Friday, December 28, 2012

non-resolution review.

so here we are: the end of another year. a year that has been full of adventures and projects and family and happiness. a year where i tried to let go a little bit of my ridiculous quest for my own skewed perception of perfection, the idea i have in my head of what life should look like at 25. instead i made more of an effort to embrace a little bit more of the crazy, and the reality of what my life does look like at 25. and i think it looks pretty good.

this was also the year of non-resolutions: a list i made back in January of postive, attainable things that i wanted to do this year. i wrote this list as an attempt to help myself crawl out of a mid-winter funk last year. there was no pressure associated with any of the things on the list: no expiration dates, no guilt, no obsessive tracking of my progress throughout the year.
(just one halfway point check-up in june)

 so, how did i do? let's check it out: 
  • make a reasonable meal plan. with the exception of a few weeks here and there, Meal Plan Mondays lasted all year!
  • paint the front door. done here! still loving the turquoise, but the spraypainted hardware is starting to show some chippage.
  • run a 5K. nope. not this year. (but i have a couple in mind for next year if i can get the hubs on board)
  • go to Europe. been there, done that.
  • enjoy that trip thoroughly. ohmygoodness yes! and i would go back in a heartbeat.
  • bring home at least one good souvenir. we picked up our Christmas ornaments for this year, and also managed to find good stuff for a few other people too.
  • feel good about myself in a bathing suit. sadly, i started my fitness kick well after bathing suit season this year... but i have lost a few pounds and a couple inches this fall/winter, and i'm feeling the best i have in a while. so better late than never, right?
  • sit-ups. three times a week during p90x.
  • clean the front porch. its dirty again already, but i did clean it.
  • have pretty flower beds. hahahahahahanope.
  • shower with the door closed.  new fan in the master bath, and guest bath completely overhauled. this was a major win for this year.
  • read the Lord of the Rings trilogy. lets say 25%. i read the Hobbit. and i've started the Fellowship. i'm on chapter 2.
  • then watch the movies. since i read the Hobbit, i went to see the first installment in theaters. 1 out of 6 aint bad, especially since 2 of them dont even exist yet!
  • paint and organize my kitchen. i feel like this was done forever ago! hard to believe it was just this year...
  • invite more people to our house. we've had more house guests and dinner guests this year than ever before. now i just have to remember to get them all to sign the guest book when they come!
  • smile. pretty much every day!
  • make curtains for all my naked windows. this stalled around 30% complete. there are curtains on the windows, but not the pretty patterned ones i had in mind.
  • clean regularly. define "regularly." ok so i dont have a cleaning system or schedule in place, but we're not living in filth and squalor over here either.
  • use my crockpot. recently i think i've been averaging about one crock pot meal a week!
  • read through my bible. ummm...7%? i started a reading plan. and then i stopped.
  • run. nope. not really. i went on a few runs this year, but i wouldnt describe this year as "the year i ran" or anything like that.
  • dismantle the mountain-o-junk in the basement. dismantled, distributed, and reorganized.
  • decorate for seasons other than Christmas. yes? i did a little bit for fall. that's about it.
  • yard sale. i'm happy with the little bit of yard-sailing i did this year. quality over quantity. 
  • read a book by Jane Austin Austen. approx 40%. i started reading Mansfield Park. and i watched the movie Emma. if i would have known either 1. how long of a book Mansfield Park is, or 2. that i was going to be watching Emma, i would have picked a different Jane Austen book.
  • hang things on the walls. mirrors, paintings, frames, and diplomas oh my!
  • build something. i built the shelves and the towel hooks in the bathroom all by myself.
  • laugh. as much as possible.
  • organize the office. this went hand in hand with dismantling the mountain-o-junk.
  • carve a jack-o-lantern. arguably some of our best carvings to date!
  • buy pants that fit and make me feel fantastic. i had one amazing pair of jeans. and then i lost weight and they got a little loose. i have since procured a new pair of work pants, and a pair of red skinny jeans that i feel pretty awesome in. but i have a feeling the journey towards the elusive perfect pair of pants is never-ending.
  • clean out my closet. i thought maybe a post-Christmas closet purge would happen. and then it didnt.
  • put new music on my iPod. i did move my music from my old laptop to the new computer and reshuffled my iPod with some different songs, but nothing that i would describe as being particularly new
  • be a good friend. i dont really know that there's a way to quantify this...but i like to think i at least did pretty ok with it.
  • quilt our old t-shirts. 98% done with Mark's quilt. still have to finish tacking it all together. debating on whether or not to start one for me.
  • close my other bank account. this one seems like it would be so easy... and yet here it is, still on the list and undone.
  • hit 'play all' on abs and buns of steel and not want to die. i havent actually tried it yet, but with all the p90x craziness i've put myself through i like to believe that this is a real possibility. i will definitely be testing this hypothesis post-p90x.
  • go to the dentist. another easy one that just didnt quite happen.
  • give more homemade gifts. this year i gifted some homemade mason jar soap dispensers, and a bunch of handpainted stuff: a recipe box, wooden signs, coffee mugs, and an actual painting on canvas.
  • play outside. not very much, mind you, but at the very least we played some catch, so i'm crossing this one off even though we could have done better.
  • ride my bike. a few times around the neighborhood. and successfully completed this year's tour du bridge/tunnel.
  • the big book of everything. i printed everything out and put it all in its own binder. but i didnt actually fill out any of the pages.
  • go to a baseball game. i went to 2 O's games this season, watched a zillion of them on tv, and got sucked in to the point that i even bought postseason tickets for a game that didnt end up happening. i also made it to 2 or 3 of Mark's softball games. it was a good year for baseball.
  • swim. i floated around the in-laws pool a couple times, but i dont think that quite counts as swimming.
  • paint something little. i know i had Stasi's shoes in mind when i put this on the list back in January. it only took me until September to get them done.
  • have fun. yes.oh so much yes.
by the numbers:
    46 - number of items/activities on the list.
    63 - percent of things on the list that got completely crossed off.
    89 - percent that i at least started even if they didnt all get done.
    11 - percent of things on the list that just didnt happen.
     0 - regrets.

wow. it is kind of mind-blowing to look through this list and just be struck by how abundantly blessed we have been this year. we have good jobs. time and resources to travel. good health. great friends. a comfortable house. loving families. the ability to relax. and we have each other. it started as just a checklist of sorts, but its pretty fun to see both big and small blessings show through this little experiment in goal-setting.

i'm thinking i might do something similar for 2013. but as of this moment, there are still a couple days left of 2012 and i intend to enjoy every single day that i am blessed with as much as i possibly can.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

nothing says happy holidays like talking about puke.

recently, my brother-in-law had a vomitous experience with a cup of expired yogurt. it was four months past its expiration date, but according to him it still tasted really good. in fact, he was feeling so good after eating the yogurt that he went on to eat two plate-fulls of spaghetti. fast forward a couple hours, and he could tell that it was only a matter of time until he was going to be seeing all the contents of his stomach again. two sessions of kneeling before the throne of the porcelain gods and a total of twelve pukes took care of the spaghetti. the yogurt finally made its appearance around 1:30am with a series of three technicolor yawns, wrapping up the hork-fest.

now in light of this story, there is something that you should know about my husband: he thinks vomiting is the most hi-larious thing in the world. something about the complete helplessness of the vomiter and their inability to control their bodies, the contents of their stomachs, or the noises they are making in the process of heaving it all back up. he was laughing so hard while his brother was telling him the story of his hork-fest on the drive home after the Christmas Eve service that i had to remind him that he was driving so that he wouldnt collapse in a fit of giggles and steer the car into a ditch. watching someone vomit, hearing someone vomit, hearing stories about vomit - they all trigger bouts of uncontrollable laughter.

so now i know what you're all wondering: how does he react when I am the one puking? well the truth is that i dont know yet. i havent been pukey-sick since we've been married, and i dont think i even puked while we were dating or engaged. but we have talked about it - he says he will be as compassionate as he can, and he would hold my hair back for me, (this was before i chopped it all off) but he could not promise that he wouldnt be laughing the whole time. and that is the part that i am most worried about: when he laughs, i can't help but laugh, because when he is really hysterically laughing, its pretty infectious. and i just can't imagine that laughing while puking would be either an especially attractive or pleasant experience.

i probably just jinxed myself by writing about it on the internet, but i'm really hoping to make it through this winter without actually having to find out how this whole pukey-sick scenario will actually play out in our marriage...

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

merry day after.

i have a story to share with all y'all, but its kind of gross. so i figured it would be more appropriate on the day after Christmas to post something a little more cheerful. so here! look at some of the pictures i remembered to take of our Christmas, and look forward to the gross story tomorrow!
we were fortunate on Christmas Eve to have some surprise snow! not so much that we were snowed in or unable to make it to the Christmas Eve service, but just enough to make everything outside extra beautiful, festive, slippy, and dangerous. the good news is that everybody made it to and from our house safely for dinner, games, and fun after church. 

 in the past, Mark and I have gifted each other three gifts: because if it was good enough for Jesus, its good enough for us. this year we gifted ourselves one BIG present that came in the mail last week, and then kept it pretty low key for Christmas morning: one small present each, and whatever we could stuff in each others stockings.

this is exactly how i want to remember our Christmas mornings: 'you gotta get up' blasting through the house, pajamas, bedhead, excitement, and the joy of being together for another year. who needs perfectly styled christmas morning pictures when you can have sleepy eyes and fuzzy hats?
we eventually got dressed and headed over to Mark's parents house for stockings, brunch, presents, snacks, more presents, pictures, even MORE presents, dinner, and games with the whole fam-damily. i ate too much chocolate, stuffed myself full of good food, and enjoyed every single minute. (but i am NOT looking forward to my first workout post holiday food binge)
we made out like bandits this year. seriously, i think we recieved three presents for every one we gave this year. we are super duper spoiled and we know it. this was our tree on Christmas morning. now just imagine this same tree piled so high with boxes there's no room to spare underneath it, and thats basically what its looking like right about now.

all in all, we had a wonderful day full of family, food, lounging, laughter, and giving thanks for the most precious gift we have ever been given in the person of Jesus Christ our Savior. we're back to work today, watching the snow fall through the office windows and praying that the roads will be clear by the time we get to head home at the end of the day.

hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

my other christmas card.

i'm pretty sure that in the past i have claimed that every weekend i spend with my BFITW is the best. weekend. ever. some people might think that i'm exaggerating. but i'm not even.

the highlight of our most recent weekend together was our mostly-annual tradition of picture day! one of these days i'm going to get my act together enough to scan in all of our mostly-yearly pictures (dating all the way back to freshman year!) and write up an attempt to explain this kind of insane tradition, but for now, since i'm knee-deep in holiday crafting madness of the very best kind, you'll have to settle for pictures of our pictures since our online album is not playing nice.

aren't we cute?! 

in the past, we have always gone to the picture place at walmart for picture day, since they usually run some pretty sweet deals. but since the walmart closest to my house doesnt have a picture place, we booked an appointment at a legit photo studio at the mall. (ps i think i have had more professional pictures taken with my BFITW than i have with my own family)

we took full advantage of their offer of holiday backgrounds and even an outfit change, and walked out of there not only with a fantastic picture of us in our cute matching sweaters, but also 15 free christmas cards featuring our tacky holiday sweaters. and heck yes we totally mailed them to some of the most wonderful people people in our lives who completely understand and appreciate our particular brand of awesome.

its a wonderful thing to have a best friend in the world, and i'm so blessed to have found the very very best.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

meal plan tuesday: dec 18.

i am currently stuck in the most wonderful kind of survival mode i have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. the sink is overflowing with dishes. the mountain of dirty laundry has taken over my entire bedroom floor and pretty well emptied my closet. what little bit of clean laundry i have managed to do remains unfolded. the dining room table is so covered in stuff we can't even sit at it to eat. the table in the nook is the same way. every horizontal surface is cluttered with an assortment of mail, christmas cards, projects, and randomness that will take forever to sort through. the fireplace room is an explosion of various christmas present wrappings.

and i love it.

for the past two weeks, instead of spending my time stressing about having everything neat and clean and orderly and doing the things i feel i have to do, i have been doing the things that i want to do. i have been crafting dozens of homemade christmas presents. i have been watching movies on weeknights. i have been going out to the movies. i have been getting my nails done. i have been laughing so so hard. i have been going out to eat. i have been hanging out with friends. and it is awesome.

so what if my christmas cards aren't adorably displayed this year and the dinners i've been making have been far from elaborate? we are having a ton of fun this christmas season and i wouldnt have it any other way.

so on the menu this week we've got another bunch of low-key meals to make more time for merriment, crafting, and hopefully finding a little bit of time to actually clean up the house a little before our community group christmas party!

Monday: crock pot roast and veggies.
Tuesday: tilapia with rice.
Wednesday: taco night.
Thursday: crock pot beef burgundy. (recipe)
Friday: leftovers.
Saturday: family Christmas party!
Sunday: soup from a can.

Monday, December 17, 2012

just babies.

Dylan. Jack. Daniel. Ana. Noah. Jesse. Emilie. Chase. Charlotte. Olivia. Grace. Jessica. Caroline. Avielle. Josephine. Madeleine. Catherine. James. Benjamin. Allison. Lauren. Victoria. Dawn. Mary. Rachel. Anne. Nancy. Adam.

they were all babies. created by a holy God and deeply loved by parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. their lives all ended prematurely and inexplicably at the hands of a fallen and sinful world.

i weep for the victims. i pray for their families. and i look forward to the promise of heaven, an undeserved gift of life that is graciously given by a God who loves us enough to provide a perfect savior to redeem us from our sinful existence.

the precious babies in my life
we pray for blessings, we pray for peace
comfort for families, protection while we sleep
we pray for healing, for prosperity
we pray for your  mighty hand to ease our suffering
and all the while you hear each spoken need
and love us way too much to give us lesser things
cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
what if your healing comes through tears
what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you're near
and what if the trials of this life are your mercies in disguise
we pray for wisdom, your voice to hear
we cry in anger when we cannot feel you near
we doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
as if every promise from your word is not enough
and all the while you hear each desperate plea
and long that we'd have faith to believe
cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
what if your healing comes through tears
what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you're near
and what if the trials of this life are your mercies in disguise
when friends betray us
when darkness seems to win we know -
that pain reminds this heart
that this is not
this is not our home
cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
what if your healing comes through tears
what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you're near
what if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
is the revealing of a greater thirst this world cant satisfy
and what if the trials of this life
the rains, the storms, the hardest nights
are your mercies in disguise

- Blessings, Laura Story

Friday, December 14, 2012

our christmas card.

i have a love-hate relationship with christmas cards. i love that they give me an excuse to dig back through a year's worth of pictures and blog posts and reminisce on the past 12 months to determine what all we did that year that might be worth sharing. i love getting cards from friends and family and hanging them around my house for way longer than is probably seasonally appropriate. and i love having a unique record of each year. (see our cards from 2010 and 2011)
but i hate how more often than not, it's more difficult than it seems it should be to find that one card-worthy picture to share. i hate how pricey it all can be, what with the cards, and the stamps, and the time it takes to lick all those envelopes. i hate licking those envelopes.  and i hate having to split my address list into 'card' and 'no card' categories  because as much as i want to send everyone all of the cards, i'm just not made of stamps.
so for those of you who fell on the 'no card' list this year, i'm really sorry about that. please dont hate me. you are not forgotten. you are just the lucky recipient of the eco-friendly virtual version of  our card: no muss, no fuss, and no extra trash to take out after Christmas:


Thursday, December 13, 2012

trim up the tree with christmas stuff, like bingle balls and whofoo fluff.

i have been trying to share these photos all week, and blogger/picasa has not been playing nice. but finallyfinally i get to introduce you to my most favorite of Christmas decorations - our tree!  

Mark is apparently less than enthused.
kidding! Mark was actually very excited to help pick out Harold the Second, he just thought that he was not going to be in the picture with Harold (the second). see? much better. 

we drove home from the super festive parking lot/tree lot with Harold (the second) securely secured to the roof, feeling very Christmassey and festive and excited. at home, Mark set up Harold (the second) in his tree stand while i napped. and then he sat there just like that for an entire week. (Harold, not Mark) just a plain ol' pine tree, chillin in the living room. and let me just tell you, an undecorated Christmas tree is not very Christmassey - its really just kind of sad. i didnt even take any pictures of it, thats how sad it is.

so a week later, after i gave Harold (the second) plenty of time to settle and adjust to his new holiday home, (and also because i finally found 20 minutes of free time all in a row) it was time to decorate! our tree decorating routine is pretty standard: just colored lights, and our eclectic mish-mash of yearly ornaments that we have collected over the years. i accidentally bucked a tradition of opening our Christmas ornaments for the year on Christmas Eve - i was just so excited about putting them on the tree! we picked up this years' ornaments on our European travels. a mini-Eiffel Tower from France... 

...and a Venetian mask from Italy. neither of these were technically designed to be ornaments, but they were easily modified with a little bit of fishing line and sparkly silver cord. i love these because i think they're some of the best souveniers i have ever brought back from a trip. instead of being packed away forever in storage or lost and forgotten somewhere, these will get to be displayed every year and remind us of the awesome trip we took this year.

another super exciting thing on our tree this year: snowflakes! my mom crocheted me a set of my very own snowflakes, AND an angel tree topper. apparently i hinted last year that i might like some - i totally forgot that i ever said that, and was super surprised and excited when Mom pulled them out of her suitcase at Thanksgiving! they are wonderful and beautiful and they make my tree look fantastic and i love them and i know my sisters are super jealous so i'm not going to rave about them anymore. but just look how pretty!

wanna see Harold (the second) all decked out? of course you do. here he is in the daytime:
and here he is at nighttime:  
yup, its official: 'tis definitely the season for sitting in the dark living room just reveling in all of the magic and joy by the light of the tree.

Monday, December 10, 2012

meal plan monday: dec 10.

i love a good weekend. i really love a great weekend. and this was a really great weekend.

reason the first: my BFITW. she called me a couple weeks ago and said "it has been too long since we have been together. i am coming to your house." and it was awesome. we hung out, we shopped, we got our nails done, we ate Chipotle with friends, we continued our picture day tradition, we mailed Christmas cards, we watched Despicable Me, we laughed A LOT. because apart from my sisters, there's no one who understands me like this girl. she is the best.

reason the second: Christmas decorations. we've had our tree for a week, and it sat undecorated in our living room, just being a plain-ol' pine tree for a full seven days. but now it is finally decorated and beautiful. also: lights on the porch, nativity on the mantle, christmas dishes in the cupboard, sparkly ornaments in the lamps, and a big bow on the door. its beginning to look a lot like Christmas all over my house.

reason the third: zero obligations. no bathrooms to work on. no deadlines to meet. no schedule, no stress, no nothing. just whatever we wanted to do, whenever we wanted to do it. this was the first weekend we've had in a while that was just easy breezy go with the flow and i absolutely loved it!

it was fun, it was productive, it was relaxing. pretty much perfection.
(insert clever transition here)
so this is what we're going to be eating this week:

Monday: soup from a can.
Tuesday: grilled cheese and tomato soup.
Wednesday: crock pot roast, potatoes, veggies.
Thursday: tilapia with rice and a veggie.
Friday: dinner out before the Christmas play.
Saturday: Christmas party at Dutcher's.
Sunday: Cynthia's birthday party.

Friday, December 7, 2012

seasonally confused.

Christmas music on the radio. brown leaves falling in the backyard. 70 degrees and sunny last tuesday. will someone please tell me what season this is supposed to be?!?

it would appear that my front door is just as confused about the changing seasons as mother nature: we're rocking our colorful spring welcome sign, the remnants of summer flowers, a fantabulous little fall wreath, and our adorable new winter welcome mat.

welcome to our house: where we're either completely incompetent at seasonal home accessories, or complete geniuses who never have to redecorate... or maybe a little of both.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

a song for you this christmas.

**to the tune of "Nuttin' for Christmas"**

you're gettin' nuttin' for Christmas,
me and my husband are mad.
we can buy nuttin' for Christmas,
'cause cars are expensive and sad.

the tires on my car are dead -
that's a lot of money.
i'd rather buy presents instead -
but winter roads are slippy.

i'd like to buy you all nice things -
fast sports cars and diamond rings -
but how about some water wings,
or samples i got for free?

OH you're gettin' nuttin' for Christmas,
me and my husband are mad.
we can buy nuttin' for Christmas,
'cause cars are expensive and sad.

mark got new tires on his car too -
woot! even more money!
then he nearly hit a stopping queue,
which is really not funny.

he almost smashed up his car's hood -
side mirror lost swerving into the woods* -
at least we know his brakes are good -
so we'll fix that too, honey.
SO you're gettin' nuttin' for Christmas,
we hope that you aren't really mad.
we're buyin' you nuttin' for Christmas,
'cause our cars are expensive and sad.

(ok so maybe this isnt all entirely true. yes, we've had to put new tires on both our cars and Mark did knock off his side mirror avoiding a rear-end collision, but we are still giving Christmas presents this year. just dont hold your breath for that fancy fur hat you love, or be disappointed that we didnt get you a new iPhone7.)

*it was actually a wooden sign post, but i took a little artistic license with the story for the sake of rhyming.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

oh deer.

i am not a hunter. never have been, probably never will be. i can shoot a gun, but only at stationary targets. my activities on the first day of deer season are much more likely to include tshirt decorating, movies, and cupcakes, rather than sitting in the cold woods. 

like my mom, i think that if hunting were more like catch-and-release fishing, i might be more into it. i would enjoy the hunt, get a thrill from lining up my shot and pulling the trigger, and be excited if i hit what i was aiming for... but at the end of the day, i just wouldnt want to have a dead animal to deal with.

i think the deer in my neighborhood might have figured this out. here are five of them that greeted me at my front door yesterday morning, and then hung around in the back yard long enough for me to get their picture:

since i dont have anything really alive in any of my flowerbeds, you're nice and safe in my yard for now little deers... until catch-and-release hunting becomes a legit thing. then you better watch out.

Monday, December 3, 2012

meal plan monday: dec 2.

so, did anyone miss my meal planning post for last week? oh right, no one actually reads this series. well it turns out that i really did miss it. i didnt have any meals planned beyond tuesday when the fam flew home, so even though i picked up some groceries, it still felt like we had no food in the house all last week. it also didnt help that i had zero motivation to cook anything. so no lie we ate leftovers, omelettes, and soup from a can all week long. is it bad to think "well, we survived" is an ok reason to classify a week as a success?

here's hoping i can shake off my post-holiday food funk this week and actually make us something tasty and healthy and not straight from a can.

Monday: breaded tilapia with rice.
Tuesday: crock pot chicken enchilada soup. (recipe)
Wednesday: grilled chicken on spinach salad.
Thursday: spinach chicken alfredo pizza. (recipe)
Friday: taco salad.
Saturday: lasagna and salad.
Sunday: grilled cheese and tomato soup.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

operation knock-down drag-out: week 13.

well, we took it right down to the wire, but the bathroom got done before Thanksgiving! sure, Mark was adding the finishing touches and cleaning all the construction mess while i was en route to  the airport to pick up my mom, dad, and brother, but by the time we got to the house, the bathroom was looking something like this:

everything is done done done done done! and the best part is that in its inaugural weekend it has survived the use and abuse of 9 people for 4 days (mostly) unscathed. there is still a teeny tiny leak in the shower that needs to be addressed, but Mark is confident that its an issue within the fixture itself and not with any of the plumbing that's behind the walls. 

speaking of the shower, remember how i mentioned last week that we bought the wrong showerhead? turns out its harder than we thought it would/should be to find a showerhead that swivels, and we actually bought the wrong showerhead two more times before we found the right one. fourth times the charm? note to future self: the Depot tends to have a better selection of building materials, but Lowes has the better selection of the finishing touches.

did you notice the shelves i finally finished? i can't take the creativity credit for these, since i totally stole the project idea from a pinterest link, but i think they look fabulous in my bathroom. they gave me an excuse to play with power tools and make a sawdusty mess, and i only needed Mark's help a little at the very end, so i'm pretty proud of them.

the shelves are almost entirely decorative at this point, but could at some point be used to hold some more useful stuff. for now, on the top shelf i have a framed free printable that i found through pinterest, and a fake starfish that i cleaned up after i found it in the flowerbed by my mailbox last week. 

on the bottom shelf, there is a glass container from walmart that holds q-tips, an empty metal bucket from ikea, and a bear-shaped bar of soap that my mom brought from Yellowstone.

also on the bottom shelf is the old beer bottle that we found under the old tub during the demolition phase of this project. yes, i know its totally random and weird and it might make us seem like crazy alcoholics who keep their beer stashed all over the house, but this bottle had lived in this room for the past 29 years and i just feel like it would be wrong for it to live anywhere else.

there are not enough words to express just how good it feels to have this room completely finished and functional. Mark has declared this to be the last major house project for the year, which is a good thing since i've already managed to fill almost every weekend from now until next year with various sorts of holiday fun that does not include power tools or plumbing or renovating anything. this is it, folks. for now.

trips to Home Depot: this week - 3. total - 24.
trips to Ace: this week - 0. total - 2.
trips to Lowes: this week - 3. total - 10.

times Amanda has cried over this project: this week - 0. total - 3.
times Amanda has cried in Home Depot: this week - 0. total - 0.

days until Thanksgiving: -7. and i miss everyone already.

total cost of bathroom reno: $2210. and worth every penny.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

thankful wrap-up.

back to work today after an extra long holiday weekend. i'm still recuperating from Thanksgiving and all of the awesomeness that it was: family! leaf piles! turducken! turkey hats! matching aprons! uno! bowling! games! silliness! piecaken! hiking! waterfalls! and so many hugs i couldn't have counted them even if i tried!

all the fun and the craziness and the noise all over the house felt so right, just like home, and it was downright sad and quiet once everyone was loaded into cars and planes and headed home.

we stretched the weekend as long as we could to squeeze in as much as we could, which means that we had a fantastic time. it also means that i've given myself zero time to regroup and now i'm falling headfirst into Christmas. but before all that craziness kicks in, i just want to take a minute and round out my thankful list for this year. i might have even added a few bonus thanks, just because i really do have a LOT to be thankful for!

86. Mom.

87. Dad.

88. Stasi.

89. Abi.

90. Alex.

91. Claire and Nick.

92. brothers-in-law.

93. Gram.
94. Pap.
95. slide rules.
96. new tires.
97. leftovers.
98. rag bags.
99. air mattresses.
100. cameras.

and... bonus! because i just cant stop being thankful!
...or using exclamation points!!!
101. one-hour photo prints.
102. mail.
103. lists.
104. online shopping.
105. Christmas.

"Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name."  
I Chronicles 29:13  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

recognize what you're thankful for.

this picture cracks me up every time i look at it.

76. my job.
77. Sophie.
78. community groupies.
79. naps. (just knowing they exist,i wish i had time for naps)
80. hair dryers.
81. colored pencils.
82. my iPod, which i can listen to instead of the Christmas music on the
      intercom at work. (is one holiday at a time really too much to ask?)
83. glasses and contacts.
84. comfy sweaters.
85. music.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

operation knock-down drag-out: week 12.

well, here we are: Thanksgiving week. the deadline is upon us. now if all went as planned, i would be sharing a lovely, fully styled grand reveal with y'all today. but y'know, things around here rarely go as planned. we would have loved to be done early, but its looking more like we're going to juuuusst make it on time, which is better than late, which is better than never. (read: hey family! dont cancel your travel plans for thursday! the bathroom WILL be done!)

this week was all about plumbing, plumbing, and more plumbing, because no matter how pretty your bathroom turns out, people will appreciate it way more if they can actually USE it.

Mark started with the vanity. before he could install and plumb the faucet, he added knobs to the doors and caulked the gap around the backsplash.

then he tinkered for a while under the sink. the process went kind of like this: tinker, test, leak, repeat. i think he only had to repeat the whole process two or three times, so i would consider that a major success...

... especially since it ended with a working, non-leaking sink!

over the weekend, after Mark installed the baseboard, his dad came over to supervise/help with the toilet installation.

i was busy doing things that were slightly more productive than hovering over the toilet installation process, but from what i can tell it went pretty smoothly. the toilet justbarely fits with the baseboard installed, which we are very very very happy about, since we neglected to factor the baseboard into our measurements.

you may have noticed that we ended up with a round bowl. i was thisclose to giving in and letting mark win and get the elongated toilet that would have taken up more space in our little bathroom, but he actually conceded before i had a chance. i think its quite lovely, dont you?

and oh hey, see the shower hardware in the background of that last picture? no, i didnt forget to mention it, i just took that toilet picture a couple days later, since the only other after picture of the toilet had Mark sitting on it and even though he was wearing pants i thought it might be a bit much to put it on the internet.

the shower hardware unfortunately did not go nearly as smoothly as the sink and toilet, and actually put up quite a good fight. Mark fought back, took a drill and a chisel to his beautiful new shower tile, and came out the winner.

and then we realized that we bought the wrong showerhead. crapbag. but other than that, all we need to do to finish the shower is to hang the shower curtain. which i have all ironed and ready to go. easy peasy. 

so what was i up to all week? eh, a little of this and that. mostly dishes and cleaning and laundry and replacing ALL the flourescent lights in the basement (they seriously burned out all at once!) but i did manage to squeeze in some time to work on my two bathroom projects: the shelves and the towel hooks. i dont have any pictures of the shelves, since it took both my hands and then some to assemble them, and the process shots i took of the towel hooks are boring and no fun, especially when compared to the final product, so blah blah drillmitersawgluenailcaulkpaintscrew BAM! finished product!

gorgeous, right!? once the shelves are hung i'll take pictures of them too. but until then, i'll be busy running around like a crazy person to get everything done and my house in a state of not-filth-and-squalor before Thursday.

trips to Home Depot: this week - 3. total - 21.
trips to Ace: this week - 0. total - 2.
trips to Lowes: this week - 0. total - 7.

times Amanda has cried over this project: this week - 0. total - 3.
times Amanda has cried in Home Depot: this week - 0. total - 0.

days until Thanksgiving: 2!!!!!!