Matteo’s birthday fell on a Saturday this year and since it’s already on Cinco de Mayo…well…I got a little carried away with the party. But it went off without a hitch, and everyone seemed to have a great time. A big thank you to our friends Carrie and Joe for all of their help. Carrie helped set up and took these amazing photos, and Joe played a live set for the guests that included several kid-friendly songs he taught himself just for the occasion.
It’s been a few weeks since we ripped apart our basement and it’s really starting to look good. The drywall is up and primed and the new windows are in. This weekend I’ll be cleaning and painting so all that will be left is to install the new cabinetry, which has been ordered and should be here mid-March. And, of course, add furniture and toys. Duh.
Here is what the basement looked like when we first moved in. Burlap stapled to the ceiling, old kitchen, and wood paneling on the walls. Creep city.
The first thing we did was take down the burlap and paint the ceiling and walls white. Which immediately made the space look a lot better.
But we still had the weird kitchen to deal with. We tried hiding it with curtains, but that looked strange. And even though it was painted, the wood paneling was in bad shape and the windows were old and falling apart. And, as you can see, the random furniture makes the room look like somewhere the kids from ‘That 70′s Show’ would be hanging out. The whole room really needed an overhaul. So Operation Playroom 2012 was launched.
First, we (meaning Matt and Joe) tore out the old kitchen.
Then we had a contractor cover the old paneling with drywall and re-do the three windows in the room, one of which had been paneled over when the old kitchen was installed. This is how it looks today.
I forgot to post this picture when I posted about this project before, but when we were tearing out the old cabinets even Matteo helped. He had the very important job of restocking the beer fridge.
There are some things that we just can’t change. Like the height of the ceilings, or the fact that to get to this room you have to walk through the unfinished part of our basement. But we can at least make the space a lot nicer than it was. Stay tuned!
Matteo and I met up with Stefanie, Adam and Ayla this afternoon for the downtown Madison Halloween family fun festivities.
Our haul: six pieces of candy, a temporary tattoo, a key chain that says ‘tree hugger’ (very appropriate), and a DC comics Superman trading card from 1978.
So this was kind of cool. This is the guy was who gave us the Superman trading card. Instead of candy he was giving away vintage trading cards and stickers for his store. I did a little research on him and it turns out he’s a wealthy philanthropist and antiques collector who owns this little curiosity shop downtown. When he handed me the card he said, “Watch out now, that could pay for college. You never know!” Of course, as soon as I showed it to Matteo he snatched it and put creases all over it. Sorry Matteo, there goes college.
Fun times with the Grieve family!
Friday night Matt had to work the homecoming football game. Matteo and I went to support a friend who was participating in a local Gallery Night art crawl.
Matteo had his first taste of fresh apple cider. It was a big hit.
Saturday I baked a batch of Halloween cookies and then Matteo and I caught the last quarter of our friend’s son’s football game. Matteo is REALLY into football these days. I have yet to capture his football moves on film, but they’re pretty awesome.
We also went to a couple of parties – a housewarming for friends, and then a bonfire at Matt’s brother’s house.
Oh fall stuff, how I love you.
After the Yo Gabba Gabba show last week, Matt, Matteo, Stefanie and Ayla and I
went to have dinner at Safe House, which was only a couple blocks away from the theatre. This is seriously one of the coolest and most unique restaurants I’ve ever been to.
Check out this video to see why:
The only thing that was a little awkward was Matteo pooped his pants at dinner. And when I say he pooped his pants, I mean HE POOPED HIS PANTS. The Safe House bathrooms aren’t exactly geared toward the Koala Bear Kare crowd so I had to change him on that tiny ass counter in the bathroom under the secret medicine cabinet.
When you sit down at your table you’re given a scavenger hunt, and of course, I happened to change him in the bathroom that had two items on the list. So several times while we were in there, eager scavenger hunt explorers opened the door to come in only to quickly shut it with an exclamation of “EEEEW!” or “It smells like SHIT!” Yes, yes it does. Sorry, folks.
And since we’re talking about bathrooms, yes, of course I touched it.
Last week we took Matteo to Chuck E. Cheese with Adam, Stefanie and Ayla. He had already been there the night of Joe and Carrie’s wedding with his babysitter, but Matt and I hadn’t been to a Chuck E. Cheese since we were kids ourselves.
I remember Chuck E. Cheese as being kind of dark, slightly creepy, and having a particular smell – like the weird smell of a roller skating rink, but mixed with pizza smell. It also didn’t help my perception of kiddie pizza restaurants when I watched the movie The Rock-afire Explosion a couple of years ago, which was about people who are obsessed with the Showbiz Pizza (Chuck E.’s predecessor) animatronic characters and keep whole, working sets of them in their homes.
Also making me skeptical of the Chuck E. Cheese experience was back in 2007-08, there was a Chuck E. Cheese outside of Milwaukee always showing up in the paper for fights between parents that had to be broken up by police. I kid you not, in a 15-month period during 2007-08, police had to be called to that Chuck E. Cheese to break up fights 81 times! That’s crazy!
Apparently my Chuck E. Cheese prejudices were totally unwarranted. Chuck E. Cheese circa 2011 wan an altogether new and improved experience. (At least in Madison. I can’t speak for Brookfield.) Matteo absolutely loved it and there were a lot of rides and games that even little ones his age could enjoy.
One of the rides they have is this huge horse, big enough for me to ride, and seemingly way too big for Matteo. At the end of the night when he had gone on almost everything else, I plunked him on the horse and off he went. He gripped that thing with his tiny knees and rode like the wind, even lifting his hand in a cheery wave when Matt came over to watch him. Check it out:
Toodle-oo Chuck E. Cheese! We’ll be back!
We met some friends at the Terrace last week to celebrate our friend Adam, who officially completed his PhD program on Wednesday. Congratulations Dr. Adam!
The weather was perfect, there were tons of people out, and there were burgers, beer and babies out the wazoo. If someone came to Madison for just one day and wanted to get a glimpse of what the city was like by going to just one place, I would send them to the Terrace. (In warm weather, of course.)
Have you ever seen the movie The Last Kiss with Zach Braff and Rachel Bilson?
It’s set in Madison and there is a scene where Zach Braff is creeping around in the bushes at the Terrace spying on Rachel Bilson with her friends. It’s fun to watch for spotting local landmarks and I’ve recommended it to friends who want to know what Madison is like.
Another movie set in Madison (although I don’t think it was really filmed here) is Away We Go. A couple of weeks ago I told someone I lived in Madison and they replied, “Kook Town!” That’s an accurate stereotype and Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character in this movie is certifiably from Kook Town, Wisconsin – population = A LOT.
When it comes to the reality, I’m happy to say that most of the women I know here are way more like Jacinda Barrett in ‘The Last Kiss’ – sweet, warm, and totally grounded.
But I won’t lie. There’s definitely a little Kook Town in all of us too.
In all of the best ways, of course.
Is there anything better than friends who come over at the last minute to babysit for free? How about friends who come over at the last minute to babysit for free and take amazing photos of your kiddo? Big thanks to Carrie (and her fine photography skills) for watching Matteo last night while we were out jorting, and surpising us this morning with these beautiful photos!
Last night was the first game of our softball team’s fall season (yes, you heard right. fall already! blech.) and to celebrate we all wore jorts. We ended up losing the game, but a jorting good time was had by all.
Group shots – courtesy of Alicia:
And, a post game doozy of three of our best jorters – courtesy of Carrie:
Our friends Carrie and Joe got married last weekend! It was one of the best weddings I’ve ever been to. It was so special, and so unique, and had their love and personality all over every inch of it.
Even though they now live in Wisconsin, they are down home kind of people in the best of ways. Carrie grew up in Lubbock, Texas and affectionately refers to her friends as “darlin’!”. Joe is from Greensboro, North Carolina and spends most of his free time attached to a guitar. Their wedding featured party guests in dresses with cowboy boots, bluegrass music throughout the ceremony, and lots and lots of pie. It was just about the most charming thing I’ve ever experienced.
the venue – the freethinkers hall in sauk city
There aren’t any photos from ceremony because Carrie and Joe wanted it to be unplugged, that is, they wanted only the official photographer to be taking pictures. They wrote the entire service themselves and wanted people to remember it by how it made you feel listening to what they said to each other, not by looking back on a photograph. She was quoted about it in this story, and made some great points. Their wedding made me laugh and cry throughout, and I may not have been as deeply engaged with what they were saying if I had been focusing on trying to take pictures.
Congratulations Carrie and Joe! Thank you for letting us be part of such a perfect evening! We love you and wish you a lifetime of love and happiness!