted.
  • The master bath has been painted its new color, new light fixtures are in, and the door is in place. Kristen needs to find a mirror and touch up painting remains.

  • The now new hallway is nearly complete. Electrical, new light fixture, and new closest doors are in. Just need to add the hardware and some painting.

  • New light fixture in the guest bath too.

The setbacks. On Wednesday, one of the workers had his van broken into and the wet saw stolen. As a result, the kitchen took longer and the saw was needed for some of the tiles. The ripple effect continued as other aspects feel behind as well. Oh yeah, the master bath and master bedroom were the same paint color. We thought we had some existing paint remaining and would just use that to paint the hallway. Nope. No paint. So Kristen had to scramble to pick a new paint color. We go from light blue to an airy green. I like it!

Overall, we like the changes. A few new challenges have emerged as a result, and we might have done some aspects differently (but isn't that always the case!), but we like what has been done!

And for those of you just riveted by the renovation, a few more pictures. Once the project is completed, I'll post before and after pictures.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Little Man has his ABCs nailed. I attempted to capture it on video. Moderate success. Enjoy!

Oh yeah, he likes to recite the ABCs right before we tuck him in for sleep, thus the "Time for Bed" at the end of each video.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Renovation - Day 2

More prep for the big stuff took place on Day 2. However, some noticeable changes are evident.

The master bath/bedroom continues to evolve. The closet door is in place. New electrical is installed with the cuts now taped and mudded over. However, a challenge may have emerged. A stud is in the place where Kristen wants to install one of the lighting sconces. Uh oh!

The door that was removed from the bedroom was recycled and now is in the place of the flimsy, vented bi-fold door for the laundry room. Turns out the w/d was already vented so code does not require a vented door. With the solid door, the noise has been cut down dramatically. Very nice!

In the kitchen the tile backsplash has started to go up. It looks awesome. Still needs to be grouted and run up the side and over the cabinets, but the difference is already profound making the kitchen much lighter!

Swindled By the Girl Scouts

At the office, girl scout cookies are a hot commodity. Many employees aplenty have girls and they are all peddling the same wares. I attempt to spread out my purchases and this year found myself with about 8 boxes.

I brought home the first lode with Kristen and Gilbert eager to taste the sweet bounty! We opened the Thin Mints only to discover, the Girl Scouts swindled us!

Apparently those girls working the assembly line need some lessons in quality control. We were shorted about three cookies in one of the prepackaged rolls. How dare they! There should be congressional hearings on the subject. I demand satisfaction and retribution!
Little Man could not have cared less. All he saw was, "COOOKEEEESS!"

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Expanding Family

No, Team Johnson is not collectively gaining weight! The month of February has produced two new additions to the expanded family.

First, Kristen's brother and his wife welcomed their second child, a girl, Iara back earlier this month. Their second and first girl.

Then, just yesterday, my sister thankfully now has Coleman in her arms and not her belly. Coleman weighed in at a svelte 9lbs. 8 oz. and at 20+ inches! This is also their second child and first boy.

For Gilbert, this means more cousins to play with! We have been talking to him about both Iara and Coleman and he is quite excited to see them. In his time lapsed world that means NOW!

Let The Demolition Begin - Day 1

The condo renovations have officially started. Monday was spent shuffling furniture around and Tuesday morning was used to cover everything with plastic.

The crew ripped out walls and begin to frame out the changes to the bathroom. Gilbert is loving all the action. The crew left all their stuff under tarps, but Little Man was quick to remove it and discover the mother lode of vacuums...the shop vac! All night last and this morning he kept commenting, "Larry's big vacuum!" Larry is the lead.
Here are some pictures of the work in progress.

Living in a condo equals storage space challenges. Solution, raise the bed. As a result, we keep a lot of 'stuff' under our bed. Here is just some of that 'stuff'.

Master bathroom. Looking out from the tub. The master bathroom is connected to a short hallway. A door closes off both from the bedroom. We decided to rip out the door and expand the entry to the same width as the hallway to create a more open floor plan. A new door is being placed at the entrance to the bathroom. We got tired of walking in on each other's 'private time' just to get to the closest!

The living room is the new storage location for all the furniture. Every thing is covered tight to avoid drywall dust collecting. Gilbert loves to play with the plastic!

Master bathroom. Looking from bedroom into bath. You can see the framing is now in where the new door will be hung. Also, we are replacing the developer-grade bi-fold door with nice french doors. Cool.

We are replacing the big slate of glass mirror with a more artisan one (up to Kristen to find it!). Oh yeah, the awesome hollywood lighting is coming out along with the developer-grade faucet. In comes new sconce lighting that will flank the mirror and a cool new faucet. Could more 'goop' have been used to afix the mirror to the wall?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Fun Outing

Gilbert had been harping all last week about wanting to ride the "L" train. With a case of cabin fever, we decided to grant his request and at the same time have a meal out.

With a 2 for 1 coupon, it was off to Goose Island. We rode the Green Line to the Red Line and then hoofed it the rest of the way. Little Man was euphoric! He kept saying 'subway' as we walked down the stairs into the belly of the city to catch the Red Line. And then once off, he loved playing chase and hide on the sidewalk (this game consists of dad running ahead and hiding behind whatever impediment was on the street).

At Goose Island, he was fired up. You can see the mircobrew in process and so we got a lot of "What's that?" questions. Each vat had the Goose Island logo so he would say, "I want to look at the Goose!".

The best part was yet to come. A large party was having dinner and celebrating what appeared to be a birthday. Gilbert spied a homemade cake and starting belting out (unprompted!), "Happy Birthday to you." The matriarch walked over and offered him a piece. Talk about working it.! He even commented on the 'sprinkles'.

After dinner we headed home with Gilbert now wanting to catch the bus. Well, thank you CTA for the service cutbacks as we walked two miles (and made it home) before seeing a bus!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

This Is A Must Read

Kristen turned me on to this blog (courtesy of Daily Mayhem). Regardless of whether you are a teacher or administrator, have kids in school or soon-to-be, what this teacher is doing is 1) amazing and 2) revealing the appalling situation at what must be taking place at many other schools across the country.

Check this out and make it a frequent read!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Demo and Reno = Lots of Dust!

This weekend we will be spending our time rearranging the condo in preparation for a little demo and renovation work. Nothing too drastic, but we hope the changes will be profound. Replacing the kitchen back splash, reconfiguring the master bath (slightly!), new fixtures here, change the paint there.

Will be sure to put up before, during, and after pictures. It will be interesting to witness all the activity in terms of Little Man. Throughout the week different sections will be covered in plastic, furniture shifted, piled, rearranged. I'm sure he will find it all fun and want to explore (aka be mischievous)!

Stay tuned...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dr. Biker

Gilbert decided to perform a check up on his bicycle during a recent ride .

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Our collection of wine bottle cork has become unruly. Thinking of a fun project, Gilbert and I sorted through all the cork looking for keepers to make trivets or some other type or project. I asked Little Man to find all the champagne corks. He did a great job sifting through and finding them all!

Monday, February 15, 2010


"Daddy chase you." That is what Gilbert likes to say. Replace "me" with "you" and that is what I do. I chase Gilbert around the condo and into his room. This is a great wind down activity. Wind down you say? Why, yes? He's so exhausted after doing this a few times, he konks out and we don't hear from him the rest of the night!

What the videos do not capture is the full lap around the condo. He starts in his room, runs around the coffee table in the living room, maybe vers into the master bedroom for a loop and then it is into the kitchen before I chase him back to his sanctuary.

No matter how many times he did this, Little Man always would say, "One more time!" Enjoy!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Witnessing History

I love the Olympics. I believe it started when I was a kid. My parents were big on the Olympics. I remember watching the events with them. After the Miracle On Ice, there was an exhibition tour in the US and my dad took me to see the US and Russia play. It was awesome!

The ad campaign and run up did not seem as grand as Olympics past. Or maybe it is because we don't watch NBC much. Any reason, I wasn't really thinking about being an active viewing participant. That quickly changed. Watching some of the opening ceremonies and ski jumping began to bring back the fond memories and I was quickly hooked.

Well, today I'm glad I watched. I witnessed history, if not from afar. For the first time EVER the US won a medal in the men's combined nordic. Ski jumping and cross-country skiing. Talk about cross training!

The cross country was exhilarating with 3 US in the final pack all vying for a medal. I found myself yelling "Go, go, go!" and slapping the table in encouragement as if I was track-side. It was an awesome sprint finish in which we captured the silver. I even watched it again (thank you DVR!).
My point? If you don't watch the Olympics you are missing out!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What to Do when Valentine's Day Is...Just Another Day?

I'm a creative guy and over the years I like to think Kristen has been surprised by it. Especially on special occasions like Mother's Day, birthdays, anniversaries, and Valentine's Day. However, I must admit over the years rust - or maybe it is a lack of motivation - has formed around the edges.

The push-pull of work, Little Man, and life's daily episodes along with the comfort (and perhaps complacency) of nearing a decade of being in a relationship with thy wifey(counting the courting!) can dull the senses when it comes to the 'little things that count' adage. I just realized I'm in that mode and don't like being in this rut.

Must. Break. Free. Suggestions?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Camera Shy

I attempted to capture Gilbert doing some fantastic talking and singing. Instead, he decided to be elusive!

Children's Museum

To escape what was becoming the 'winter blues' in our home, we joined the Chicago Children's Museum last weekend. What a good call! The annual membership is incredibly cheap (considering what a single admission costs) and there is aplenty to do for Gilbert.
For the first go around, we just wandered all the areas letting him explore. And explore he did! A few favorites did emerge and we were happy to just let him roam and explore!
He particularly enjoyed the water stations and was quite enamored with the car, especially filling up the gas tank and washing the windows. Funny!
We will definitely be visiting often!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Lesson Learned

At a friend's house to watch the Super Bowl, Gilbert attempted to play with the two resident cats. He got a little too close and up in their business and was the recipient with a bite to the cheek. All is good, now.

We mentioned this to his teacher and when she asked Gilbert how he got the ouchies on his face, he said, "I squeeze the kitty." The teach told him he should not do that to cats and he replied, "Yes, I am."

Lesson learned?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

In the Kitchen...More.

And now the conversation...

Kitchen Helper

This is what we have to deal with if there is activity in the kitchen...our little helper has to be in the middle and involved. Lots of fun!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Who Reads Stories?

Gilbert prefers to have Kristen read stories to him before bed. We enjoy playing with him as to who reads stories. As such, he's developed a quick response.

Monday, February 1, 2010


We spent the weekend at the Kalahari. No, not in Africa. The Wisconsin Dells!

Quite a set up, the resort has an indoor waterpark to help shake the winter blahs. Quickly becoming an annual pilgrimage, we went up with two other families for a fun, and wet, weekend!

Last year, Gilbert had yet to start walking so we were limited to the kiddie section. Not this year! He wanted to do it all! He especially liked going down the big raft rides with mommy and daddy. I got a workout carrying him up five flights of stairs! By the end of the trip, I had him going down the ride with arm ups and screaming at the same time. His eyes wide with fun, excitement, and a splash of fear. The ingredients for a thrilling experience!

When not going on the rides, he was interested in a water pouring pulleys throughout the place. You know, pull the rope and water fills up the top bucket and then spills over into the other and so forth often drenching the very person pulling on the rope!

The Night

After a full day of waterpark fun, you'd think the kids would be exhausted. Not! Instead, we had six of them running throughout the three connected rooms playing tag and hide and seek. All in their jammies, they did pause for a few minutes to jump on the beds!