Thursday, January 24, 2013

Random House Updates

I have been wanting to make some kind of memento of our first house as art for our current house. The last house we lived in holds many memories for me, since I lived there for 14 years. It was originally my great-grandparents' house, then my parents moved in with all of us kids, and then Jason and I moved in after we got married. My sister now lives there, so it is still in the family. I ultimately decided to frame the house key for some 3D art. I started with a gold-framed mirror that I got at a yard sale for about $1. I primed it first with spray primer, and then added a coat or two of the turquoise spray paint I used for our Beethoven bust

The finished product:

Underneath it reads "Our First Home, Sedge Garden Road." I love having a little something to remind us of our first home together and the special memories it holds!

Our new 3D art is currently hanging out on the ever-changing mantel, but who knows where it might find itself as time goes by. 

Another little thing on my to-do list was a dry erase calendar for our fridge. I have actually had it done for a while now:

It has been ever-so-helpful to have our whole month lined up to keep easy track of appointments and such. When I first put it up, I went to Wally world and bought regular dry erase markers and didn't think much about it. At least not until I had two different people ask me what a particular entry on the calendar said - they couldn't read it because it just wasn't writing that clearly. 

Enter these beauties:

That's right, some genius invented fine point dry erase markers with magnets! I just LOVE when I find exactly what I envision in my mind. Now things are looking much more crystal clear:

While we are talking about kitchen upgrades, I also made a roman shade to go over the kitchen sink. Nothing fancy, just a little something to add some color. 

I used leftover fabric from what I framed in the dining room next to our silhouettes. 

If you notice I also re-cut my silhouette out for the millionth 5th or 6th time, after still getting grief about how mine looked weird. Hopefully this one is acceptable, otherwise I will just let it be an ode to my weirdness. 

The last little update I did was to replant one of our new plants. He got the home of my most recent victim, who died prematurely after lack of sun and water. 

Here's hoping he can survive! :) 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Precious Pups

Before Jason and I had kids, we had dogs. And they were like children to us! When you don't have your own children, animals can easily take that spot in your heart. We got Morgan and Piper about a month apart, but they are the same age (6 years old). Morgan tends to be lazy and the perfect lounge dog and Piper is the exact opposite - active and hyper. 

I thought it appropriate to give a little shout out to our pups, since they have taken a backseat ever since we had kids. We still love them though, and I cannot imagine our home without them!

Morgan rarely gets excited about anything, but I caught her in a random playful mood yesterday:

The toy of choice was a towel. 

A video would have shown them playing tug of war better, but you get the idea. 

I really can't say how much I appreciate the dogs' presence in our lives - not just because we love them, but for many reasons. They are our protectors, alarm system, deterrent for burglars, foot warmers, comfort and companions, playmates for the kids and they vacuum when needed. 

"A home is not a home without a dog."

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Huge, Random Photo Dump

Prepare yourself - there's gonna be a whole lot of pics in this post, and in no particular order! This is just a random catch-all post to let you see what goes on in our everyday life. Enjoy!

First up is a video of the kiddos playing with their new basketball hoop from Uncle Pete and Auntie Caty. They love it! Don't turn your volume up too much, I'm a little bit loud with the slam dunk encouragement. :) 

These kids love to clean - Eden especially! Anytime I get out the duster she wants to be in on it. 

We had a few really nice, warm days last week so we took a little walk up the road to ride bikes. 

On the days when it isn't so warm, they are just as happy riding in the garage. Eden is a blur, she is going so fast!

My parents brought the kids a battery-operated jeep last year and although Eden is still a bit skittish around it, Harry jumps in it every time we go into the garage. I know it won't be long before he gets the hang of it and is zipping all over the place. 

A lot of the rest of these pictures are of Harry, because he is just so...interesting! He does the funniest things and I can tell he is going to have a quirky sense of humor. One of his favorite things is to climb into everything. 

Eden's favorite thing right now is her babies. Here she is working hard playing mommy, making them lunch. 

Sometimes we have a picnic downstairs for lunch.

I'm not sure what happened with my camera here, but I thought this was really cool of Harry!

Where's waldo?

Another favorite toy from Christmas - BLOCKS!

Yesterday Jason had the day off and we got an unexpected surprise of snow last night! It was beautiful. 

Since Jason had the day off, we went out to breakfast and then headed over to Poppie's house for a visit. The kids were ecstatic when he brought out his guitar to play for them. 

I cannot say it enough - this life we have may seem boring to some, but it is the ideal for me. I love these kids and seeing them grow, spending every day with them! 

Thursday, January 10, 2013


When Jason and I got married, he had lived on his own for almost ten years. The great thing about that was that he already had a ton of stuff to furnish our home with. Some things were great - dishes, sheets, living room furniture, a TV, etc. But some things were...not as appreciated. Like these lovelies here:

This is the green shade that went with it, but it's a horrible picture. 

These green lamps have been the bane of my existence for 8 years now. I couldn't stand how big they were and that they looked like hotel lamps. I had made my attempts at replacing them several ways - trying to convince Jason to let me buy new lamps, "accidentally" dropping them in hopes they would break, even pawning them off on other people. But no go. Somehow the idea of painting them did not occur to me until just recently. So I broke out my favorite ORB (oil-rubbed bronze) spray paint and got to it. 

I also happened to go by Hobby Lobby and find some pretty khaki shades on clearance and snatched them up to go atop our new orbed lamps. Here is the result:

(Please ignore my dinner plate sitting on the side of the couch. Just keepin' it real.)

HELLO! Why didn't I do this YEARS ago? I absolutely love them now. I can even appreciate their pretty curved shape now, all because of a new color. They fit in perfectly down in the man cave, with the library-esque theme we want. 

We also had another mismatched lamp down there and I decided he might as well get a makeover too. Here it is before:

And after:

(sorry for the blurriness; I really need to learn how to adjust my camera)

I have some ideas for the boring shade, but haven't gotten around to it yet. I'm thinking a stencil might be cool in a neutral color, so it would bring interest without too much distraction. Or maybe a monogram, or dipping the top and bottom in a pop of color...the possibilities are endless!

Another little tidbit I did this week was pick up some plants from Lowes. I went in to see if there were any Christmas items on sale and when pointed to the back green room, I found a whole cart full of plants that said they were $1 each. I'm not talking about little spindly plants either - I'm talking taller-than-me, lush, beautiful greenery! There were some smaller plants too, like this Christmas cactus for 27 cents:

And this pretty yellow-green plant for 38 cents:

But the next two shots are of my dollar beauties:

I was just thinking that some plant life might be nice for our little abode (even though I always kill any plant I bring home)! Adds a lot of warmth, I think. 

So there are a couple of little things I've been working on. Got a couple more to share too, including a new shade for the kitchen window and a new piece of art for the mantel. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Health Update

It is the time of year where it seems everyone makes some kind of resolution to lose weight, exercise more, drink more water, and eat right. I have to say that I love this time of year - it is a new beginning! A great time to start fresh, regardless of what has taken place over the last year. 

Here is an update on how things wrapped up before Christmas:

1. Remember the family competition I mentioned here? My SIL, Sarah, won! I was a close second though, with only about 1/2 lb keeping me from the gold! I was a bit disappointed to lose, but glad that we both had some success. We are doing round 2 of this family contest, to last through March 31st. We will see who wins this time (watch out, Sarah! I'm gonna win this time!). 

2. My final weigh in after the 18 week competition left me at minus 13.4 lbs. I am happy with the loss, but I know I could have done better. 

3. I remained gluten-free until my mother-in-law broke out homemade raisin bread in Maine over Christmas. I couldn't resist! It was wonderful. I have been eating more gluten since then, but still limited. 

My plan for the new year is this:

1. Family competition: beat Sarah. Haha, just kidding! But my goal is to win, of course. 

2. Remain on a limited gluten diet, avoiding it when possible, but not being obsessive about it. I tried to cut out sugar which lasted all of 1/2 a day, but I am going to keep that limited as well. These are both for medical purposes only, not in an effort to lose more weight. I do think I feel better in general when I stay away from these two things in particular, so limiting them should go a long way without taking too much from quality and convenience of life. 

3. Along with the family contest, I am doing an 8 week competition with my two accountability buds through FB. There is a monetary prize for this one as well, and I can earn points for exercise, eating right, drinking water, etc. I know it is cheesy, but I'm excited to have a chart and see how many stars I can get! :) 

4. I'm still following The Lord's Table Bible study, which is helping me to stay focused on God and knowing Him more. It is a great encouragement with my eating habits. 

I have more specific goals for exercise and scripture memory, but I will document those as I go. Rather than a weekly update, my plan is to blog once a month about my health accomplishments. Should keep it from getting too mundane every week. 

As an update for my back, there isn't much change. I survived our 38+ hours in the car for our holiday travel, but honestly it wasn't very comfortable. It would seem that this is simply something that I am going to have to live with, at least for a while. My hope is that as I lose more weight, the natural shift of weighing less will make an impact on the pain level. We shall see! 

I really appreciate all of the support I have from friends and family, encouraging me to stay the course. I couldn't do it without you! So by all means, please feel free to ask how I am doing and if I'm on track, focusing on God, eating right and exercising. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Christmas Part Two (TONS of pics!)

The second part of our Christmas celebration took place in Connecticut and Maine, with Jason's family. We headed up to his sister's house in Connecticut first (a 13 hour drive). Here is the annual family shot of Jason, his two sisters, and their Dad:

That's right, this is the family I married into:

Love them!

(sorry some of the pics are so blurry, not sure what happened with my camera)

Jason's sister (Jen) has four kids, and all of the cousins were fast friends:

Mealtime was always interesting with 6 kids!

Poppie's retreat was the couch with a good book - I still don't know how he managed to block out all the noise!

 We had a great time opening gifts with them, too. 

One of Jason's favorite things about being up north is that he has access to Dunkin Donuts on almost every street corner. Even Harry realized the greatness that is Dunkin coffee!

Speaking of Harry, he certainly didn't escape unscathed - this is a shot of the black eye he got after running into the corner of a table:

But, he survived and we made our way to Jason's mom's house for Christmas day, a 5 hour drive from Jen's. They have a charming home, the ideal place to spend Christmas. She had everything decorated so sweetly and we felt right at home. 

We had a great time on Christmas morning, opening gifts and hanging out together. 

We had a nice surprise that morning when we woke up to the beautiful snow falling - it was perfect! 

We couldn't wait to get the kids outside, so we bundled up and headed out. The sled was a big hit with Harry, not so much with Eden. 

(one of my favorite pics!)

Meme and Pepe also have chickens, and Eden was completely enamored. She clucked away at them as if she knew how to talk to them. 

The rest of our time in Maine was spent totally relaxing. It was a wonderful time of calm and peace, and we had such a wonderful time. 

This is their dog, Bonnie. I'm not sure there has ever been a sweeter dog!

(the kids made themselves right at home, taking over the comfy chairs in front of the TV)

Life is hard, eh?

I would be remiss not to mention the hours we spent playing dominoes! Joanna and I had some serious design action going on here:

We were so blessed to be able to spend time with Jason's family this year! It was so much fun and we are so thankful for our chance to visit.