Sunday, April 24, 2016

Let's Catch Up!

Hello! (it's me) I don't think I'll ever be able to say 'hello' without thinking of Adele ever again. I'm still here, I'm alive. In case you were worried.

I feel like it's been so long since I last posted that I don't know where to start. So, I'm just going to jump right in.

Journey to Baby:
I last wrote about this in January of 2015 and here we are in April 2016. I am not pregnant, I did not have any miscarriages, just riding the crazy emotional rollarcoaster. The last year involved a handful of tests, some with great results, others with less than ideal answers. Next month we have an appointment with the fertility specialist. I am excited and nervous about this. Excited to hopefully get pregnant and grow our family, nervous about getting pregnant and growing out family (ha!) and nervous that this could get expensive. Kevin and I have talked about what we are and are not comfortable with and hopefully this experience is a good one. Maybe this time next year I'll have a little baby (finally) who knows!

Student Loans:
 DONE! I paid off my student loans in November! One of the best feelings ever!. I paid them off twelve years early and I am SO HAPPY that these are DONE DONE DONE!

Aunt-hood: I have shared about my adorable nephew on this blog a few times and I'm happy to announce that he has a little sister! That's right I now have a nephew and a niece. I am the oldest of three girls so I'm loving all things baby girl right now. There is so. much. pink. and I thought I would hate it but I don't; it's the best! My sister asked for the sake of her children's privacy not to share photos of their faces online. We have many friends who are foster parents and they cannot share faces and names of their foster children online so I take the same "rules" with my niece and nephew. So you will just have to trust me when I say that are the cutest!


We went to Disney World in the fall! (Yes I am little in love with Disney World) I was actually writing a day by day recap on the blogger app on my phone but I never got past day three. This is was my second time to Disney in three years but if felt like a completely different vacation. Highlights included: Keys to the Kingdom tour (AKA backstage tour at Magic Kingdom), fireworks at Magic Kingdom and Epcot, lunch reservations at Le Cellier in Epcot, swimming in the hotel pool, my second time flying, the buffet at BOMA at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, dinner at Raglan Road in Disney Springs, etc. etc. etc. maybe I should write up that full Disney recap. Kevin said this was the last time we will go to Disney for awhile, he would like to see some other things. However, if I am still not pregnant this fall, my mom and I might take a trip to Disney (shes never been!) (I am aware you can go to Disney World while pregnant, for me it would be the money that is the deciding factor (see expensive fertility specialist above))

Not much has changed around our house. We just went to IKEA a few days ago and I currently have my feet resting on a real coffee table. We also purchased two bookshelves and a standing mirror but we haven't assembled those yet. I had tonsillitis this week, which pretty much took all of my energy. We have some projects we'd like to accomplish around the house this summer. Getting the backyard trees trimmed, mulch, touch up paint, etc. We even talked about having the bathrooms re-done or re-finishing the basement but those large and not 100% necessary right now projects might have to be put on hold (again see expensive fertility specialist) We did talk about selling our home this summer. We would eventually like to move into a four bedroom house with a full basement. Right now we live in a three bedroom house with a partial basement. I would also like a larger dining area as ours is rather cramped. We live in a standard nineties suburban neighborhood where every house is one of the same five floor-plans. Well a house that is just like ours (it's even the same color) and was bought a week before we bought ours, well they just sold that twin house for significantly more than they bought it for (and we bought ours for a similar price.) That equity had me pretty tempted. I think I would like to build our next house. I even have a floor-plan picked out if I were to build in the new neighborhood that's going in just down the street. However, after crunching the numbers the new house would cost us more than what we are paying now and in all honesty, our house is plenty big for two people and two cats. I mean it's a three bedroom house and we aren't even using the extra bedrooms. So we decided to stay in this house a little longer. I do think if you buy a house you should plan to live there for at least five years (at least that's what I think Dave Ramsey always said when I used to listen to his radio show religiously) and we've only been in this house three and a half years so far. I love my little home sweet home and I hope to continue to make it my own until it's time to move on to the next home sweet home.

Last summer my Grandma (my mother's mother) passed away rather unexpectedly. I don't think I had cried so hard in a long time and this March my Grandpa (my father's father) passed away after a long period of failing health. It was hard. I've never been so sad and when I think about them still I get tears in my eyes and I probably always will. My Grandma always had my mom's fine china on display in her dining room and now it's on display in my kitchen (my mom doesn't really have a place for it) I love thinking of her every time I see it. The same thing can be said for my Grandpa (or Papo as I always called him) he was a very talented artist and I have a couple of his paintings displayed in my home. I absolutely love them. I will cherish these things forever.

Anything else? Probably, I can usually find something to talk about, whether it's the books I'm reading or my thoughts on cooking (I still don't like cooking) but I think that's enough for now. I hopefully won't wait so long to post here again. I hope everyone who reads this is doing well and enjoying every sunny day that comes your way this spring.


Sunday, July 19, 2015

My Dream House Reading Nook

In my last post I talked about realizing that my current house is my dream house. One of the things my dream house has is a cozy spot to read.

This is our front room. I guess some people would call it the formal living room but it's more than that. It's our music room and office since the piano and computer desk are located in here. Now, it's also my reading nook. I've been finding myself spending more and more time here, curled up on this couch with a book and a cat. Since the TV is in the family room this is a nice quiet spot to read.

For me, decorating is becoming more about arranging or styling what I have into something that looks good in my eyes. Maybe you don't think all these things go together but when I look at this little reading nook I've created for myself, it makes me smile.

The Harry Potter pillow which reads "Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light. -Albus Dumbledore" was given to me by my youngest sister for my birthday. She made it out of a t-shirt that she found at the thrift store. These are the kinds of things I want to fill my home with. Thoughtful things that bring me joy.

My sister, Harry Potter, a comfortable place to read a book. These things are what makes this house my home.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

This IS My Dream Home

This is my dream home... at least that's what I'm going to keep telling myself. I have a tendency to day-dream; imagining the future is the place where life will be perfect. I like to picture a beautifully decorated home where everything is effortlessly organized because everything has a proper place. A mudroom for shoes, coats, keys, etc. a formal dining room where I can invite a huge group of family and friends over for the most amazing meals that I have prepared in an absolutely exquisite kitchen that has a subway tile back-splash (I'm all about subway tile back-splashes.) In the future, I am an excellent cook.

But here's the reality of the situation, I can have all of that here in my current house. This house can be my dream house. I may not have a mudroom, a formal dining room or a subway tile back-splash (and honestly I could install a back-splash if I want, I own the house.) It's not the rooms that make a house a home, it's the memories you make within the walls of those rooms or out in the yard, or sitting on the deck. Home is where you should be able to recharge your batteries, a place of relaxation and inspiration. Where you can be yourself surrouned by poeple you love and who love you.

I may have a small eat-in kitchen style dining room but I've propped up a folding table next to my dining table extending it out into our family room and enjoyed a whole group of people gathered around my table. I may not have a mudroom but I put an over-the-door coat rack on a nearby door and a rug in a corner for shoes so those things have a place when we walk into our house from the garage.

Sometimes I can be too much of a tight-wad for my own good. I don't want to invest money into this house if it's not my forever or dream home, but we've lived here for almost three years. There are rooms in this house we don't use. We have two spare bedrooms with lots of untapped potential. I wish this house had a full basement, but we don't even utilize the semi-finished part of our partial basement. I learned a lot from buying this house and I know my priorities will be different the next time we're in the market for a home, however moving isn't even on our radar. We could live here for another ten, twenty, thirty years -- who knows, we might not ever move. I worry that we will outgrow this house when we're expecting baby number three because the bedrooms in this house are rather small and it would be a tight squeeze with two kids sharing a room. Then I realize how ridiculous I'm being, baby number three! I don't even have a baby number one! Plus I shared a bedroom with both of my sisters at some point growing up (although I hated it then and that's a different story for a different day) but we all turned out fine.

What I'm trying to say is I have to see the blessing that is right in front of my face. This is my dream home. Growing up I would dream about when I would have my own home to decorate. While we lived in our apartment I couldn't wait until I had a home of my own so I could really feel settled and now I'm currently living in a house I've literally dreamed about and not appreciating it. Last year when we went to the Parade of Homes I kept thinking that everything those super expensive houses had I could recreate in my own home. A place to cook, eat, entertain & gather. A place to rest, sleep and wash. I don't need to have a six burner stove or a pub in my basement to have a beautiful home. I can live out my dreams right where I am.

Honestly, contentment sometimes hits me like a ton of bricks. I wish I would have been more content with places I've lived in the past and worked to make them my own little havens instead of always thinking the next thing will be bigger and better. I challenge myself to make the most of my situation, I hope you will do the same.

Bloom where you're planted.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Great Paint Mistake

In April we finally painted our kitchen/dining room. Actually I painted it the wrong color.

We had three paint sample swatches on our walls for months and I knew I wanted to paint the whole room the middle sample. I had the color Aloof Gray stuck in my head because I thought it was the color we had decided on. When I went to Sherwin Williams I asked for four gallons of Aloof Gray. I had never purchased paint before so I had no clue how much we would need. Halfway through painting the whole room I realized that when I put the paint samples on the wall originally I painted them in color-name alphabetical order and Aloof Gray was the FIRST sample but I had intended to paint my kitchen the swatch in the MIDDLE. I guess Aloof Gray was just stuck in my head because it was a funny name. I didn't consult the paint chips to check the color names before I bought the paint and that was my downfall. I can't even tell you the name of that middle color swatch but it had more green undertones and Aloof Gray has blue undertones. Since the colors are fairly similar we are not going to repaint. However, we only used two gallons so now I have two extra gallons of the wrong color! I do think it is a pretty color so I will probably use to to paint the two guest bedrooms. It's still not my first choice for the kitchen but I'm just going to call in a happy accident and be glad that the project finally got done.

Here's a reminder of what the kitchen color looked like before, wine bottles and all:

Here are the walls painted Aloof Gray.

This is the best wall to really see the color, it's kind of like I have color changing walls because it looks different in different light but the daylight coming in the window shows off the blue/gray color nicely.

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Adventures of Little Miss Birdy

A few weeks ago I was visiting with my aunt about all things spring including birds. She said every year a bird tries to make its nest inside their garage on their garage door opener. I thought that was interesting because I could only remember just one time a bird flew into our garage as a kid and my dad running around trying to get it out.

Fast forward to last weekend. I’m working in my yard with my garage door wide open. When I was finished with the yard work I walked back into the garage and startled a bird that had accidentally flown inside and is now sitting on top of my open garage door in a complete panic because she believes she’s trapped. Of course there is an opening large enough for two cars to drive through, which is plenty of space for a bird to fly in and out of; but the term “bird brain” didn’t come about because birds are particularly smart creatures. So I got the broom and started waving it around, knocking on things and saying “come on little birdy” all while trying to avoid any bird droppings that were flying through the air. (Bird poo in my hair would pretty much ruin my day.) But Miss Bird kept flying up except there is a ceiling in my garage and she couldn’t get very far so she just kept landing on the highest thing… the open garage door.

After a few unsuccessful minutes of this, I called my mom. (Moms always have the answers to odd questions like this.) She brilliantly suggested that I leave the garage door half up and half down which will create a space at the very top of the garage door opening and then go about my day and wait for the little birdy to fly out on her own. The only problem was I couldn’t get my garage door to stay halfway. It kept going up and down which made Miss Birdy totally panic and she left her spot on the (now moving) garage door and perched on the handlebars of a bicycle hanging on hooks on the wall. In all the commotion she finally saw the opening to the outside would and soared out into wide open spaces. I shut the garage door as fast as I could – I didn’t want her to change her mind and turn around and head back for my garage. (Thankfully she didn’t)

Shortly thereafter I remembered I needed to get the mail. Standing at the mailbox looking back at my garage door I was amazed at how much that little birdy had pooped all over it. Because when it’s up the front of the garage door is facing the ceiling of the garage and that was Miss Bird’s perch of choice. In her frightened state she must have lost control of her bowels.  So I got some soapy water and paper towels and scrubbed bird doo-doo off the front of the door all the while thinking to myself this is not what I planned on doing today. But hey, Miss Bird was free and my garage door was clean and when I told the story to my husband later, he had a good laugh.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

My Fourty-Books before November Reading Challenge

At the beginning of this year I set a reading goal for myself on Goodreads. In 2015 I would like to read 40 books. I'm not sure if that seems like a lot, or a little to you but for me it's a reachable, yet challenging goal.

After my goal was set my husband and I watched one of the Harry Potter movies and it got me thinking about the last time I read Harry Potter. In 2013 we listened to the audio book of  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on our 30 hour round-trip drive to Florida. Kevin had read all of the books except the seventh and he wanted to finish the series; so I don't really count that as the last time I read my favorite books ever. Going back in my memory, I last read HP when I was working at a coffee shop that wasn't very busy and we were allowed to read in-between making lattes and cappuccinos. I worked there around 2009-2010. Which means I last read HP over FIVE YEARS AGO. Which is definitely five years too long and I immediately went to grab my copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone but then remembered the 40 books in 2015 goal I sent for myself.

Goodreads won't count a book you already have marked as "read" towards your reading challenge and I want to reach my goals! I want to win! And I want to go back to Hogwarts ASAP so I decided to tweak my goal a bit. It's now my Read-Fourty-Books-By-November-So-I-Can-Read-Harry-Potter-Again Challenge. (I'd like to bet I'm the only one with this reading goal.)

What is my strategy, you ask? Read short books, oh I know that sounds terrible but before I put any books on hold at the library, I'm checking to make sure they have less that 400 pages. I've even read a young adult graphic novel for good measure. (Of course there are still some longer books I'm reading this year, but in general the books I'm choosing are relativity short.) I'm also listening to a good share of audiobooks. I don't have a long commute but just driving to work will get me through one or two chapters. Audiobooks are really helping me speed things up.

These are the books I've read so far this year:

1. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
2. At Home with Madame Chic: Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life by Jennifer L. Scott
3. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown
4. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastination and Get More Done is Less Time by Brian Tracy
5. First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen
6. Best Staged Plans by Claire Cook
7. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō
8. Drama by Raina Telgemeir
9. 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success by Amy Morin
10. The Magician's Lie by Geer Macallister
11. Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life by Ruth Soukup
12. Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Twelve books by March 22nd isn't bad, right? As you can see I like to read a variety of fiction and non-fiction, it keeps things interesting. I'm about to start a Nicholas Sparks book, because I know I can read them fast. Now I'm off to dive into a book! Have a wonderful Sunday!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Bundle Up!

Thank you for the kind words on my last post. Writing things out really helps me and sharing them with people who care makes it even better. You may find more journey to baby updates here as we continue on this path. Thank you for your encouragement; it means so much to me.

On a different note, I would like to share a few pictures. Today is quite cold and winter is not my favorite season but I still think it's beautiful. These photos are actually from a few winter's ago, but they are some of my favorites.