Thursday, July 23, 2009


As you can probably tell, I'm still catching up on the past few weeks' activities. This one is from Monday, June 22nd, when I took the Luals horsebackriding!

Nyabol has been looking forward to this since FEBRUARY, when it was both her birthday AND she got to the "top of the behavior tree" 20 times for the school year. She went on to get to the top a total of 40 times by the end of the year! Pretty good for a little Chatty Cathy like her.

So she picked 3 siblings and off we went to Tall Cedars Farm. Here are a few photos from the afternoon!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bottle Holder

Hahaha ... I was chosen! I submitted this photo to There, I Fixed It, and they posted it! This is me in my high chair, with my bottle holder, compliments of JK. So far there are 26 "thumbs up" and no "thumbs down" - pretty impressive, although I'm sure it will change.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mr. and Mrs. Labady Build Their Dream House

I hadn't seen Dearne and Andrew (AKA "Laba") in ages. I did see Dearne in the Fall for her wedding shower (bottom of this blogpost), but Andrew since my brother's 30th birthday last Spring. I caught up with them on my way out of DC on Sunday, June 21st, the day after Soo's wedding. They themselves were married on November 7th in their native town of Melbourne, Australia. Unfortunately I missed it! (For those of you who know me, I rarely miss an opportunity to abandon my job and house and leave the country, so this was a biggie!)

A few weekends in to being the proud owners of what they knew to be a "fixer upper" in January of 2008, a pipe broke on the third floor of their lovely "new to you" home. They discovered it several days later, and since then "Nellie" (since the home is on Nellie Custis Dr. in Arlington) has been a labor of love... and stress. Here's an example of what these two have been through ... check out this photo of their move-in day!

Personally? I loved Nellie! I just had no real concept of what Dearne and Laba were dealing with - the SCALE of it, I mean - until I arrived last month ... WOW!! Here is your (amateur) photographic tour ...

Historic iron gate around to the right from the front, allegedly purchased from an obsolete cemetary. (No, we didn't know cemetaries could become obsolete either - scary!)

Nellie from the far side of the backyard, looking up from the swimming pool, past the 2 retaining walls containing the WATERFALL and one more retaining wall... for good measure? :)

Looking down from the backyard toward the pool. Check out the cinderblocks in the bottom of the pool to give you an idea of the proportion here. Andrew built the fence himself! Unreal.

More of the fence ... that's Dearne heading down to say Hi.

A view of the driveway. You might say "why would they put in a swimming pool before they have walls?" I know I asked that very question! Well, I guess in a major renovation, it's all about timing. You have to be able to handle more than one major project going on at the same time. While they are definitely rewiring, repiping, and generally RESTRUCTURING the entire interior, they also put an addition on the house and plan to eventually redo the driveway and garage. Why redo the driveway BEFORE having massive excavating and transporting equipment and drive all over it to work on the backyard? That made sense to me.

View from the new balcony off the master suite down to the backyard.

View from the guest bedroom down to the backyard.

The kitchen! Dearne cooks here every day, not just for Laba and herself but also for the dozens of workers they may have in the house at any given moment! (Only 3 workers were there the day I visited, but then again, it was just a Sunday!)

The family room. I was told there used to be about 3 walls in between where I'm standing in the kitchen and the far windows - pretty closed off before. Well, it's open now! That bathroom is the only functioning bathroom in the house. Well "functioning" may not be the right word. The toilet doesn't flush. There is a bucket next to the toilet that you fill with water from the shower and pour in to flush it yourself. Except sometimes the workers don't flush.
So Dearne does that for them, too. Wow.

The future site of the Wine Cellar in the basement. That wall is new, too - it was dirt. Well, until the pipe broke on the third floor for several days in the winter last year. Then the wall became mud, thereby reprioritizing "install a new foundation" to the top of the list of things to do in this 100 year old farmhouse.

The apartment! This is the one-room-palace where Dearne and Laba actually live, on one side of the first floor of the house, off of the kitchen.

Other half of the apartment, with Dearne giving us her best "Vanna White". She is currently pointing to their office!

All the nice stuff, packed away but waiting to come out when the house has walls!

The upstairs laundry room and scene of the pipebreaking crime of '08.

The guest bedroom. Notice the plywood in the back to give the illusion of privacy. Of course, there is no door....

The new MASTER SUITE! All teasing aside, this is an entirely new addition and when this is done, it will be stunning! Right now it's all kitted out with pipe fittings and brand-spanking-new electrical. As soon as we have insulation and walls ....

The bump out. This is what used to be the attic, which Dearne and Andrew had "bumped out" to expand into a beautiful bedroom/recreation room. The green you see is the spray-in insulation that they just finished putting in themselves. It's amazing stuff that gets EVERY CREVICE and dries in about 15 seconds. As soon as those walls come in ... hmm, am I having a déjà vu or do I seem to be repeating myself?

The foyer. What's that? Ah, I see... I appear to be getting kicked out now ...

Farewell Nellie! I'll miss you!! Be kind to my friends!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Soo gets married!

On June 20th, Soo Kang became Soo Kang-Johnson! Here are some shots from my fabulous weekend as maid of honor!

Day before the wedding ... checking out the reception place and learning that Angelina Jolie was just here the day before having a press luncheon for UN Refugee Day.

Jeff and Soo raking in the gifts before heading to the rehearsal dinner.

The Rehearsal Dinner at Founding Fathers

The pickles at Founding Fathers
Soo and her brother Shawn, with his daughter Rachel.

I let Jeff's nephews take a lot of the pictures from the weekend and they did a GREAT job! Eneko took this picture of me after the rehearsal dinner ... a reminder that the camera does not always have to be parallel to the horizon to get an interesting shot! (Of course I have that "becareful with my camera" look on my face like I always do in pictures!)

Soo and Jeff say goodnight and grab the ring boxes to go ...

Hanging at Starbucks on the morning of the wedding for a good 2 hours! That is ONE RELAXED BRIDE!

Rehearsing the dance

We were laughing because Soo kept saying "Jeff crosses my arms" and I couldn't figure out what she was talking about ... finally I got it.

Wouldn't be a DC wedding without a protest in front of the hotel down Pennsylvania Avenue!

The Dress

Me and Soo

The Bride in the mirror (no, that is not a Michael Jackson reference)

Soo walking out of the Hotel Lombardy headed next door to the Arts Club of Washington and running into Jeff's sister Sheila, his brother in law Jeff, and their son Marty. I love Sheila's expression!

The flowers
The flower girls, Rachel (Soo's niece) and Amaya (Jeff's niece)

Art shot (I'm trying to get ready to take pictures at my friends' wedding in July, so I practiced on Soo)

Jeff emerging from his "Groom cave" in the basement of the Arts Club. Jeff's a tall guy! This house was built by James Monroe as his DC residence.

The kiss!! (Cindy took this one - I can't take credit!)

Posing for the portrait shots

Soo changed into a more comfortable dress for the rehearsal. Here she is in her changing room with Suzi and Suzi's daughter, Chia.

Cindy and Eric!

Joann was swinging single, since her husband had a last minute business trip to NY and her kids were with their grandparents in Virginia Beach. Here she is with her red AND white wine, which she explained by saying she had both red meat and fish on her plate!

First Dance

Friends John, Stacey, Cindy and Eric

Cindy took this ... I think the relief that my Maid of Honor duties were over is on my face!

Eric, Cindy, and Soo dancing.

Just the girls - me, Soo, Cindy and Stacey (and Stacey's daughter to be)

More Dancing!

I love this picture of Amaya!

The wedding wouldn't be complete without me freaking the bride.

Oh dear. Fun though!

Jeff opened this gift at brunch on Sunday. They headed to Copenhagen on Tuesday for the Honeymoon!

Farewell DC ... thanks for a gorgeous weekend!