Sunday, April 1, 2012

birthday weekend 2012

Somehow my birthday became a 3 day event this year. It started out with an email from my Mom, who wanted to know what kind of party I wanted. I pondered it for a few days, and then decided that I wanted a very different kind of party- I wanted a "hey, can you guys come down here and install a Murphy Bed in the scrap room for me?" kind of party. So maybe it actually started when I rearranged the scrap room last December...

You see, during that massive overhaul I got rid of the full-size guest bed that was taking up a ton of floor space, thinking I'd do something clever with a queen size futon to take its place. Problem was, I could never figure out exactly what that something clever would be. And then one day I decided to do something unconventional and put in a Murphy bed. It would actually take up less space than a futon, still be a queen size (and thus an upgrade from the previous bed), and is I'm sure infinitely more comfortable since it uses a regular mattress and not some fold-up foamy thing.

So basically I told my family, "hey, I'd love to have you visit for my birthday, but you'll have to rennovate the guest room (which also happens to be the scrap room) while you're here." And in true DIY Stinson fashion, they all said, "Sure!" and showed up with tools in hand.

But let me back up before we get to that part. My birthday was on a Saturday this year (St. Patrick's Day!), and I always get sushi at Edo for my birthday. Always. Except that Darren and I are the sushi people, and the rest of our families not so much. So Darren and I went together for sushi on the Friday night before everyone arrived.

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Mmmm. Miso. I love miso.

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And the birthday sushi. For me it was California roll, ebi tem, kani kama, and smoked salmon. The smoked salmon is my favorite. Except for the days when ebi tem is my favorite...which is a lot of days.

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Darren also had kani kama (which is my favorite on days when smoked salmon and/or ebi tem are not), striped bass, and habanero masago.

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The habanero masago was my idea- he usually asks me to pick something off the wall for him.

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Apparently habanero masago is pretty hot.

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And that was sushi at Edo. After we left the restaurant, I went to a crop at church and then proceeded to finish cleaning the house (we'd been Spring cleaning for more than two weeks, tackling jobs ranging from dusting to repairing and re-sealing grout in the shower) right up until midnight.

Staying up that late didn't prevent me from getting up and going to an RPM cycling class the next morning (my family assured me I'd have plenty of time to go before they arrived). The girl at the front desk at the gym even told me happy birthday when I swiped my card on the way in.

While I was gone, Darren went out to retrieve my birthday cake. Errr, I mean birthday pastry. He'd asked me about a week before what I wanted, and I told him I wanted a yummy pastry ring from Panera. As luck would have it, one opened very close to our house just a week before all the festivities, so he set of to pick one up. As luck would also have it (the other kind of luck), the delivery truck to said store had run late that morning, meaning that no dough for the delicious pastry ring was available. So Darren, being a sweetheart, trekked all the way across town to our other Panera and procured my birthday cake. Errr, pastry.

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It was somewhere around this time that my parents called to say they were running late because Beth was sick and wouldn't be able to make it, so they were picking up my brother and Sophie on their way down. I seized the opportunity to ask Darren to take me shopping for a cake stand for the previously procured pastry, since I hadn't been able to locate one that I liked before today. A few minutes later we were on our way to TJ Maxx, where luckily they had the perfect stand. They also had cast iron grill weights, pretty turquoise coffee mugs, an adorable little green metal collander, and a pillow with a map of Africa printed on it.

TJ Maxx is a dangerous place for me.

Darren's chair in the living room also now sports a pillow with a map of Africa printed on it.

On the way home I suddenly had to have a grape slush from Sonic.

Don't judge. I know I'm not the only person out there who's ever had a Sonic grape slush emergency.

What I don't know is why I decided to take a picture of it, but there you go.

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We spend the rest of the morning/early afternoon doing minor cleaning and waiting for people to arrive. While cleaning the walkway, Darren noticed a tiny viola plant growing in a crack in our front walk. I immediately requested that it be cordoned off, and Darren even made a cute "Pansy Crossing" sign for me.

Mom and Dad pulled up just as we were erecting a stone fence around it.

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The first order of business after getting everyone in was to feed the hungry people lunch.

Sophie and I apparently share similar tastes in food- avocado and bacon were her choices for the day.

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Darren finally got his long awaited Christmas present (it had been on preorder for a while)- the keyboard dock for his Transformer Prime tablet. He loves it.

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Sophie had fun watching out the window a bit later while Darren unloaded some stuff from the car.

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And she also made friends with Giblet. Sing with me now...Soft kitty, warm kitty...

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While the guys were getting set up to work in my scrap room, Mom did a little decorating in the living room for me. Sophie had even helped pick some flowers for me!

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I found this adorable stuffed tool set for Sophie last time I was at IKEA, but I had no idea it came with a little tool belt until I gave it to her and J opened it. Is it not adorable?!?

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She had a great time "helping" while everything was getting set up for the install.

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But eventually she had to vacate the construction site and sat reading magazines with my Mom instead.

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Part of the deal with the new, upgraded bed size was that it also needed a new mattress, meaning I needed to take Mom shopping for one. I didn't want to miss out on the build as it happened, though, so I set up my other DSLR (the D300) on a tripod with the interval timer set to take photos every few minutes while we were gone.

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And so while Darren (who came along to help load), Mom, Sophie, and I were at Sam's doing this...

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The guys were back at the house doing this.

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Until we came back home an hour or so later and Sophie insisted that J read the new book that Mom had found for her while we were out.

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Here's the full frame before the springs were installed. See how little space it takes up when it's folded against the wall?

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It was at about this time I realized that I had totally forgotten about getting plywood for the bed platform (I'd meant to have it ahead of time), so Darren and I ended up at Home Depot at 8pm on a Saturday night having wood cut.

When we got back home, I found Mom and Sophie working on cupcakes and table decor...

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...and the guys had pretty much finished installing the springs (I got to see the last few go in) for the frame.

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Miss Sophie got a bath (I took cute photos, but I have promised Beth that no nekkid baby pictures shall be shared here) and put on her pajamas (and J's stylin' sunglasses)...

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...and then went to help "clean up" just as the install was being finished. Yes, It's bare plywood for now. I didn't have time to paint it that night, but it's ready for that when I have time...and also when I come up with a clever way to hide the frame.

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At this point I was basically bouncing around taking photos of everything, including the lovely table my Mom had finished setting out.

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I also worked on getting the brand spanking new guest bed all ready for its first occupant. Here Mom and Sophie check it out, but J is actually the first person who slept in the new guest quarters.

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And then somewhere around 10pm, I got to open presents and eat cake!

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The next morning Dad and I got up early and went out to photograph cherry blossoms. I don't know if he's ever been here when they're in bloom, so I was glad he was able to go with me.

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Cherry blossom petals on my toe shoes!

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We popped over to the university campus, too, to check out some of their blooming trees. UAH actually has an arborist on staff, and there are many, many very cool varieties of trees on the school grounds.

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And then it was back to the house for breakfast/lunch/brunch/more-avocados-and-bacon-plus-blueberries for Sophie.

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And then a little later everyone packed up to go home, and now I have a great place for them to sleep when they come back!!

I should also note that after two late nights in a row, I still went running on Sunday afternoon and didn't miss church on Sunday evening. :)

So, that was my birthday! I'm so happy that everyone came down, and that there's been more progress made on the scrap room (namely the part about it being a guest room again, too). I'm pleased to report that the Murphy bed is just as comfortable as a normal bed (I actually slept in it one day last week when I came home from work sick with strep), and I'm so glad I went with it over a futon. Now I just need to figure out a decorative way to hide it, and the room makeover will be totally done!