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Steamie Kitchen: AFTER

While typically I love nothing more than a good before & after photo comparison,
seeing the “After” in our very own kitchen has come with much more bleh/frustration/angst than I had ever hoped.
To be sure, it is still very NOT PERFECT.  And man, did the process make us [ok- mostly me] VERY unhappy.
But behold the power of transformation!  The “after” sure does make our house feel like new,  now that we’re finally (sort of/ mostly) DONE.
The last item on my to do list (beyond the lingering construction defect issues!) was to add the roman shade over the kitchen window.  Voila!  Thank you The Shade Store for simply showing up & putting it in correctly the first time.  haha.  We needed something to go smoothly in here!    This window is our same old window- but with the removal of the mini-blinds- it feels much more open!
We love how much more open the whole kitchen is now- without the low ceiling, and the wall & pocket door at the dining room.  Our bench seat in the dining room gets way more use now too, as it’s easy to sit there facing the kitchen or facing the dining table- depending on where the activity is.  🙂
So, no thanks to the awful process we went through to get here, we are very happy to be home with our new and improved space!
and  I swear, we’ll take a bit of a break from the remodeling to all recover (both emotionally and financially!) before we tackle the master bathroom (and the 70’s shell sink!!!)

2014 | Recap

Before we get knee deep in the adventures of the new year, I wanted to do a little reflection on what 2014 brought us!
January  |  Steve was awarded City Employee of the year!  (Go Steve!!)
February |  We sold the condo we’d been renting out for 3 years.   But first It got a pretty new kitchen for the new owner to enjoy!  (clearly we like to start kitchen renovations in Decembers!!)
March |  Paid off student loans!  HOORAY for that.  Only took me 10 year post graduation, but I’d say it was worth it, and honestly if I had to do it over again, I would have probably borrowed a bit more, and lived in nicer apartments!  haha- but hindsight is 20/20 right!?  🙂  So long Sallie Mae!
April | Celebrated our darling little girl’s first birthday!  What a milestone for our little family.  So fun to see all the changes a year brings, and celebrate our little miss!
September | I got a new job- which means way less [so far none] traveling for me, so more time at home with my hubby & baby!
October | Rang in Team Steamie’s 4th wedding anniversary- in the same suite we stayed at during  our wedding weekend at the LAAC!  Love that hotel, and running around downtown for a weekend!
December | Commenced with the kitchen remodel!  That project won’t wrap up till later in January- but the prepping, planning and demo started in Dec and led us to finish 2014 with dust & excitement of pretty new things to come!
Not too bad for one little year.  It’s always crazy to look back and see how quickly things change each year.

New skill- making GIF animations!

Teeny Steamie has arrived!

Everly is here!


So after 37 weeks of anticipation- our baby girl decided to skip waiting those last three weeks to make her debut on Friday April 12, 2013.

That morning I woke up giddy- ready for my last day in the office before starting my maternity leave! I had big plans for my remaining 3 weeks of pregnancy- finishing the nursery, organizing things around the house, and shopping & lunches with friends… and napping. LOTS of napping.

Clearly Everly had other plans!

Daddy spent that Friday busy preparing for the yard party we had planned for the following day. Food & drinks were purchased (nacho bar & baked potato bar were in the works- complete with extra crockpots for cheese & chili). The house was a smattering of boxes and goods for the party.

After work- I was debating in attending my weekly 6:30yoga class – but felt rather sleepy- so I decided to skip it in favor of a quick nap on the couch. So thankful I did- since just as Steve was requesting my help in stringing up the party lights in the yard for our party- I realized my water had broke!

I yelled for Steve- explained what just happened & started repeating “I’m not ready!”

But we were ready enough at least. The rough draft of a hospital bag was packed & in my trunk. The car seat had been in my car since that Wednesday. Steve remained calm, saying- let’s do this, and off to the hospital we went.

I texted my mom on the way there “feeling funny- off to hospital”. I didn’t want to jump the gun in case it was a false alarm- but apparently “feeling funny” instead if just saying “pretty sure my water broke” was cryptic & made her more nervous! Whoops! Sorry mom!

Once we arrived at hoag- we parked & took the walk from the parking garage to the labor & delivery check in! Taking pics in the elevator as we went!


The hospital staff was quick to set us up to be evaluated. They seemed to doubt my claims of water breaking until they made me change into just the hospital gown & I proceeded to leave a puddle on the floor. The nurse took one look at that and said- ah! You’re being admitted right now!

They brought me the ice chips & began my check- in paperwork. We then felt it was official enough that this babe was arriving that night- so we called our families. My mom said she’d come over as soon as her meatloaf was done cooking! Steve’s parents were out to dinner in Palm Springs- and they made RECORD time getting to the hospital. We also called in Steve’s brother Andy- to have him stop by our house, and pick up clothes etc that hadn’t been packed into the hospital bag. (I packed for me & baby- but forgot stuff for Steve!)

Here’s how we pass the time before the nurses came in to check me out-

Stretches & self portraits!


As the nurses checked my progress- it was quickly discovered that the baby was breech. Booty first! That immediately changed my “natural” birth plan to an automatic C-section. I was very disappointed- but I also knew with my water broken the chances of my “natural” process were diminishing with time anyway- and what mattered was that our little girl arrive safe & sound. I was only dilated 1cm & the contractions were so mild- I needed to look at the monitor to confirm of they were happening at all. I knew the even if she weren’t breech- we only had a few hours of labor before they would need to intervene.

The family all arrived (My mom, Ray, Steve’s Parents Scott & Vicki, bro & sis Andy & Brittany,) with good timing to say hello before we were whisked off to theOR. We got some pics with our entourage , got Steve suited up for the OR. & then they were shooed out to the waiting room as we were prepped to meet our little girl.



They took me into the OR first- and administered the spinal. As it took effect (so fast!) they prepped the room, each dr or nurse bustling around stopping to introduce themselves to me. Once they were almost ready- they brought Steve in to sit by my side when then they were ready to begin. It all felt surreal & the numbing of my body from my chest down made me quite nervous! I felt like I could easily fall off the table. But as soon as Steve entered the room- he grabbed my hand & gave me encouraging squeezes & kind words- and within a few minutes they told us- OK- you can look now- and Steve stood up to peek over the curtain, while the anesthesiologist held up a mirror so I could watch as the doctors tugged our little girl out into the world. She came out- back side up, bottom first- then her little legs and arms popped out and finally her head! She looked OH so tiny. It felt like minutes- but probably only a few seconds passed until we heard her strong cries. In telling about it after, people were surprised we watched her entrance- – but hey- that’s what we came for! To get this baby out and into the world-we had to see it happen!

They whisked her off to the corner of the room be checked out & cleaned up- I could hear her crying, but had to stay put (not that I could have moved!) while they finished patching me up.


Steve went over to check her out up close while she was weighed & measured. (And of course he snapped those very first pictures) Daddy even got to cut the umbilical cord. After a quick assessment- the nurse brought her over & placed her on my chest. She was so teeny- and screaming. I just nuzzled her & told her hello and that she was beautiful.

The anesthesiologist took our first family photo!


She was whisked back for more checking and shortly thereafter, they wheeled us out of the OR, and into the recovery room. Once I was in place, I got to officially hold her on my chest.


She was very sweet just nestled there. Time went very fast to me- but to our family in the waiting room those couple of hours dragged on. But we took that recovery time to send out pictures & announce her name! Everly Gray Knollmiller. My mom texted back- “we like it- it’s Gray-t” haha. When I texted my friends- I got back from George “So I take it the BBQ tomorrow is off” haha- indeed it was! As another friend pointed out- this probably won’t be the last time our plans change due to this little girl! 😉

Once my numbness wore off sufficiently and the baby’s temp and all was stable- we were transferred up to the hospital room- and the visitors were able to come greetthe little girl. The pack had expanded while we were out- so now included my Aunt Pam, Uncle Dick & Cousin Amanda! We took turns holding & staring at her. By then it was after 1am.


Our happy but sleepy visitors left and Steve, Everly & I remained to carry on our first night as a new little family.


We stayed 3nights- and were cleared to come home Monday. We packed up- and the nurse wheeled Everly & I out to the car!


She didn’t enjoy getting transferred to the car seat- but settled in nicely.


Our parents had been cleaning up the house from it’s party prep disaster zone- to a welcome home for our little one. My mom had flowers and signs & banners welcoming our new little family home.


What was so sweet is the reaction from the neighbors- people stopped in to say hi, and dropped off gifts & cards on the porch. Such an unexpected treat while we adjusted to being home with our little one.

We’ve already taken hundreds of pictures- but how could we resist?

We love you Everly- I can’t believe you could still be in my belly right now (for another week even!) So while it was a surprise (and it derailed my napping & nesting plans)- I wouldn’t change a thing- since we’ve enjoyed you so much already in these first 14 days!

fall means football… Fight On!

It’s not fall till you bust out the cardinal & gold checkerboard vans…
This is a bit of a montage- as the season flew by- but it was fun to meet up with different friends and enjoy our tailgates on campus!  Our set up is growing stronger each season – we’re looking pretty official now with the table & tent!  I’m sure we’ll top it next year though.
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Tech upgrade

So my little macbook was statring to seem vintage- it wouldn’t update to new versions of software, and finally it even lost the ability to hold any charge- it would power off as soon as the power cable was disconnected.  Nothing less useful than a laptop you can’t move!!
After much debate, and some time to save up,  I bit the bullet and ordered a new one!  SHINEY!  It seem huge compared to the old one, and its looks practically space age in comparison.
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Steve sent me this pic when I texted him that I finally ordered the new one!
Hahaha.  Don’t worry- it will be properly recycled- this was only a symbolic tossing!

OC Fair time!

Earlier in the year, we went on a silent auction binge.  One of the fruits of our bidding was 4 tix to the OC Fair.
We met up with friends & hit the fair… checking out the sights, sounds, smells & tastes.  I LOVED the  “No Place Like Home” exhibit set up for all the homemade goods- especially the 99 bottles of beer on the wall!





Of course there was some posing with animals, a ride on the big slide & ferris wheel, and corn on the cob.





My mom and I also joined up with Audrey & Bob, and participated in our third annual run in the OC fiar 5k- I think this qualifies as a tradition now!!  (There’s me crossing the finish line!)