Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December, lately.

Lately, we have been ...

... ordering kitchen cabinets. and kitchen appliances. and trying to finalize what seems like a million other design decisions. i am beginning to realize that i am WAY out of my league on this one - this whole kitchen renovation is big, and involves things like contractors and custom cabinets, and i do not know the first real thing about a renovation process that isn't completely do-it-yourself, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants and make-a-million-trips-to-home-depot.  but i did update my idea board from August to try and get a better handle on what i might like the floors to look like. thoughts?





PS Mark is planning to start demo this week, so if you have an opinion, now is the time to voice it!

... squealing over every picture of Baby Levi. and over how very adorable and tiny the Christmas jammies are that we bought for him. its kind of hard to believe that he is really real and on the outside, even after spending all day Christmas just snuggling his perfect little self. so excited to see him again (along with the rest of the fam!) in just a couple weeks


... crafting Christmas presents. i have most of them done and wrapped, but believe it or not i still have three half-done at home, and i just thought up two more today to add to my list. that's the upside of celebrating Christmas late this year - a couple extra weeks to get everything done!

... wrapping Christmas presents. i spent an entire Sunday with wrapping paper and the Gilmore Girls. it was a good day, indeed.

... visiting Gram and Pap. we got our first tin of candy when we visited at Thanksgiving, and i left that one at Stasi's house. we got a second! tin of candy on this trip, but unfortunately forgot it on Gram's kitchen counter. major sadface. we are going back in a couple weeks, but i am not holding out hope that there will even be much candy left, let alone even the slimmest of chances that our tin will still be there waiting for us.

... wearing Christmas jammies.  i dont even care that they are mainstream and cliche and i am probably at least four years behind the trend, but i got myself and my husband (non-matching) holiday sleepwear this year and it was downright festive.


... celebrating Julie's wedding! everything was absolutely GORGEOUS - the bride, the venue, the weather (50 degrees and sunny in late December, what!) and i think the only real crises involved the bridesmaids earrings.  there were zero casualties and only minor bloodshed. Julie and Nate are currently on their honeymoon, and i honestly could not be more happy for them.  SO thankful that i got to be a part of their big day.



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

tomorrow is not far away.

yesterday, i packed a suitcase.

tomorrow, i will hug my grandparents. i will hug my sister and brother-in-law. i will snuggle Baby Levi and eat his adorable baby toes.


but today, i sit in my cubicle and watch the foggy, rain-soaked world outside my window.

i am SO looking forward to tomorrow.

Friday, December 5, 2014

thankful 2014: december wrapup.

45. vacation days. long weekends are the best. thankful for a few days off work in the middle of a busy season.

46. in-laws.  thankful for the generous family that my husband comes from.  thankful for laughter and games and time spent together.

50. grandparents. thankful that Gram is willing and able to alter my bridesmaid dress for me. thankful that Pap pretends to know who i am. thankful for good memories around the kitchen table. thankful that gram still makes candy.

55. aunts and uncles and cousins. thankful that no one bats an eye when we rolled in just in time for lunch - in fact, we had pizza in hand and a seat at the table (or on the steps) almost before we even said hello. i am thankful for every single one of them.

81. my fat sister. and Balthazar who is making her fat. and her husband Micah who let Mark hang out with them all last weekend while i was bridal showering and bachelorette partying.


84. laser tag. part of Julie's bachelorette festivities was playing laser tag in fancy dresses. thankful that i had a fancy dress that fit me. thankful for an amazingly fun group of girls to spend the evening with.

93. Christmas decorations. we are keeping Christmas really low-key this year, since we are planning to start demo for the kitchen project right after the holiday. thankful that we already had a tree in the basement, and plenty of ornaments and lights and tinsel to make decorating for the season quick and painless.

 
98. online shopping. and two-day delivery. i have a feeling that these two things will constitute a large portion of my Christmas shopping this month. thankful for technology that facilitates my laziness.

100. traditions. thankful for the challenge of this thankful list every year. thankful that it directs my thoughts towards thankfulness, and away from whining. of course i can still be plenty whiny, but i am at least more aware of it.

Monday, November 24, 2014

thankful 2014: way behind.

33. glitter spray paint. for all your 'covering everything in sight with pink sparkle' needs.


34. related: spray adhesive and glitter. for when the glitter spray paint doesnt cover as many things in glitter as you would have liked it to.

36. i am a hoarder. this means i had an ample stash of cardboard and cardboard boxes that were the perfect size for cobbling together a spray-booth. because spray painting outside in 20-degree weather is just not going to happen.

 
37. craft stores. thankful that they are absolutely FILLED with glitter everything in anticipation of the holiday season!

38. disposable income. thankful for available funds for party supplies, and date nights, and the occasional Starbucks.

39. an alternate camera. or two. went on a field visit last week and our camera died, so i was thankful that we brought two cameras. and then the second camera died a couple hours later, and i was thankful that i had my camera in my purse.

40. friendsgiving. i cooked a turkey. i invited my community group. we talked and laughed and ate good food. there was no pressure and no SOMETHNG and no one would have judged me if the whole turkey thing was a flop and we ordered pizza instead. and it was good.


41. charter busses. thankful for no-stress transportation to and from NYC. bonus: Despicable Me (1&2) and Elf as on-board entertainment.

 
42. broadway. thankful for so many amazingly talented people all gathered in one place who will let me pay them to entertain me for an afternoon.


43. for the record: i am NOT thankful for the sickness that befell my sister and her family this week and prevented me from meeting up with them in NYC this weekend. but i think i might be thankful that i am not sick with the same thing.

44. the postal service. bringing me a wedding invitation, a bridesmaid dress, fabric for Balthazar, and bridal shower favors ALL IN THE SAME WEEK! thankful for a fantastic mail week.

45. short week. thankful for so many good things to look forward to during the upcoming long holiday weekend.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

thankful 2014: part four.

19. downspout underdrain - this fall, Mark rerouted our downspouts to make use of existing drainage pipes that run underneath our driveway. i am thankful that he was capable of taking on this project, that all of the trenches are finally filled back in, and also that our sidewalk no longer doubles as a miniature lake when it rains and will be less likely to flood the basement or become a hazardous sheet of ice this winter.



20. carpet stretchers - apparently these are a thing that exist, and they will fix the wrinkles in your bedroom carpet that are the result of a shoddy installation job a few years ago.  thankful that Mark was willing to tackle this completely spontaneous and different type of DIY project.

21. home depot tool rental - because where else are you going to find someone who will loan you a carpet stretcher on a Sunday afternoon?


22. motivation - for myself, this is something that has been somewhat lacking over the past few weeks since Daylight Savings Time kicked in...i'm much more likely to shut down after dark than to start a new project or do anything really. but every now and again i get a burst of energy and motivation and i am productive and awesome and i am thankful for those times.

23. long projects - these are the ones that test our patience and stretch out longer than we ever thought possible, but they are the ones that yield some of the best rewards. like that one time Mark re-drywalled a wall in the fireplace room, or gutted and rebuilt our whole bathroom. most recently, Mark has been building us a new bed frame for over a year now, and i am thankful for the time and patience and ability he has to tackle these types of projects.

24. the end of long projects - the end is unarguably the best part of ANY project. we now have a fully functioning new queen-sized bed frame in our master bedroom! it has 6 big drawers underneath, and a nice tall headboard for sitting up and reading in bed, and ok so we still have our full-size mattress on it, and the drawers dont have any hardware on them yet, but other than that, this project is done and useable!

taken before the drawers went in

25. our cabinet guy - we are soclose to finalizing our kitchen layout, and Christopher is totally awesome - answering all our questions, and helping us visualize all our options, and really working to help us keep moving forward with this whole big kitchen renovation. thankful to be working with good people.

26. my microwave - making indoor s'mores possible. yum. even though i am planning on replacing it in the near future, i am thankful that it works and has done so reliably for the past four years.

27. my sister Abi - always good for an encouraging phone call. thankful to have sisters who are never more than a phone call away.

28. nighttime walks - i've said it before, but i think this week was definitely the last last chance for being outside after dark with just a hoodie to keep me warm, so i took the opportunity to hit the streets for a little time out of the house to chill, and decompress, and talk on the phone. thankful for my quiet residential street, my flashlight, and free time to take advantage of the lovely weather.

29. electricity - thankful for heat on chilly days, air conditioning on warm days, lights after 5:30 pm, and a multitude of other things made possible by this nifty discovery.

30. to-do lists - mine right now is growing faster than i can cross things off of it, but the things on it are all good and exciting. thankful for the visible progress inherent in list-making.

31. music - specifically, those really random songs that pop up when your iPod is on random shuffle and remind you of good times and even better people. "Delta Manda Dawn, what's that flower you have on? could it be a faded rose from days gone by?..." thankful for happy memories with people i love.

32. new toys - i got a Fitbit today at work! thankful for my company's wellness program and being physically fit enough to participate in it.

Friday, November 7, 2014

thankful 2014: the third.

13. Jazzercise. i recently attended my 200th class, and was gifted a set of 3 of my very own Jazzercise DVDs for my at-home workout enjoyment! thankful to have found an exercise routine that is fun enough to keep me coming back.

14. bear hugs. sometimes you just need someone to hold you and squeeze you until you just can't be upset anymore. and when those bear hugs turn into slow dancing? makes me smile just thinking about it.

15. Pandora radio. i have stations on there for almost all of my moods. thankful that my husband knows exactly which one to pick to cheer me up after a less-than-stellar day of work.

16. sunshine. thankful for sunshine and blue skies outside my window. thankful that the sun is up when i leave for work in the morning (at least for now anyway)

17. breakfast club. our department has breakfast on friday mornings. thankful that i can count on a couple extra minutes in bed because i don't have to worry about breakfast.

18. my new work-acceptable hoodie. just slightly more fashionable than just a regular old hoodie - i think the lack of a front pocket is the main difference.  its not fancy enough for everyday office-wear, but can absolutely be worn on casual fridays. this delights me immensely today. thankful to be permitted to be comfortable and professional at the same time.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

thankful 2014: yesterday and today.

9. community group. these people are some of my favorites. blessed to share life together with them. thankful for shared experiences and knowing that i am not alone: "i really thought i would be where i wanted to be by now, because i've been doing everything right. but i have to trust that God knows what He's doing." universally applicable and so true.

10. ice cream. so i'm supposed to be doing a no-sugar challenge through work right now, but there are cheat days built in for a reason. i'm thinking 'kahlua and cream' is one of them. thankful for treats.

11. nice fall evenings. probably one of the last evenings of the year that it will be possible to comfortably sit outside and chat over ice cream. thankful for being able to take full advantage of it.

12. foggy days when you're stuck at work anyway. easier to focus that way, instead of wishing you were outside instead. thankful for the extra concentration boost.

Monday, November 3, 2014

thankful 2014: first edition

as has become a family tradition, i will be attempting to list 100 things that i am thanking God for throughout the month of November.  there is no particular order to the items on my list, although i am following the lead of my wonderful mother this year and intending to explain them each a little bit, rather than just list them.

1. my job. i have a very good job. it is stable, it is in the field i studied in college, and it has a traditional monday through friday work week. this means that i reliably have weekends off and can afford both the time and dollars to do things like drive to Pittsburgh for a few days to hang out with people i love. thankful for a consistent schedule.

2. Sophie.  yes, i named my car. i bought her with my own money (and my dad's co-signature) after graduation, and five years later i own her outright. she is a great traveling buddy, and she has facilitated most of my best memories in recent years. thankful for her reliability.

3. Gordon is broken. so while i was traveling this weekend i relied heavily on my backup GPS on my phone, which took me to my BFITW's house by way of my sister's house. she was surprised to have a trick-or-treater come to her house on Friday night, and even more surprised that it was me! thankful for backup GPS and spontaneous sister visits.

4. a BFITW. everyone should have a Best Friend In The World. i am especially thankful that mine isn't afraid to have the tough conversations, tell the hard truths, or share the awkward moments. and she gives the best hugs. thankful for her best-friendhsip.

5. work friends. its nice when the people you are forced to spend 40 hours a week with are also people that you genuinely like to be around. thankful to have people to joke with throughout the day, who speak my same sarcastic language. 

6. a captivating podcast. started listening to Serial while i was driving to Pittsburgh and back. devoured the first six episodes. a little disappointed that now i have to wait for new episodes to be released weekly to try and figure out who-dunnit. thankful for anything that makes a long drive seem to go faster.

7. my Momma. we have a standing phone date on Friday afternoons to chat about work and life and occasionally make pizza together. thankful to be close with her.

8. my husband. when i got home last night, the house was clean. the dishes were done. he was folding the laundry. so very thankful that he loves me.


Friday, October 31, 2014

golf for dummies, by dummies.

1. you should probably own a putter. and just in case you were wondering, the club in your bag with the P printed on the bottom is not it. that's apparently a pitching wedge. looks nothing like a putter. common mistake, i hear.


 
2. only use a tee once per hole. tees belong in the tee box, when you tee off. that's it. once you're out on the fairway (or the rough, or the sandtrap) your tee is of no use. leave it in the cart. or your pocket. but if you put it in your pocket, remember that's where it is or else you will look silly after you lose or break all of your tees and then have to borrow a tee only to find that a tee has been hiding in your pocket for the last couple hours.


3. keep your head down. if you lift your head, or take your eye off the ball, or blink at the wrong time, you will either whiff or send the ball flying into a tree or watch it land approximately 10 feet in front of you. generally you would like to get more distance out of your swings. (hits? strokes? i dont understand golf lingo)



4. dont be afraid of divots. divots happen. if you are aftraid of them, you will likely swing too high and just nick the top of the ball, or whiff completely. because golf is a giant frustrating head-game. neither of these will get the ball much closer to the green. hit the ball, fill the hole, and move on.


5. your drink tickets are a perk, not a challenge. so you have four drink tickets. and then your friend gives you their three they aren't using. and then someone else slips you five more. this is not a challenge to down a dozen beers before 2pm.  enjoy your drinks, but keep in mind that maybe a company event is not the best opportunity to be shotgunning beers in the parking lot.


6. sometimes the best ball is in the sand. whoops.


7. your golf glove is probably more fancy than you realize. in fact, it might even come with a built-in ball marker. looks like a useless snap-on decoration, actually a useful piece of golf equipment. i discovered mine on about the 17th hole of the day. so fancy!

8. there is no number eight. i dont know that much about golf.
but look! video! not as funny as last years, but proof that every now and again i can hit a decent shot.

video
 
 

Friday, October 24, 2014

round two.

the office is all a-buzz with talk of drivers and irons this afternoon.  there were at least a dozen people at the driving range over lunch. yes, it is company golf tournament time once again. and yes, once again i am right in the thick of it.

tomorrow, i will play my second round of golf. ever.  and surprisingly, i am not the most inexperienced person on our team this year. in fact, i even have my very own clubs. i got them at a yardsale this summer - spent ten whole dollars on the entire set, including the fancy new bag. they are men's clubs, which means i have to choke up on my driver a good bit, but for what averages out to less than a dollar per club? i can deal with that.

i also have my very own golf glove. it is white with pink accents. i was hoping to find one with some red and black in it (to match my fancy golf bag of course) but apparently women who golf can only have pink things. because breast cancer. or something like that.

today i learned how to drive the ball straight more consistently. i thought it involved "breaking my wrists" but apparently that is not the correct terminology - rather, i learned how to "snap my wrists" which sounds just as painful. in reality, i learned that if i roll my wrists forward right when i hit the ball, while also managing to keep the head of my club turned just so, and my left arm stays straight, with my knees bent, and my head down, (this reminds me of a girl scout song!) and then finally  follow through just right, then sometimes the ball goes kind of straight.

the rest of the time, it generally veers in the direction of other people's heads.

my teammates are planning to bring helmets to the tournament tomorrow. i think they're only half-joking.

Monday, October 20, 2014

well that's a first.

Dear Self -

let's get it together and either get skinny, or get pregnant.

let's save ourselves and those around us from any more super-awkward copy-room encounters and get out of this in-between, yes i really AM just fat, i'd rather not have to get into the specifics of my menstrual cycle to prove it to you, middle-ground of awkwardness.

for everyone's sake, let's start exercising again pleaseandthankyou.

Love Always,
Mando

PS apparently those super-comfortable new maxi skirts are not doing your midsection any favors right now. suck it in, girlfriend.

Friday, October 10, 2014

on coffee creamers and thievery.

so, what is the etiquette for those little coffee creamers at the gas station?

asking for a friend.

they just sit there near the coffee, all sorts of varieties and flavors, as a courtesy to coffee drinkers. but there's no cost explicitly associated with them. your cup of coffee costs the same whether you add seven creamers to it, or none. so are they free? because that doesn't seem like a sustainable business model for the gas station. or is it more likely that the cost of them just automatically factored into the price of the coffee, assuming an average number of creamers that would be used per cup of coffee? would the gas station then turn a profit if no one took creamer in their coffee?

but the real question here is: how unethical would it be for a person to just... take a few creamers for their own brewed-at-home travel mug of coffee?

again, asking for a friend.

would that be a definitely-going-to-hell kind of offense? (after all, stealing is addressed as one of the ten commandments) or is it more of a kind-of-a-gray-area sort of issue? does it depend on how desperate one is for their morning coffee? let's say that a person absent-mindedly drank the last of the milk in the house before brewing their morning cup, leaving them with an undrinkable travel mug of coffee and no time to spare before having to head out the door? what if said person had every intention of actually buying something at the gas station in order to offset their creamer cost, but then it turns out there was a giant line at the register and seriously you guys she was already running late at that point and there was no time to waste.

is that stealing? or just taking advantage of a universally-provided courtesy?

my friend is conflicted.

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?