19 Feb

Steve, Reggie, and I are incredibly happy to announce the arrival of our baby girl, Amelia Grace Behnke.

Amelia Favorite Hospital

Amelia was born on January 25th, 2013 at 12:11 pm.  She was 7 pounds 3 ounces and 19 ½ inches long.  We feel very lucky to have welcomed a healthy baby girl after a high risk pregnancy and a not uneventful birth.  Luckily, Amelia has always been healthy and she made it through both the pregnancy and birth beautifully.

Amelia Favorite 2

Amelia Favorite Sleeping

Since she’s been home she’s been enjoying time with her mom and dad and her big brother Reggie.  She’s sleeping lots but getting more wakey with each passing day and she’s eating and growing like a champ.


A few people have asked how we came up with her name.  It’s a rather uneventful story.  When we found out we were having a girl, I made a list of names that I liked and then Steve chose his favorites.  Amelia was a front runner from the start.  One of the reasons we enjoyed this name, however, is because it has some personal significance.  I have a great grandmother named Anelia so the name is a nod to her.  Additionally, Amelia is the patron saint of farmers in the Catholic church and Steve comes from a family of dairy farmers.  So we felt the name pays homage to both our families.  Grace we chose because we like one syllable middle names and it’s the name of a great aunt on my mom’s side of the family.


She’s an amazing little girl and we’re so blessed to have her in our lives.


For Those Still Wondering

21 Nov

(That envelope says “Boy or Girl?”, by the way.)





IT’S A GIRL!!!!! 

**I completely thought we were having a boy.  I was totally shocked when we found out.  Steve thought it was a girl all along.  As you can see, his face was a bit less surprised than mine.


Holy Moly

21 Aug

Due January 29, 2013!

I like to move it, move it

1 Jul

If I ever say “Soon, I promise,” again, correct me.  Tell me that I mean “Soon, I hope.”  Or “Soon, I’ll try.”  Or “Soon, so long as nothing interesting is on TV.” 

After all, doesn’t the bible say, “Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no.”  

Anyway, that’s mostly to say that I’m sorry and that I always wait so long to write a new post.  But, in my defense, some big changes have been happening since I last wrote.  BIG changes.

Here’s a hint:


Did you see it?  Here’s a closer hint.


Got it now?  That’s right…we sold our house.  I know what you’re thinking, “What?!?!?  You just bought that house!  Why would you sell it now?”  Well, I’ll try to answer you the best I can.

Steve and I both really liked Boy Blue when we bought it.  And we still like it today.  But when we bought, we bought in a bit of a down market and at a time of the year when not a lot of houses were available.  So Boy Blue ended up being, not the best house for us, but the best house available to us.  But we were excited about it and hopeful about it, despite its flaws.

Fast forward a few months and some of those flaws became more and more obvious and more and more frustrating.  Things that we knew would bother us, such as having 1100 finished square feet of basement that we didn’t use, really started to get on our nerves.  Why were we paying a mortgage and taxes for space that we couldn’t use now and couldn’t envision ourselves using on a regular basis even if we had five kids?  And things that we didn’t know would bother us, like having two furnaces that both need maintenance multiple times a year, really started to get on our nerves.  The question of “why are we still in this house” kept coming up.  So, we decided to look at the option of selling.

We didn’t have a plan to sell this year.  We looked at options for selling in two years or three or five.  But when we called our Realtor to find out what his opinion on the subject was, he thought we should put our house on the market right away.  No use continuing to pay for a house you don’t want, he said.  And the market is stable from where we bought, he told us.  Not to mention that it’s still an incredible time to buy. 

So, we took the plunge and listed the house (after a week’s worth of tearing down more wallpaper, repainting, fixing some windows, and other minor projects).  We listed the house at a fair market price that would have made us just a little bit of money.  In the first weekend on the market, we had 11 showings.  The following Wednesday, we had another showing and that Friday we had an offer.   We are so blessed to have our house sell after only 8 days on the market.  Granted, it took a little more time to finish the inspection and get signed papers, but within two weeks everything was complete.

At that point, we had to begin a rapid search for a new home.  We only had about two months to find a place so we immediately began the search.  Within a few days, our Realtor had sent the links to over 200 houses for us to look at.  We narrowed down our possibilities to under 30 and split them up into two LONG days of house hunting. 

During those first days, we saw some contenders but nothing that we felt comfortable putting an offer on.  We waited, knowing that we could go back to the homes we saw if nothing else panned out.  A few days later, we saw another batch of houses and this time saw one that we felt would work for us.  We went home that night with a plan to go back to the house the next day to look at it again and to write an offer.

The next day we requested to see two more houses that had just come on the market.  They both looked like nice options and we just wanted to be thorough before we saw the house we wanted to put an offer on.  The first house was okay.  It was a foreclosure so it needed some work but the part that really turned us off was that it was on a corner lot and across the street was a school.  We thought it would get a lot of traffic and that’s not something we wanted to deal with.  The second house we saw was a nice contender.  It was similar to the house we wanted to put an offer on, though set up slightly differently.  We kept it in mind, but decided to move on to the house we wanted. 

But our second trip to that house wasn’t what we wanted it to be.  The house was still nice and we still liked it as an option but on our second trip, we took a closer look at the neighborhood and realized it wasn’t exactly what we wanted.  We decided to head home for the night and think about our options.

The next day, we decided that the right house to make on offer on was the second house we’d seen the day prior, the nice contender that we didn’t want to put an offer on till we saw the other house again.  We wrote up an offer and submitted it on a Friday morning.  The sellers made us wait the entire weekend before submitting a counter offer to us.  We replied with another counter offer and, again, waited.  Eventually they came back with a take it or leave it offer.  We took it.  We’re working out the details of the inspection right now but at the end of July, we’ll be moving in here:


So, that’s why we’re moving.  We’ll give you more details on the new house once we get in there.  We’ll also try to fill you in on what we’ve done to this house since our last update.  Until then, here’s a picture of my baby napping with his toys. 




Maptly Put

17 Apr

Stevareno and my one year anniversary with our house is coming up.  We moved in last year at the end of May.  To be exact, May 20 was the day we closed on our house and the first night we slept here.  My parents were coming the next day and we wanted to spend our first night in our house just the two of us (and Reggie).

I was happy we were able to move in during the nicest weather of the year.  There really isn’t a better time to move since it’s still cool but there’s no snow on the ground.  But, one of the sad parts of moving in at that point is that we had a TON of yard work to catch up on.  Plus, we missed some of the early blooming plants in our yard.

So imagine my surprise when this April, the tree that was planted way to close to our garage, flowered!

That hottie with a body in the flannel is my hubby. What a fox.

I think it’s so pretty

But the tree is not really what this post is about.  I wanted to show you guys what I bought for myself for my birthday/built this weekend.  What I bought is: a gigantic map!  What I built is: a frame for a gigantic map!  Actually, Stevie Wonder built the frame (mostly) but we are both going to reap the rewards.

When we bought a new mattress in January, we decided to pull the box spring from our old queen bed apart and use the wood for other projects.  We ended up building a bed for the mattress that didn’t need a box spring so it was no loss.  And we used part of that wood for this framing project.

First we measured the map and then Steve McQueen cut the wood at 45 degree angles so that they would fit together well.  We laid them out and squared them up.

Then, we glued the corners together and put them in our corner clamp while we screwed into one side.

We also added a center support for extra support of the frame.

After building the frame, we laid the map face down and centered the frame on top of it.  We wrapped the map around the frame and stapled it to the wood.  After that, we had this:

Here’s a close up shot:

We are going to hang it in the hallway by our front door so that we can use it to give directions if we need to but that project is on hold because we’re waiting for a Dremmel bit to make a T-slot that we ordered online to come in the mail.  Long sentence.  Sorry.  I’ll post some final “after” pictures once we hang up the map.  Incidentally, that map will be the FIRST thing we put on our walls in this house.

I’ve heard hanging things on your walls makes your house your home but I think our house became a home when we put in 100+ hours to take down wallpaper.  We know this house intimately.

On a side note, we had to lock Reggie out of the living room while we were working on this for fear that he’d come in and step all over the map and put his toe nails through it.  So we blocked him off with some chairs.  He was in the dining room which is right attached to the living room and could see us the whole time but he still whimpered and whined like we’d left him forever.  Then, he tried sneaking under the chairs and through the chairs.  Then he did this:

What a boy!

Rast Hack

2 Apr

If there was ever any doubt in your mind about how much I love my dog, you may have missed this post.

But enough about Reggie for a moment…Stevie Wonder and I have been busy as bees (so the saying goes) these past few weeks.  For one, my parents came to town three weeks ago to help celebrate my birthday.  They brought with them a veritable bounty of delights and my parents and I spent the day running around town checking out some local shops and spending money on home decor items, deli salads, and old post cards written in German. We also took a weekend trip down to Madison to see some friends and Don’t Stop Bein’ Steven’s parents came into town for a weekend and we did a BUNCH of yard work.  I’ll detail some of this later on but I have a project to share with you first.

Back in April of 2011 (April!), Steve and I purchased an IKEA Rast dresser.


I’d seen this picture on the interweb and thought, “Hey, I could do that.”



And do I did.

I first put the dresser together and wiped it down with a damp cloth.  Then, I used a washcloth to wipe wood stain on the top and sides.

The stain sat overnight and was followed by a sanding, another coat of stain, another sanding, and three coats (with sanding in between) of polyurethane.  I used Minwax Wood Finish in Jacobean and Minwax Water Based Polyacrylic in Clear Sating.  I’ll spare you the play by play but here she is after two coats of stain and three coats of poly.

While I was staining and sanding and polying, I was also applying five (five!) coats of white paint to the drawers.  I used Behr Premium Plus white base.  It took a number of coats because after the first two, I could still see a yellowish undertone coming through.  And, since I am a glutton for punishment, I decided to continue painting and painting until I got a pure white.  Five coats (with sanding, of course) later, and we had three finished drawers.

I’d scouted a few places for handles but the winner ended up being my mom.  She found an outlet in Milwaukee where she was able to pick up 6 new drawer pulls for me.  They’re a tiny bit smaller than I would have liked but they have a diamond detail in the back that I think is rather neat.  These were beastly to put on since I had to take a bunch of measurements so they would be straight and then drill a tiny pilot hole for the top and bottom screws but in the end I was happy with them.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I started this project back in December after we hosted my family for Thanksgiving.  With all the dry time in between coats it took me about a week to complete the project.  But, when I screwed in the drawer pulls, I dinged some of the paint.  I wanted to repair those nicks before I blogged about it and didn’t get around to doing so until my parents impending visit was nearly upon us.  (I am a WORLD CLASS initiator but TERRIBLE with project follow through.)  But, I got it done for their visit and now two sets of parents have used this little night stand since.

Here she is (kind of) in use.

(Check out that hot striped wall paper!)

We’re working on another little project up in that room which is not complete yet so unfortunately you can’t really see her in use as a night stand but you can get a view of my little project.  I’m quite smitten with her.

What do you think?  Anyone else have a neat IKEA hack?


Reggie’s 3rd Birthday

21 Mar

I have a number of posts on the docket for you.

We’re thisclose to having our chalkboard wall done and you will get some after photos of that project soon.  The last step is taking longer than expected (as expected) so you’ll just have to come back for that post.  I also owe you an update on that hole Stevareno cut into our ceiling and have two posts about smaller projects that we’ve been working on.

But in the mean time, I have a video for you.  It was Reggie’s third (#canyoubelieveit #theygrowupsofast) birthday on March 13th so we treated him to a special day.  All the footage in this video is from his birthday and included some extended playtime outside (since it was nice out), a walk around the neighborhood, and some present opening.  Since you can’t see it in the video, Reggie got a Kong brand squeaky stick and a marrow filled chew bone.  He loved both gifts.

I love my dog.