Monday, August 25, 2014

three-day weekends.

I feel like I've said it before, and I'm sure I will say it again someday, but I think all weekends should be three day weekends. They are just the best. Two day weekends are alright, but they just don't hold a candle to the sheer beauty of three full days of not being at work. There is unlimited possibility. Endless potential for adventure. The promise of being so very productive, and at the same time a sense of joy in knowing that actually being productive is not actually a requirement.

 hiking Maryland Heights
 

 I took off work the past two Fridays, giving myself the gift of two three-day weekends in a row to celebrate and soak in the end of summer.  The first weekend was originally going to be a beach weekend, but when that fell through it turned into an entire three days of nothing. It was sleeping in, and eating out, and doing just a couple little projects around the house, but mostly sitting on the couch binge-watching Sherlock on Netflix, and ignoring any and all of our grown-up responsibilities.

Old Town Harpers Ferry

too creepy to pass up
 
This past weekend, we went to Harper's Ferry with the in-laws for a couple days of hiking, ziplining, and white water rafting.  While there was a lot of rain, it never negatively impacted our adventures - the rain would stop just before our planned activites, and then start up again once we had finished.  The sun even came out a couple times! It was weird weather for the end of August, to be sure, but we were having so much fun we hardly noticed. 

in a tree over the Potomac River

 
With next weekend being Labor Day (already!? this year is FLYING by!), that will make three three-day-weekends in a row for my tiny family. Our plans right now are a bit up in the air as far as which adventures we are going to be able to accomplish and which ones we will have to skip, but no matter what I have a feeling that it will be great. Because that's just how three day weekends roll, yo.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

lately.

so i think i've hit a point (again) at which so much has been going undocumented, but i don't want to jump back into documenting just the most recent adventures i've been on without at the very least mentioning the less-recent adventures, and then i get myself stuck in an endless loop of non-documentation because i am SO far behind and i can't pick just one place to pick back up again, and i feel like i've talked myself in at least three circles in just this one giant run-on sentence and so here's a lame bulletted list of some recent adventures and minor mishaps and travels and happenings.

  • so there was this wedding: the lodger got married. and maybe more excitingly, he moved out of our basement! Mark and I both had a part in the wedding - he did a reading, and i did a painting. live. in front of people. as part of the ceremony. it was terrifying. but i think it turned out pretty well for being designed and executed in less than 4 days.

  • 4th of July in Pennsylvania: Mark and I took advantage of the long holiday weekend to spend some quality time with my grandparents in Pennsylvania. it was beyond nice to just hang out with them, sit and chat on the porch swing, and just be togther. we helped to finish painting the shed (just the inside of the doors), went on a walk with Pap to get icecream, and caught up on all the new family gossip. we were bummed to miss the family reunion last weekend, but we already had plans made. next year. we will be there.  
  • long weekend in Wyoming: ok, so i don't know if 6 days can really pass for a long weekend since its closer to a full week, but two of those days were travel days and there was a weekend in the middle so i think it totally counts. however you want to classify it, it was too short.  i was flying solo on this trip (Mark couldnt swing the vacation days) which was awesome and sad all at the same time. awesome because i got to have all of that time with my parents and brother all to myself, and sad because i didnt get to share those memories with other people i love so much. also, long layovers are not nearly as much fun when you're travelling alone.

  • miscellaneous yardwork: Mark spent most of his weekends in July cleaning up brush in the backyard: all told i think he took something like 11 truckloads of branches and brush and leaves and random other detritus to the dump. we also finally cut down the big bush/tree on the other front corner of the house that we never quite got around to last year. yay for chainsaws! the guest room gets so much more light now! there is still plenty of cleanup work to be done, but we have made some serious visible progress over the past few weeks and it feels good.
that giant monstrosity in the background of this picture? gone!
  • kitchen overhaul - planning: it looks like this might really happen. we started playing with the idea of adjusting our floorplan back sometime last year i think. we started seriously laying out options in April. to date, we have met with the cabinet guy, and talked with our general contractor, and are getting estimates for all of the different trades that will be involved (and there are a lot!), and thinking about appliances, and there is a very good chance that we could basically have a whole new house by this time next year. this is going to be big.  
  • technological upgrades: yes, we finally got ourselves some smartphones! we went with iPhones because we already owned an iPad and mostly understand how the platform works. Android just seemed a bit intimidating, especially since Mark is the most adorable technically-challenged-old-man-stuck-in-a-young-man's-body. but i think he's getting the hang of it.
  • girls weekend at the beach: i spent the last weekend in July in Southern New Jersey with some good friends, an acquaintance, and a few complete strangers and no one died. we all shared a nice hotel room in Wildwood, and spent time chilling on the beach, walking the boardwalk (so much walking!), and doing plenty of quality people-watching. 
     we also ventured south to Cape May for several dinners, some sightseeing, and a paddleboard adventure! Cape May was very cute - full of charming Bed and Breakfasts and a downright adorable pedestrian mall full of little shops, but overall seems like a pricier vacation spot than neighboring Wildwood. Since we were staying in Wildwood but spending so much time in Cape May, i joked that instead of it being a Wildwood Weekend, we were actually doing a Cape May vacation on a Wildwood budget. either way, it was great to be on the beach again, and i'm thinking that Wildwood trips might become something of a tradition in years to come. 
  • action camp! the event previously known as vacation bible school at our church was last week, and as always it was a blast. i was the group leader for the 4-5 year old age group (yay yellow team!) as we took a Trek to the Top and learned about Mountaintop Moments with God. its always a little bit of a crazy week, but i just love it so much.  

so anyone want to place a bet on how long it will be before my next oh-wow-its-been-so-long-since-my-last-update-heres-a-lame-list-of-what-ive-been-up-to post? i'm really going to try to update more often, and with more interesting things to say than just "hey look i did this! still alive!"  but i dont want to make too many big promises... lets just see how it goes. ok? ok.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

six months in.

its about time for a mid-year checkup on my non-resolutions. so let's take a look at how i'm doing so far this year! (my comments are in italics.)

carry-overs from years past:

1. curtains.
real curtains. really on my windows. i can do this.
2. read at least 3 non-fiction books. started my first one last night.
    read one so far. currently in the middle of The Kite Runner, which is
    technically fiction.
3. have pretty flowerbeds. a little tree removal, a little mulching, and then (hopefully) planting a lot of flowers.
4. budget. and then stick to it.
5. ride my bike. i don't think it got out of the shed at all last year.
6. read through my Bible. or maybe listen through it?
7. close my other bank account. this is just pathetic.
8. big book of everything. i have lost one too many passwords. time to get organized.

i am beginning to think none of these things are EVER going to happen. they have just been sitting on lists, patiently waiting for YEARS for me to care enough to actually carry through with them. maybe i'll get around to at least some of them sometime in the next 6 months or so.

new for this year:

9. pass the PE. and feel no guilt for basically disappearing for the next 4 months while i study.
    DONE. PASSED! HAVE THE LICENSE TO PROVE IT.
10. overcome my fear of the lawnmower. we got a riding lawn tractor. i want to be able to use it.
     part way there. helped mow the grass over the weekend. which means
    Mark left me a big solid square in the backyard for me to practice on.
    next step: practicing all the hard parts like not hitting trees or the deck
    or the well.
11. run. i think new shoes are in order.
    bought the shoes...
12. sew a cushion for the entryway bench. top of the sewing list.
    currently sitting 3/4 of the way done in the basement. and then it just
    got too nice outside to spend all of my project time inside with my
    sewing machine.
13. get the air ducts cleaned. this should just take a phone call.
    UGH. stupid air duct guy never showed up for our appointment.
14. yoga. just because.
    bought a new yoga DVD. did it once so far.
15. start the kitchen renovation. it's the next major project on the major project list. kind of a long shot, but we'll see.
    have a meeting with the cabinet guy in a few weeks to hopefully
    nail down a layout!

well. i was fully expecting that to be much worse. but i guess i did spend 4 out of the past 6 months working almost exclusively on number 9, so if you think about it that way its kind of impressive that i've managed to successfully start so many things in just two months... yeah, i'mma go ahead and think about it that way. i'm awesome.


Monday, June 30, 2014

awesomely easy party decorations.

*hard emphasis on the AWESOME*

over the weekend we celebrated my friend Ed's 27th birthday. over the past few years, his party has become THE event of the summer, if only because there is not much better than hanging out with good friends from near and far on a warm evening in June. there is afternoon basketball for the boys, evening wiffleball for everyone, and late night mario kart for anyone still awake. the food is always delicious, and the company cannot be beat.

the decorations have generally been low-key: a quick dollar store run the day of the party pretty much covers it. there was a pinata once, and last year we strung some white balloonss in the tree. but this year, we stepped it up one notch: we put glowsticks IN the balloons!


yes, it is totally pinteresty, but this is the kind of pinterest thing that is actually attainable, and actually as simple as the caption promises. "put glowsticks in balloons." bam. intant party ambiance.
 

 also, those magic color packets for the fire. just because.

 
 
 
 
 


Friday, June 13, 2014

a day of crabs and carnivals.

last weekend, the nephieces came to visit. they were really only here for one full day, but oh what a day it was! we woke up early and spent the morning dollar shopping (yardsailing) with our friend Nadine. the kids each had a dollar to spend, and thanks to some generous sellers the adults managed to fill up our car without spending much more than the kids!
 
after lunch we made crab cakes, because this is maryland after all. but instead of old bay, we spiced them up with frosting and candy. sound gross? not by a long shot. check out these cuties!
 

 
and ok, maybe an alien or two slipped in there too...
 
 original pinspiration here

and then, because our day hadn't been packed full of enough fun already, we headed to the carnival for the evening!  the kids were almost too excited to eat any carnival food, but once they did we were all about the rides.


first stop: roller coaster. hands in the air the whole time. best thing ever.


N was close to tears over not being tall enough to ride the giant slide...


...but he made up for it by driving the big-rigs.

 

the spinning dragons were a hit - its so fun that they are big enough to spin them all by themselves!
 

i have never seen a kid more excited to go fishing. there werent even any worms involved, but both N and C caught a shark and walked away with a fun little prize.


 these cars (dune buggys?) bounced up and down as they went around, and made the absolute best 'sproing!' noise.

 
N was a little ladies man in his jeep. and dont think his car filled up just because all of the other cars were full - there were completely empty cars on this ride. N is just that handsome.
 
 
and can you believe that C is big enough to ride her very own motorcycle?  crazypants.  its kind of impresive the amount of fun that can be had with a limited number of tickets.
 
 
and then, just when we thought our tickets were all gone and it was time to head home, a woman offered us the rest of her family's unused tickets. there were enough for the kids to each do one more ride, so we circled back to the rollercoaster for one last ride!

 

 before heading home, Uncle Mark suggested a detour to the Creamery to round out the night with ice cream. we ate our cones outside on the patio because it was just that perfect of a summer evening.

what a great day. lets do it again soon, mmk?



Monday, June 9, 2014

my MIL is funnier than your MIL.

Mark's grandfather had surgery last week to fix a deteriorated disk in his spine. Over the weekend, we got an update when we saw Mark's mom:

M: how's everything going?
C: well, Pop didn't make it...

*pause*

C: ...in time to come to church this morning.

we about died laughing. her ability to spread news and rumors simultaneously is a true gift. see also another recent incident:

C: have you heard Mark and Amanda's big news?
*pause*
C: They passed their PE exams!


**not pregnant. just to be clear. our big news really is that we passed the exam, its just the presentation of the information that may lead people to believe otherwise.**

Friday, May 23, 2014

milestone.

four years of school.
four years of work experience.
one crazy long application process.
four months of studying.
eight hours of examination.
six weeks of waiting.
 
combine, shake well, and just like that,
 

 bam. professional.

i still don't quite have my head wrapped all the way around this one. which is pretty understandable, given the fact that i just found out yesterday afternoon in a flurry of frantic half-panicked emails between me and the hubs. (he passed too, btw!) so we plan to spend our memorial day relaxing, workin on some projects around the house (remember that one time i told you mark was building a bed frame? and have i mentioned my new upholstery project?) and calling each other "professional" as much as we can stand.

"my, aren't you looking professional this morning?" "why yes i am, thanks for noticing. what would my professional spouse desire for their professional dinner this evening?" "oh, i think some professional tacos would suffice quite nicely." "i whole-heartedly concur my good professional."