Tuesday, January 12, 2016

looking back, looking ahead.

well, its that time of year again. actually I'm probably a little late on this, but now is when I'm finally getting around to find time to reflect on the past year - to see the good, the bad, the frustrating, and the awesome. time to think ahead to the fresh year laid out in front of us, and make up some thoughts and goals about what we think the days ahead of us will hold and how they will go. it all seems a little arbitrary, but there's still something comforting about the process. so here goes:

in 2015, i wanted to... ...finish the kitchen renovation with sanity and grace. this is big and exciting and a huge blessing. i want to keep that in mind rather than just freaking out over all the details.

wow. this seems like it was SO long ago. last year, we were deep in the trenches of this massive renovation. this year, we have been enjoying the finished product for 9 months and it already feels like our house has been this way forever. as for my attitude during the process? I think I did ok. i don't remember yelling at any contractors. I do remember feeling overwhelmed by just how awesome and nice everything was, and pleased by all of the guys who worked to make it happen.
calling this a win.

...feel good in my skin. whether i lose some weight, clear up my face, grow my hair out, or just shift my personal perception of myself, i just want to feel better.

still growing my hair out. haven't weighed myself all year. got rid of some 'fat' clothes. simplified my closet. still working on that whole 'clear up my face' thing, and i still have overly emotional days when everything is just the worst, but overall i feel pretty good about where I'm at. win.

...focus on intentionally healthy choices: walk. eat salads. less sugar-bomb snacks. more jazzercise.

a bit of a roller coaster on this one. i think there are only so many salads a person can handle before you just need to sit down with a bag of Hershey's kisses and just eat the whole thing. still love jazzercise though. half-win.

...be more organized. this includes previous years goals of closing my extraneous bank account, starting the big book of everything, budgeting, finishing up some half-done projects, and hopefully just generally feeling more like a responsible adult.

ha. hahahahahahaha. nope. I'm just as big a mess as ever. but I'm starting to realize that most other people don't quite have it all together either, and if i remember that everyone else is just guessing too, then i don't have to be as disappointed in myself. just keep swimming.

...host parties. i'm going to have such a nice new kitchen, it would be a shame not to share it with people i love.

this year we hosted my birthday, Mothers Day, had our community group over every week, did Christmas with friends, game night with coworkers, and even threw a last-minute New Years Eve party. not too shabby.

...spend time outside. sunshine is the best. and not much beats that wonderful exhausted feeling after a long day spent working or playing outside. i'd like to do more of that this year.

good not great. i think? i definitely was outside this year: i hunted a lot of waterfalls, hiked in different places, soaked up the sunshine and have the pictures to prove it. but i know i also spent plenty of time inside. since i don't really have a way to quantify this one, I'm going to go ahead and give myself the benefit of the doubt and call it a win.

...get pregnant. this is something i dont really talk about much, because it is extremely personal and because i dont want anyone asking me "how's it going? *winkwinknudgegiggle*" ugh. awkward. no thanks. so why put it on the list? because i've been pretty singularly focused on it for the past 10 months but haven't let myself talk about it much, and it just feels good to put it in writing.

nope. moving on.

...take pictures. because i want to be able to look back someday and remember my everyday life, along with the big events.

i definitely took a lot of pictures this year. i also spent a lot of time really enjoying just being with people i love instead of attempting to just document that time. this is a weird one to try and strike a balance, but I'm feeling ok with it. win.

...go to the beach. i just love it.

spent a week at the Outer Banks in August. and it was lovely. win.

...have fun. smile. laugh. relax. be silly. just fun.

so many good moments this year. plenty of laughter. so much fun. win.

my gut-reaction to 2015 was that it was a tough year. there were a lot of tears this year, and loss, and disappointments.  but looking at these goals i made last January and seeing how many wins are on this list (7 out of 10 what!!) well, its just a nice reminder that along with the less-than pleasant moments is always sprinkled in plenty of joy and grace and goodness. they always go hand-in-hand, because you can't really appreciate one without the other. if everything is good, then nothing is. or something like that.

well, this post is already super long, and i don't really feel a great need to do too much looking ahead at this particular moment, so let's just save that for a separate post. okay? okay.

Friday, January 8, 2016

guest room update: drywall.

want to see something cool? suddenly, thanks to internet magic and the fact that I haven't posted an update in over a month - we have a real wall in the guest room!
front room, from the new hole in the wall. 

truth is, Mark gets all the credit for this. he has been working on this project pretty much every available minute he has on nights and weekends: drywalling, spackling, sanding, and priming. He focused his efforts primarily on the back room, to make sure our friends had a place to sleep that wasn't the couch when they came to visit the weekend before Christmas. as it was, we were able to provide them with four complete walls, a complete ceiling with a proper ceiling fan/light combo, a door, and a bed! well, a mattress on the floor, but still.

from the hallway, the view into the guest room hasn't changed all that much:

but once you step into the room, that new wall makes a big difference.

I'm starting to really get excited about these two rooms. I think it will make our house make a lot more sense, and add a lot of functional space that was lacking when this was all one big room.

 Now that the holidays are over, Mark has been able to keep working in the front room, and basically has it done to the same point as the back room.  if all goes well, we might be able to get some real paint on the walls this weekend!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

hole in the wall.

yesterday, I spent my evening working late, grocery shopping, and snuggling under a blanket on the couch with the beginnings of a head cold and my newest tv addiction. (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. terrible name, hilarious show)

Mark, on the other hand, spent his evening working out and cutting a hole in our hallway wall.

 doors, L-R: basement, front bedroom, back bedroom, hall closet

I knew he was doing this, and yet it was still very shocking to actually SEE a doorway-sized hole when I got up off the couch to head to bed. and then it startled me again this morning when I woke up. this whole two-rooms-instead-of-one thing is really starting to come together.

view from the new door into the front bedroom.

drywall installation for the new wall starts tonight!

Monday, November 30, 2015

project update: the guest room.

there is something about fall - the cooler temperatures, the evening darkness, the upcoming holiday season - that apparently makes it feel like the perfect time to start a new house project. in fact, we have had some sort of renovation project going on in our house every fall/winter we have lived in it:
  • in the fall of 2010, we had just bought our house and immediately drywalled the master bedroom ceiling, re-carpeted and painted the two bedrooms, and painted the master bathroom.
  • 2011 had us wrapping up the updates to the fireplace room and painting ALL the things.
  • in 2012, we completely re-did the hall bathroom in time to host Thanksgiving at our house.
  • 2013 was apparently an 'off' year, but only because we spent the winter studying for our professional licensing exam.
  • and then last year, Mark built us a new bed frame, and we completely overhauled the kitchen, living room, and dining room over the winter.
so this year, we managed to find a new room in the house to tear apart and put back together over the colder months: the guest room. 

before photo taken after the room was mostly cleared out

when the house was originally built, this room was actually two separate rooms, with a wall between the two windows, just to the left of the vent visible in the above picture.  previous owners of the house had at some point removed the separating wall, closed off the second doorway, and added a larger closet to the room. this configuration was great for the teenage girl who lived in it as her own private suite, but for our little family it makes sense to restore the original floor plan and split it back into two rooms.

this involves removing the closet, adding a new wall, adjusting the wiring, installing a new doorway, and re-doing the carpet in the one room.  we are also taking advantage of having everything torn up to drywall over the textured ceilings in both rooms, the only remaining ones in the house, which Mark has despised from day one.

so far, the closet has been demo'ed, the wall is framed up, the wiring is all roughed in for the overhead light and outlets in the new wall, and we have the drywall installed on the ceiling.  the next steps are to cut the rough opening for the new door, and install the drywall on the new wall.

not shown: completed wiring and drywalled ceilings.

we're not really working with a set deadline in mind at the moment, although we do have some friends coming to stay with us the weekend before Christmas. so maybe we should shoot to have a room with a door that they could sleep in at least mostly complete by then? I think its totally doable. right? because our basement room currently looks like this:

yeah. not exactly a functioning backup guest room at the moment. but no worries Julie - we've got this. please don't change your travel plans. I miss you and need more of you in my life.


Friday, November 27, 2015

happy thanksgiving!

26. thankful for good travels. There was no bad traffic between Maryland and New York the night before Thanksgiving. Amazing.

27. thankful for podcasts to listen to in the car.

28. thankful for beds to sleep in. Bunk beds are super fun. Always.

29. thankful for sisters. So much more fun cooking all day in the kitchen with people who understand you because they think the same way you do.

30. thankful for brothers-in-law. So fun to see them bonding over video games and power tools.

31. thankful for FaceTime. Good to see Mom, Dad, and the Goob and share our Thanks with them.

32.  thankful to still have all ten fingers. Ended the day in the kitchen with just a minor cut and an even more minor burn.

33.  thankful that we still have the whole rest of the weekend together!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

thankful its a virus?

21. thankful for the women of Taco Tuesday. they give good advice.

22. thankful for convenient access to quality medical care. thankful that I don't need to utilize it very often.

23. thankful for health insurance.

24. thankful that it's not a flesh eating bacteria. or bedbugs. or dust mites. instead, its a non-contagious viral rash! slightly less gross, right?

25. thankful for a clean house. because before I knew it wasn't bedbugs or dust mites, I cleaned ALL the things. my bedroom/bathroom/kitchen/basement/laundry room looks amazing.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

sometimes i take these things for granted instead of being grateful.

more than halfway through the month. nowhere near 50.

14. thankful for Home Depot. I live in a place within reasonable driving distance to multiple hardware stores that make it ridiculously easy to shop for home improvement supplies. there's just something about having part of our home in a constant state of construction that just feels right.

15. thankful for Roz. spent last Saturday with the coolest 7-month old I know so that her parents could go out on a date. we had a good time. we all survived. love that girl. so thankful she's here with us.

16.  thankful for professional development opportunities. thankful that my boss encourages me to seek out these opportunities.

17. thankful for a window in my cubicle. sure its dark when i get to work and dark when I leave, but it's sunshine and blue skies all day long today.

18. thankful for food. easily accessible, safe, healthy, delicious, nutritious, filling food. also thankful for the less-than-healthy cookies, ice cream, and chocolate :)

19. thankful for relaxing. I can spend an entire evening binge-watching tv on the couch in my sweats and (mostly) not feel bad about it.

20.  thankful for my sisters. thankful that i can call and chat with them any time. thankful that they love me even at my worst. so ridiculously excited that I get to see them in just a couple days.