Tuesday, January 31, 2012

much too important.

my weekend was almost really terrible.

i wish i could tell you that my friday night meltdown was the result of something big or life-changing or monumental like some terrible, horrible, news. like the loss of a family pet or family member. a car accident. a natural disaster. a reaction to the knowledge that life as i knew it was changing forever. (not that i wish those things would ever happen, but they would make the intensity of my emotional explosion more reasonable)

you guys, it was just a really bad movie.

a really bad movie that the hubs really wanted to watch. and i really wanted him to enjoy it. and i really wanted to enjoy the time we had set aside to just snuggle and be together. and then i felt bad because i spent the first part of the movie putting the finishing sparkly touches on my manicure. and then i didnt really like the movie. and then i had a headache and a sore neck. and then i couldnt find a comfortable way to snuggle. and then i wasnt really enjoying myself. and then i was convinced that i had ruined the entire evening. and then i blew up and actually ruined the evening that, up until that moment, the hubs had been very much enjoying.

there was screaming, and crying, and stomping, and swearing. (mostly by me) and then there was talking, and sitting on the bathroom floor, and more crying, and hugging, and promising to try harder to not bottle up our emotions so much anymore so that these explosion-type meltdowns maybe happen less frequently.

and then we hardly saw each other for the rest of the weekend.

i spent my weekend shopping in State College with my two bestest friends (more on that later) and holding babies at a baby shower, while the hubs spent his weekend puttering around the house and napping and making plans for his garden.

if you look at it from the standpoint of projects completed versus projects left undone, (which is how i have been measuring most of my time lately) this was the least productive and thereby worst weekend i have had in a long time. and yet, it was really one of the best. i spent quality time with quality people. i relaxed and laughed and drank coffee and went out to eat. and i'm really glad that my friday night was a stressful, messy, emotional wreck because it was a very clear indicator that the rest of my weekend needed to be relaxing and fun and full of life. i needed some serious balance, y'all.

because if life is only about projects and deadlines and serious business stuffs, then i want none of it. yawn. bo-ring. i'll take my life with a generous helping of friends and laughter and fun and silliness pleaseandthankyou. life is much too important to be taken too seriously.

Friday, January 27, 2012

too long?

is there some statute of limitations on Christmas decorations? is it a bad thing that we are the last house on our street that still turns their lights on at night? at what point does it go from being fun and festive to being stubborn and just kind of crazy? am i in danger of becoming one of those people who leaves their lights up all year? and would that really be such a bad thing?

well if i am beginning the descent into the realm of year-round-christmas-light redneckery, just know that it's not because i was too lazy to take the lights down, but i decided to leave them up (and keep plugging them in) because they are just so gorgeous and they make me happy. and that goes for the ornaments in the front window too. they're just plain happy.

the hubs thinks i'm kind of crazy. what do you think?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

things i have ordered.

after procrastinating on most of my Christmas shopping right up to the point that i was forced to shop in real stores if i wanted to have any gifts to give, i have rediscovered online shopping. and i am in love. its just so easy! and it's practically like instant gratification! and i get mail! it's a win-win-win situation up in here y'all!

AND THEN there's PayPal, making it even easier to spend my money quickly. i'm so glad i remembered my password! best. thing. evar!

but seriously, who doesn't love getting mail? it's definately near the top of my list of favorite things. and getting fun things in the mail?? even better!!! and since i'm uber generous and thoughtful and WAY over-excited about sharing all this, let me just show you the things i have purchased so far this year: 

a smart cover for my iPad. because its smart. and because i am not, and the cover that i actually originally ordered right after Christmas was a different style and when it came it didn't fit right. it was all my fault. also, this one is green.

 a clear snap-on iPad cover. because i dont want my pretty new iPad to get all scratched up.

protective screen covers for the iPad. because i managed to mess up all three of the first set that i ordered in December. fifth times a charm!

 this cow creamer. because why not?

a 2012 calendar. because i can only live in denial for so long. and because its cute.

a little photo album. and some note cards. because i had a $15 credit at OneKingsLane that my sister was urging me to use. i think somehow she got money out of the deal. i dont really mind though, cuz aren't they cute and fun?

new bite caps for my camelbak water bottle. because instead of cleaning out my old bite cap again, i just chucked it, rendering my water bottle completely useless. and man, i miss my water bottle.

you guys, we're only 26 days into the year. someone please change my PayPal password back to something i can't remember before i spend all of my Europe money on little things that i kinda sorta really need but mostly i just kinda sorta really want.

PS i am going shopping for real on Saturday with Deenie and my BFITW. because i love them and i dont see them enough and they are fun to shop with, and because i need new pants. and if there is one thing that you can't buy online with any amount of certainty, it is pants. wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


have you ever had one of those experiences where something that initially seems like the opposite of normal slowly integrates itself into your life over time to the point that you no longer notice it as being abnormal but rather it's become the new normal? how about then when things go back to the original normal and all of a sudden what is normal seems like it is wierd and out of the ordinary? anyone have a clue what i'm talking about? just me?

ok, i'll give you a real life example to clarify. so we've been living without doors on the basement stairs or our two hall closets for a couple months. we took them down when we started painting in the front room and the hallway back in November because we were going to give them a quick coat of paint and some new hardware, and then throw them right back up all quick and easy-peasy-like. except for it wasn't quite as quick as we originally thought (is it ever?) and so we were just a little doorless for a while.

and you know what? it wasn't so bad. i mean sure, anyone who's come over in the past 2 months now knows exactly how many coats we own and what brand of toilet paper we prefer (7 of mine, 2 of Marks, and Charmin Basic in case you were curious) but it was actually kind of nice to be able to go up and down the basement stairs without having to worry about the extra step of dealing with a door. and since we don't have any lil kiddos running around we didn't have to worry about them getting into things or falling down the stairs. in short, we got used to our semi-doorless way of living.

until last week. when the doors went back up. i had kind of forgotten what the space looked like without the dark, gaping, empty doorways showing off all our clutter. it looks... clean. bright. and just a little wierd. but i'm sure i'll get used to it again soon enough.

so now we only have two doors left in the main level of the house that still need some sprucing - the guest bathroom door, and the front door. (and i guess technically the sliding glass door too, but that's gonna take more than just some paint so i count it more like a window) all in good time though. slow and steady is the name of the game around our house - one room, and one project at a time.

Monday, January 23, 2012

weekly plan: Jan 23.

well, we made it through another week of meal planning. granted, i only tried one new recipe last week, and that one recipe managed to turn my kitchen into a disaster zone for a full day and a half, and it didnt turn out as well as it should have because i managed to overcook the noodles, and i made about twice as much as we needed, (we're finally finishing the last of it for lunch today) but overall i would definately have to call last week a success for meal planning!

as far as how we did on the other stuff we had planned, i might have been a tad bit ambitious. yes, we got the doors painted and re-hardwared and re-hung. yes, we cleaned out the fireplace. and as a bonus, we even finally took Harold down and out to the backyard.

but that stuff about the kitchen? yeah no. after a little discussion, our plans for the kitchen have expanded a little beyond what i had originally thought. instead of just painting the walls in there (which would take zero time because our kitchen is super-tiny) we are also going to fix a spot in the ceiling, paint the ceiling, paint the cabinets to match the trim, and hang a shelf. still relatively minor stuff to be sure, but it's not the kind of thing thats going to get done in a couple hours on a Monday night.

but since i'm on a roll with this whole having-a-plan thing, here's our plan for this week:

To Eat:
Monday: taco night! (carried over from last Friday)
Tuesday: squash stew - recipe from Dana (i'mma try it in the crockpot)
Wednesday: whatever Victoria brings over for dinner
Thursday: shrimp, rice, and a vegetable
Friday: orange citrus chicken (from this book), Mark's roasted potatoes
Saturday: leftovers, whatever i find at the mall food court
Sunday: eggplant parmesan, salad.

To Paint:
- coffee table.
- my toenails.

To Do:
- catch up on laundry.
- buy better scissors.
- shop with my BFITW on Saturday!

and as always, the plan is subject to change. and if it does, it's no big deal. after all, this is the year of non-resolutions and vague goals and no pressure to do anything perfectly, or really to do anything at all.

Friday, January 20, 2012

maryland pickers.

so apparently i've been on a real furniture kick this week. allow me to introduce to you our other furniture-find of the week:

i have no idea where this particular gal is going to live for realsies, but i just love her little round feet so much that she just had to come home with us! at the moment she is fitting very nicely into that corner of our fireplace room.  and even if we don't like her or we can't find the perfect place for her, we haven't really lost anything, because we picked her up for free on the side of the road.

yeah, you heard me right. i totally trash-picked that computer desk.

she was left sitting all alone and forlorn at the bottom of our neighbor's driveway. out with the trash. except that the trash guys had already come and gone for the day, and she was still there. passed over by even the trash guys. i don't know that it gets much lower than that. so on my way to work, i enlisted the hubs to help me load her into the back of my car and off we went! i think the neighbors might have actually watched us take her. we are officially those neighbors.

and yes, she's not the most high quality piece of furniture (hello, particleboard!) and she does need a little bit o' lovin' but i dont think its anything that some wood filler and a fresh coat of paint and maybe some new hinges can't fix. so here's to turning trash into treasure - we'll be sure to let you know how (and if) she turns out!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

table hunting.

now that the dining room is all painted, i've restarted my search for the perfect dining room table. i've come close to finding 'the one' in the past, but after a while i always end up falling out of love with whichever one i pick. i'd like it to be wood. but it has to compliment our wood floors without being all matchy-match, but it also can't clash with the chocolate brown on the walls. AND i'd like to have a rug to go under it, which adds a whole new thing to search for at the same time. honestly, it's kind of stressful.

so while i was trolling around the interwebs the other day, i decided to check out a place that is right up the road from our house called Belle Patri. i have literally driven right past this place several times a day for the past year, and i cannot believe i have never gone in before this week. they are a consignment store of sorts that has all sorts of wonderful furniture and accessories - some new, some second hand, and all awesome. they carry a lot of shabby-chic-type of stuff, and everything i saw in the store looked really nice, even if it didn't match the style of our house. they keep their inventory pretty up to date on their website, which is nice if you are looking for something specific, like i was.

i didn't find a dining room table there, but what i did find was a matched set of end tables and a coffee table that caught my eye. they had good lines and were a nice clean white, which i liked since i don't want all my furniture to be as eye-catching as the not-a-credenza. as a bonus, i could get all 3 pieces for half what i would have paid for something similar from IKEA.

so i was understandably bummed when i got there after work and discovered that the end tables had already sold. but the hubs met me there on his way home and assured me that he thinks he can make me some similar end tables if i really really like them. so with a generous 10% discount that the nice lady working there gave us because of some scratches on the top, we bought ourselves a coffee table!

if i had photoshop i might have thought about editing out all that crap on the loveseat. but thats what it looks like. just keepin' it real.

the plan for now is to give it a coat of paint with the same shade of white that we have been using on all the trim throughout the house, since we aren't quite ready to do a full-on makeover of the front room. but Mark has already commented about how much more lived-in the house feels with the new table sitting in the middle of the front room. and it really does help to visualize what that space might eventually look like with the addition of a rug, and a couple chairs, and a fabulous built-in bench/bookcase. it's gonna be awesome! but first we have a pretty long list of other projects to tackle...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

how does your garden grow?

yes, I know it's January. Seems like it should be a weird time to be talking about gardening, right? And yet, we have not had any snow yet this season, and it was 55 degrees and rainy today, which makes it seem like spring, which would make it the perfect time to be talking about our garden.

back in November, Mark spent an afternoon clearing out some of the plants around the back deck that we managed to kill this year while we kept busy with all our inside projects.

and now, thanks to this insane warm spell also known as the winter without snow, possibly known as the year without winter, Mark has been able to build himself a raised bed along the back of the house. It is 3'x18' 12' and fits perfectly between the basement door and the dryer vent. He planned it that way because he's just that good.

on top of all that (literally) he also built a support system for the mesh/cage/trellis that will keep the birds and critters away and give the climbing plants something to climb on. He made it a little shorter than the full length of the bed so that it would not overlap in front of our bedroom window, and just the right height to sit just under the bathroom window.

last weekend he finished gathering all the ingredients for the special dirt he needed to mix up and put in the bed. I don't pay a whole lot of attention to the details of the garden, because this is really Mark's project. I know there is vermiculite involved, that he got from the garden supply store. And the peat moss came from Walmart. And then he borrowed his dad's truck and picked up some compost for free from the landfill. (we're working on our own compost, but it's not ready yet) I wish I could tell you all the deets about how much of each thing goes into the special dirt, but the best thing I can do would be to direct you to the square foot gardening book.

we still need to fine tune the mesh, and get some sort of trellis for the side that is up against the house, and make our square foot delineations, but those are all things that can be done in the spring. apparently the important thing was to get the dirt ready so it could sit over the winter. if winter ever comes that is. i mean we appreciate the extra nice weather that allowed us to get the garden all ready, but it might be nice to get just a little bit of winter before its time to put seeds in the ground.

rain, rain, go away. 
come on back in spring someday. 
we'd like some snow in which to play. 
rain, rain, go away.

PS. today is SOPA strike day. i'm not blacking out my blog because i get a whopping 12 page views a day and it wouldn't really make that much of a statement. but i did sign Google's petition. (i think) i'm still learning what i can about this censorship proposition and what it would mean for the internet, but censorship of any kind doesn't sit quite right in my head so that's where i stand on this one.  

Monday, January 16, 2012

a plan.(ish)

last week's meal plan went surprisingly well. we only had to switch meals around once, and just skipped one meal. (we ate at the in-laws) we had plenty of leftovers for lunches, and the food was all delicious.

recipe for this found here on Pinterest
the only problem is that now i am having trouble coming up with a plan for this week. it's like i tapped out all my ideas last week. and as good as the food was, i don't know that i want to eat the same meals over and over every week. but every time i try to pick meals for the week, they wind up looking almost identical to what we ate last week. soup, pasta, chicken, fish, beef...

is that a bad thing? am i overthinking this? eh. so what if i am. we need to eat something and i need to come up with a grocery list. so here's what's on the menu for this week.

To Eat
Monday: soup from a can (because i'm a procrastinator. also: lazy)
Tuesday: frozen raviolis, salad
Wednesday: chicken, pasta, corn (maybe this recipe?)
Thursday: fish, rice, broccoli
Friday: taco night

**edit: swap Monday and Thursday. even though i'm lazy today, i have more time tonight to make dinner than i will on Thursday.

To Paint
- closet and basement doors.
- kitchen?

To Do
- replace hardware and re-hang doors.
- organize kitchen.
- clean out the fireplace.

on the plus side, at least we've stayed away from the frozen pizza so far! but seriously, if you have any suggestions for what we should eat next week, please send them my way!

Friday, January 13, 2012


my car needed an oil change, so i took her to the garage.

an oil change turned into new wiper blades, a new air filter, and a patch for a leaky tire.

a patch for a leaky tire turned into a corroded tire pressure monitor so come back tomorrow.

a corroded tire pressure monitor turned into needing to reset all four monitors turned into a trip to the dealership.

the trip to the dealership turned into having three recalls on my vehicle. one was for the screws that hold my rearview mirror onto my car. the other two sounded much more involved and i would tell you what they were for except i didn't understand a word that nice woman said to me.

it started as an oil change, and ended 5.5 hrs and $300 later.

all because a little bug went KA-CHOO!

perhaps i should think about developing a healthy fear of Friday the 13th.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

why not? bears do it.

hibernation seemed like a viable option this morning.

i realized after i got out of bed at 6:10am and into the shower that today was actually one of the few workdays that i could have legitimately slept in without any negative repurcussions, as i had scheduled Sophie an oil change at 8. since the garage is only 2 minutes from my house, i was officially awake way too early. so i did what any self-respecting, responsible adult-type person would do in this situation, and i finished my shower and i crawled back into bed.

i stayed in that nice warm bed through several more alarms. when the hubs woke up and got out of bed, i stayed put. i tried to coax myself out from under the covers, but the world outside of my protective layer of sheets and blankets was just so cold.

finally i reasoned with myself that if i was not out of bed before the hubs left the house, then i would no longer have any motivation to wake up, and it was all too likely that i would just stay in bed all day. looking back, i don't know why i thought that would be a bad thing.

about an hour after i began my hibernation, i slowly made my way out of bed. i got dressed. i brushed my teeth. i pulled my hair back into a pony tail and put on a  little bit of makeup. i packed myself a lunch and was at the garage 4 whole minutes early.

i read a book while Ronnie changed Sophie's oil, replaced her wiper blades, discovered that her air filter was clogged, and found out that she had a leaky tire. he's ordering some parts, so i get to go back again tomorrow morning.

and thanks to a moment of complete randomosity, i am now the owner of a 1943 steel penny.

i get to hibernate again tomorrow. i guess today's not so bad after all.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

an idea for food network's newest show.

i have discovered something. a revelation of sorts. a realization that there is a sizeable hole in the repertoire of cooking shows. or at least i think there's a hole, whatever size it may be. and i guess the filler for such a hole could exist somewhere out there and i just don't watch enough Food Network to know about it, but it's a novel idea to me and so i'm going to just throw it out there because i heard it here first, even if you didn't.

Cooking with Men Who Don't Know How to Cook.

i'm thinking it would be a big hit, and i'm going to go ahead and tell you why.

1. you've already got plenty of cooking shows hosted by women because a woman's place is obviously in the kitchen and thats why we dont wear watches because there's a clock on the stove and i feel like the whole 'woman in the kitchen' thing is already way overdone.

2. while men cooking on tv is nothing new, all those men have some sort of a background in the culinary arts. whether they're a chef or a baker or a foodie, they are masters of their craft and they know their way around their kitchen stuffs way better than i ever will.

3. it would be exciting. there would be knives and fire and the never-ending suspense of whether or not all of the sweat and tears and hard work would ever yield anything edible. and really, the tears enough should be all it takes to get people to tune in.

4. it would be hilarious. i know that sometimes when i read a recipe i just have to laugh because i don't understand a word of what they're trying to tell me to do. so it only follows that it would be even funnier to watch someone else try to figure it out from the comfort of my own couch.

5. it would be educational. men and women alike would learn new things about food, cooking, kitchen gadgets, and recipes, and maybe even get a glimpse into how very different the inner workings of men and womens' brains are.

6. men have a certain tendency to be creative in their problem-solving methods and the tools they choose to use. anything goes. don't know what an immersion blender is? use your drill and grout stirrer instead. bring on the power tools, boys. the bigger the better.

so where did i get this fabulous idea? the hubs decided to help out with tonight's dinner. in fact, he did most of the work for our rice-beef-vegetable-soup concoction. and then when i told him that we should probably leave a little more room in the crock pot because we didn't know how much water would cook out of the meat and the veggies, he got a little concerned. and then he came up with a plan.

so one cutting board, one sink, and one 50 ft extension cord later, our soup setup was prepared for any overflow-type-mishaps that may or may not happen while we are at work today.

perhaps 'reasonably sized extension cord' should move up to the top of our shopping list.

hey Food Network! call me!

Monday, January 9, 2012

do you have a plan?

so. about this time last year, i decided that i needed to find a meal plan to use. something that would allow me to make new things, eat real food, and feel grown up. i found one that came with recipes AND a shopping list. it seemed perfect. it also required me to make at least three brand new recipes every day. most stuff was delicious. a few things were complete disasters.

i lasted about a week. and then i got overwhelmed at the thought of having to go through all that again the next week and i gave up and ran whimpering back to my frozen pizza every Tuesday night.

and yet, here i am again, with the first of my non-proritized un-resolutions for 2012 being to come up with a reasonable meal plan. so here's what i have for this week:

Monday: quesadillas.
Tuesday: homemade beef-rice-vegetable soup.
Wednesday: grilled chicken penne pesto pasta with roasted asparagus.
Thursday: fish, rice, and broccoli.
Friday: broccoli mac n cheese.
Saturday: leftover soup?
Sunday: chicken and potatoes.

the asparagus was one of our favorite things that i learned how to make during last year's meal planning extravaganza. other than that, none of these things have an actual recipe per-se. but they all sound good to me. they all seem simple enough to pull off on a weeknight without having to spend the whole evening in the kitchen. and best of all, none of them require me to wander my grocery store searching for the ever-elusive barley, gouda cheese, or green chiles. (i never managed to find any of them last year. i'm not entirely sure they actually exist. kind of like The Princess Bride.)

maybe in the weeks to come i'll get more adventurous with my meals. i might even blog about the new stuff that i try. or maybe i'll continue to stick with what i know. but either way, hopefully our Tuesday frozen pizza nights will no longer be a weekly ritual.

and if you let me know when to expect you for dinner, i'll have something special planned just for you!

(that last line sounded creepy and evil and stabby. that's not how i meant it. honest.)

Friday, January 6, 2012

things i would like to do in 2012.

in no particular order.

make a reasonable meal plan. paint the front door. run a 5K. go to Europe. enjoy that trip thoroughly. bring home at least one good souvenir. feel good about myself in a bathing suit. sit-ups. clean the front porch. have pretty flower beds. shower with the door closed. read the Lord of the Rings trilogy. then watch the movies. paint and organize my kitchen. invite more people to our house. smile. make curtains for all my naked windows. clean regularly. use my crockpot. read through my bible. run. dismantle the mountain-o-junk in the basement. decorate for seasons other than Christmas. yard sale. read a book by Jane Austin Austen. hang things on the walls. build something. laugh. organize the office. carve a jack-o-lantern. buy pants that fit and make me feel fantastic. clean out my closet. put new music on my iPod. be a good friend. quilt our old t-shirts. close my other bank account. hit 'play all' on abs and buns of steel and not want to die. go to the dentist. give more homemade gifts. play outside. ride my bike. the big book of everything. go to a baseball game. swim. paint something little. have fun.

these are not resolutions, as they are not necessarily stamped with an expiration date of Dec. 31st and therefore cannot make me feel bad if i dont actually follow through with all of them in the next 365 days. rather, these are goals. things that i would like to accomplish. maybe this year, maybe not. some things involve major lifestyle changes and paradigm shifts. others are much simpler. there are things on the list that are one-shot kind of things, and once they are done that's all there is to it. but there are things in there that are longer-term kind of things, and they will hopefully stick around for a while. its not a comprehensive list, and it might grow as the year goes on. i might keep track of what i accomplish, or i might not. no biggie.


the beginning of this year has been hard for me, and i'm not really sure why that is. i came home from my sister's house and i was just... sad. kind of deflated with a sprinkling of apathy to take away any and all flavor from my life. i've kept going, but it feels like i'm just barely scraping by. i don't want to get out of bed in the morning, i get mad at everything, i swear under my breath when i drop my keys under the front seat of my car. when i get home in the evenings, all i want to do is nothing.

the hubs has been super awesome about it. he's gone grocery shopping, done dishes, and laundry, and cleaned toilets, and made me laugh, and let me watch What Not To Wear and buy the green smart cover that i want for my iPad even though he thinks its overpriced. and while i really appreciate the help, i know that it's not fair for me to zone out and let him take over. i can imagine that it's stressful for him, and knowing that i'm stressing him out really doesn't help to put me in a better mood.

but i'm trying. and i'm starting with this list. the things on it are positive and attainable. it's not overwhelmingly long. i am not pressuring myself to do one specific thing every day for the next year, (i've tried that, and it just doesn't work for me) or setting myself an impossibly small goal weight, or even really resolving to do anything. i'm just identifying the things that i think i might like to do in the near future. and i'm putting it in writing so that i can come back to it for ideas when i have a free afternoon and can't think of anything to do. its a little bit of accountability, and i think it will be fun to go back to this post a year from now and see how i did. 

i'm starting this weekend. we invited a couple of friends over tonight for dinner and a movie. it has all the makings of a really great evening. and even if it turns out to be a total flop, at least it's a good start on my goals to "invite more people to our house," "be a good friend," and "have fun." see how this goes? no pressure. just fun.

what would you like to do in twenty-twelve? 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

let's do the time warp again.

time warp - (n) a hypothetical eccentricity in the progress of time that would allow movement back and forth between eras or that would permit the passage of time to be suspended.

we spent last weekend in the most delightful time warp at my sister Stasi's house in WPA.

when we woke up on Saturday morning, it was Christmas all over again! there was a beautiful tree, an abundance of presents, and the best sisters, brothers-in-law, and niece and nephew who were all VERY excited to be all together in one place.

presents were opened in an unorganized flurry of wrapping paper and boxes and shouts of joy and excitement. the spoils included all sorts of happy things: tailgating stuff, bike stuff, sewing stuff, sleeping bags, a new camera, games,  toys, and enough chocolate to keep us all nice and hyper for at least a week.

and if that weren't awesome enough, we also got to celebrate New Years all on the same day! we spent the afternoon preparing for the big party full of family and friends and food and drink and games and even a fancy cake. because a party just isn't a fancy party without a cake. a fancy cake.

Claire designed it. Aunt Stasi baked it. Nick helped with the icing.

it was one of the fanciest cakes i've ever seen. just check out those delicate piping details and the way the flowers just pop right out at you. and it was delicious too. really, what more could you ask for in a cake?

it was a very great, very fancy party with fabulous people. we played fun games and ate good food and laughed til our stomachs hurt and almost lost track of time. but we managed to squeeze everyone into the same room just in time to watch the ball drop at midnight.

it was a fantastic way to end 2011. it was a fantastic way to kick off 2012. it was hard to come back home to my quiet house with its piles of laundry and dishes. it was sad to look at my Christmas decorations and know that i will have to take them down soon. i miss my sisters. i miss my BFITW.

let's do the time warp again. soon.

a quick look back.

i don't know that i've ever done one of these Year In Review type of posts before, so i'm not really sure how to start it. probably with some sentimental mumbo-jumbo about how the past year has flown by and how much i will miss it and how long it is going to take me to get used to writing 2012 at the end of the date. oh wait. that's pretty much exactly how i feel about the end of this year. it was a good year, full of new things and adventures, and i guess i could manage to scrape together one measly blog post to celebrate it before i throw myself into 2012 with wreckless abandon.

i apparently spent the entire month of January in the kitchen. wow that was a long time ago.

February brought us our first married valentines day, a new nose-piercing for Sophie, a ski trip with friends in New York, and some imaginary drama with an old friend that i apparently made up in my own little head.

in March i did some super-sale-shopping, and celebrated my 24th birthday with my BFITW, while the hubs did a little basement make-over.

April showers brought us some flowers, an impromptu visit to visit my sister in NYC, a fabulous easter dress, and the return of my seasonal allergies.

in May i discovered the joys of my mobile online photo albums, i found a polyester picnic blanket at Goodwill, we took a weekend trip to Virginia for an old-world wedding, and a memorial-day-weekend trip to visit my sister in WPA.

we stuck close to home in June. we ventured as far as the local carnival, but spent most of our time in the fireplace room working on that drywall project.

July was awesome. and busy. while Mark continued to slave away in the fireplace room whenever he wasn't busy playing softball, i worked on some other little projects and took a trip to the beach with some of the greatest girls in the world. we also made time to celebrate the 4th with family and friends, go to the movies, and spend a day helping out on a friend's horse farm

the highlight of our August was family vacation in Williamsburg, which included my first real (unofficial) 5K. we also started painting the fireplace room, and managed to survive both an earthquake and a hurricane.

in September we mostly kept working on the fireplace room. wow, that was a long project and a lot of work. i also did some good yard-sailing, and we took another trip to NYC to celebrate my niece's birthday with apple picking and an amazing cake.

October was an eventful month, as it not only marked the end of our first full year of marriage, but also the end of the fireplace room project! we also survived our first not-quite-a-pregnancy-scare, and celebrated Mark's 24th birthday. i made progress on refinishing the not-a-credenza, and transferred offices at my job. this month also holds claim to the saddest event of our year, which was when we found out about the death of Mark's college roommate's young wife Kortney and their unborn daughter Sophy.

we were very thankful in November. we spent our time doing some yardwork, spending time with friends, and painting all the things. we rounded out the month with a Thanksgiving trip to visit my parents and brother in Wyoming, and i sent my hubs out to hunt elk (and lose his phone) in the wilderness.

December was a happy mix of finished projects and Christmas. we finished painting all the things and hung curtain rods. we got our first real tree and named him Harold. we decorated at work and at home. we finished the dining room and the not-a-credenza. we celebrated Christmas for three days straight. we got Mark a new phone. and then we wrapped up the year with one more Christmas and New Years in WPA.

Dear 2011 - 

you were good to us this year. your days and weeks flew by so fast, and yet january still feels like it happened ages ago. you brought us tons of laughter, good times, and good friends, but you were not without the overwhelming sadness of friends lost way too soon. you were our first full calendar year of being married, and owning a house. you witnessed the start and finish of several large projects, as well as the slow demise of all our flower beds. you tried our patience, made us stronger, and blessed us immensely, and we praise God for His prescence and guidance throughout. we will miss you, and remember you fondly as we move on into a new year and all the adventures that it will bring us.

Love Always,