Summer Wrap Up

Howdy! I know it’s been two months since I’ve stopped by to chat so get ready for a serious brain dump.

(warning: this may be the longest post ever. After my ramblings — there are FIFTY pictures of our summer!! WOW)

First — there’s a few reasons why I’ve been so absent. One being that Alex was getting ready to deploy and we spent the summer trying to soak in every moment we could together. I don’t want to say that I was just too busy to write, because that’s not entirely true. Mainly, I think that since it had been so long I felt like whatever I came back to say needed to meaningful. I kept sitting down to write, jotted a paragraph or two and felt that it just didn’t do such a long break justice. Delete, delete, delete. The words just weren’t there. I have some half finished posts that I’m hoping to salvage and get them up.. we’ll see!

Alex left this past week and now that I don’t have as many distractions, I spend a lot of time alone with my thoughts. It’s time to get them out! Writing is therapeutic for me and more importantly, if Alex is able to catch some internet access here and there, I know he really appreciates getting caught up with what’s going on at home and seeing pictures of our boys (aka dogs, whatever — they’re children to us).

We had a great summer full of weekend trips, parties, weddings, grilling, kayaking, visitors, gardening, golf (him), canning (me) and truck projects (him). One thing that really stood apart from previous summers is that we didn’t overload it with house projects. Of course we still have things we want to do with the ol’ house, but we’re definitely slowing down. We’re getting to the point that we mostly have bigger projects left (new wood floors, remodeled kitchen, basement+hall bathroom remodels) and we 1. ran out of steam for such big (months long) projects and 2. didn’t really have the time since we knew some deployments were on the horizon. We actually spent money on ourselves this summer (yay! kayaks!) rather than dumping it into the house. It felt good.

A lot of people ask me about this when I see them and I know it’s uncomfortable for people to bring up, so I’ll just keep you all in the loop. Another thing that changed this summer is that we pretty much hit our breaking point and finally decided to stop trying for a baby right now. Well… considering that Alex isn’t even in the country that’s not hard to believe, right? 😉 Anyway… I didn’t like who I had become. It consumed me. I spent hours and hours every single day researching things; furiously googling supplements, symptoms per day past ovulation, the average amount of months it took for someone to get pregnant after an ectopic. It was bad. I compared myself to everyone around me and constantly felt like a failure. I tried some fertility medicine for a couple months and I was super unpleasant to be around – happy, crying, angry, moody… you never knew what you were going to get. I gained weight, my skin my broke up, I had headaches and was hot all the time. Yeah.. it wasn’t pretty. My breaking point came when a very good friend of mine told me she was pregnant (for various reasons they weren’t sure they could ever have a baby on their own). Of course I was happy for them both, but I was just sad for me. I locked myself into the bathroom at work and did the always attraction silent sob (you all know what I’m talking about). That night as I cried myself to sleep, I had a conversation with the man upstairs and basically told God that I had nothing left to give and that if I was supposed to keep trying right now, I needed some kind of sign. The next morning, Alex had a very open, honest (and brave!) conversation with me and told me that he thought it was a good time to take a break from trying.

So, I took that as my sign and just STOPPED. I stopped going to all my websites, I stopped obsessing and worrying and envying and crying and JUST STOPPED. Can you even imagine the pressure that has been lifted? Probably not. All of the sudden, I’m just not worried anymore. Sure, the want is still there – I’m not sure that will ever go away. But you know what… one day we’ll be parents. It might not be right now, it might not be in the next year… but we will. And now we can focus on us and it feels fantastic. Props to the husband for being willing to have a conversation that he knew would hurt, but would be for the better.

Whew! That felt good to get that out! Let’s see… what else has been going on? Well, the garden was phenomenal this summer. Even in September, it’s still trudging along. To this day, I’m still getting buckets of tomatoes, peppers (jalapeños and bell), carrots, a few cucumbers and even some yellow squash. We built the beds up a bit and added probably 25 bags of new soil. We also tilled the soil and mixed in lots of plant food.

I could go on all day chit chatting, but I think for now — I’ll finish up with some pictures from the last few months.

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Wow! Did you make it through those?? I hope to be posting way more regularly! If not, I’ll have a very disappointed husband when he gets back!

PS — WHO IS EXCITED FOR FOOTBALL TODAY??

Have a great Sunday!!

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Howdy Stranger

I know, I know. I’ve been a bad blogger. I’ve left you stranded in the cold for weeks now. My apologies!

To my defense — life just happened. How’s that for a blanket, general excuse? Lately I’ve been falling out of love with documenting my every move and wanted to step back and really enjoy things. I needed to spend more time concentrating at work. I wanted to spend more time completely “in the moment” at home. Let’s just say — I needed to step back for a bit. And, my dears, I’m happy that I did.

Here are a few things you missed out on:

  • I celebrated my 25th birthday. Even though Alex was deployed on the actual day, he went above and beyond to make my day special. We’re talking flowers getting delivered to work and hiding cards around the house for me to find while he was gone. We had a big celebration before he left town, so I was thoroughly loved on. Don’t you worry. Plus, my mom and friends stepped up to the plate and surrounded me with happiness on my big day.
  • Two days after my birthday, I hurt my back during an early morning Body Pump class — doing squats… on the very first track post warm up. I ended up at the doctors — who sent me to the hospital. Boo. I had to take a couple days off work, but thankfully, I’m feeling a million times better now. A big, biiiig thanks to my mom who helped me get up and down for days.
  • We had a random springtime snow storm.
  • Then we skipped over spring and jumped head-first into summer. Weird.
  • Alex came home safe and sound from his short trip/deployment (YAYYY!)
  • He immediately jumped into a pretty hefty woodworking project (more on that later)
  • We’re currently planning an upcoming vacation and are counting down the days! Anyone have any recommendations for Charleston, SC? We absolutely love the down-home southern feel that we experience on our Nashville vacation last year (part one and part two). We’re so excited to get back down south. Not only will we be exploring one of the tastiest southern cities, but we’ll seeing a concert, celebrating our anniversary, AND seeing one of my absolute best friends, Liz, and her manly man.
  • We met a new puppy! No, we didn’t take him home though (more on this adventure later too)

Want to see some pictures?

Good. Me too.

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I have so much more to show you, but when I started to gather all my pictures for this post — I quickly surpassed thirty. Aaaaand… that’s too many for one little post. I’ll be back shortly with more from our latest adventures (including puppy pictures (and I’m talking a 7-week old golden!), doggy play dates, and that big project Alex completed).

Here’s a hint of what the project is…

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Any ideas?

See you soon! Have a great night 🙂

 

Life {lately}

Wow, I just signed in this morning to write a quick little post and WordPress alerted me that today is my third blogging anniversary. Crazy. Seriously, that’s nuts! I’ve always loved journaling, taking pictures, and reminiscing – so, this seems to be a good match for me! I have loved getting to know you guys and sharing our little journey with each of you 🙂 Thanks for making this worthwhile for me! Three years ago we were just dating, living in an apartment and Hunter was still a little pup. Now, we’ve been married for almost two years (where did the time go??), have two dogs and tackle home improvement projects like nobody’s business. It’s funny how things change! Who knows where we’ll be next year or even next week, but I’m happy that I get to share it all with you 🙂

I had a small computer malfunction that has slowed my actual camera picture editing. Thankfully, it seems to be fixed now (yay!), but that means I don’t have all the goodies ready for sharing. Oh well!  I still have a boat load of pictures on my phone that I cherish as well. Sometimes I feel like my phone pictures are a better representation of my life anyway. Not staged, not edited for the perfect lighting… just life.

Before we get started on those, here are a couple quick things that are worth mentioning that don’t have pictures attached to them…

  • For the last two weeks I’ve had a terrible pain in my knee and Alex has had some serious back problems. We’ve almost worn out our heating pad and ice rice bags (thanks, Suzzette :)). We took some time off our normal workout schedule and things seemed to get better. However, this weekend my knee took a serious downward spiral. I’ll be picking up a brace this evening to see if that helps – if not, I’ll be making my way to an orthopedic doctor.
  • Remember how I told you that we were asked if we wanted our bathroom to be on HGTV? Sadly, I found out last week that it won’t work out. Apparently my “before” pictures were not high enough quality. It’s not like I can just re-stage the bathroom and take new pictures, you know? There’s nothing I can do about that! The old bathroom was hideous, dungeon-ey and falling apart. Of course the pictures didn’t look as shiny as the new bathroom. I was pretty disappointed but – maybe next time!
  • Alex is about to finish up his second school semester after taking a long hiatus when he joined the military. This will be his second semester in a row getting straight A’s!! (Fingers crossed that I’m not jinxing anything, although he only has one week left and 99% of his work is already done!)

Okay, here’s what our life has looked like over the last few weeks —

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a+ b.) a gorgeous covered bridge that we visited on a recent trip to WV (although I think this particular bridge was in VA) c). Alex, Alyse and I (oh and a little Bailey and JoJo in the back) hanging out on said WV trip d.) the gang minus a few of us.

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a.) my mom’s super cute pup, Jake. She sent this picture to me yesterday and it’s too cute not to include! b.) Alex alseep in WV with a bed full of dogs. You better believe that I kicked those pups out to get a little room c.) Our collection of golden retrievers (my mom’s two plus ours) d.) My mom’s dog, Jake was so tired in WV that he literally fell asleep while begging for treats.

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a.) my newest toy that I’m slowly becoming smitten with b.) a deliciously perfect pair of rainbows on my way home from work last week c.) the beautiful sunset that quickly followed the rainbows d.) my first sewing project. I made two little bags to carry dog treats in during our walks.

Ribbet collagehuntera through d) a whole lot of Hunterbug love! Including his new antler (A) and a generous ball of dirt and grass that he thought would be fun to bring into bed (C)

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a.) a Nissian Skyline we saw at the Baltimore car show b.) Me sitting in my future mom car. I used to be slightly obsessed with the Honda Pilot, but have recently switched over to the Toyota Highlander. One of these years I’ll actually need a bigger car! c.) an old school Cadillac that was also at the car show

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a through d) more WV doggie shots, including getting completely squished by Bailey (B and C)

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a.) Alex got up early on Sunday and surprised me by making our weekly quiche. Isn’t he sweet?? b.) a night full of whiskey tasting with the man and our good friend, Alyse c.) proof — haha. Alyse + whiskey d.) the cutest picture of Alex and Bailey ever. Ever. Ever. Ever.

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a.) Alex took the boys to get groomed last week. They’re so handsome now! b & c.) little Bailey and his big nose 🙂 d.) how our night ends… every single night!

What have you guys been up to? Have you taken any quick trips to get out of town? Does anyone else in the world take as many pictures of their dogs as I do? Are you getting into any new hobbies? Sewing? Anyone… anyone??

Carpet Woes

I seriously hope this is the last post that I ever mention carpet. Somehow I doubt that’s going to be the reality though. I’m tired of it — Tired of dreaming fuzzy dreams. Tired of talking about it. Tired of the whooooole thing. Here’s what happened.

When we first moved into our house and the entire basement STUNK like dog pee. It was absolutely awful. The previous owners had three little yippy dogs, which were clearly free to wander around the basement all day – resulting in God knows how many sprinkle spots. Anyway, it smelled. Did I cover that? Our first plan of attack was to get it professionally cleaned. No luck. We needed new carpet and FAST. So, we had Empire Floors come out and give us an estimate. We were a little dumb back then… We didn’t shop around; we didn’t try to bargain for a better deal. We just knew our basement reeked and honestly, would have paid an arm and a leg to get it done.

So, we got new carpet.

Well, fast forward about 18 months and the seams of the carpet were starting to pull away from each other. We had a handful of long lines that stretched across the room. We had a warranty and we had just paid (in my opinion) waaaay too much money to get brand spankin’ new carpet. So, duh we called them to get it replaced.

Remember our carpet? Here’s a refresher.

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And here’s what the seams looked like.

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Would you want your new carpet to look like this? No. Of course not.

Alex called back in November to get this taken care of. For months, he went back and forth with Empire. Empire sent someone out to expect the carpet. Empire said they would replace it for free… They actually scheduled a replacement date. We cleared out our entire basement and then they cancelled after they were already supposed to be there.

Then they said they weren’t going to replace it.

Then they had someone else come and inspect it.

Weeks later they finally said they would. But, lo and behold, they no longer made our carpet so we had to pick something new (not even the same style or color). They sent out two sales reps on four different days (two days we were sitting waiting for them and they didn’t show) and we finally picked out new carpet.

Remember this has been months now and someone has had to be home for every appointment (many of which were cancelled or just not shown up to).

Yeah, we were mad and I think rightfully so. Last week I told you that I was afraid the carpet would be too dark and basically the same color as our walls. Well… officially consider me laughing in my own face. The carpet is ANYTHING but dark. In fact, it almost looks white in some lights.

I know a little six inch swatch of carpet looks very different than when it’s covering an entire floor. I was definitely expecting it to be different than the swatch. However, I’m a little irritated that it was SO different.  Another thing we were surprised by was that the sales reps told us this carpet would feel plushier than our old carpet and was a higher quality. In fact, the carpet is less than half as thick as our old carpet so the ground feels much harder and colder now.

It doesn’t look terrible. Sorry that I’m just complaining and complaining. In fact, I don’t even think it looks bad. It’s just completely different than we were expecting – and we probably wouldn’t have picked it if we had known.

Our backyard has looked like this since we got the new carpet, so you can imagine how hard it’s been already to keep the doggies feet clean before we let them into the house. I’m afraid that we’ll be one of those families that makes everyone takes their shoes off the second they step inside or wrap them in a plastic bag or something ridiculous like that.

Gross backyard:

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I really try to stay positive and think… “well, it lightens up the basement a ton!” Which is true, it does. I think we’re both disappointed though – it’s going to be a pain in the neck to keep clean, which is my biggest worry.

Sorry that I’ve been kind of a Negative Nancy. There are so many worse things going on than getting a carpet that you weren’t completely satisfied with. Obviously, I have real problems going on as well. This is my little outlet and journal for our life though, and I always appreciate looking back and seeing what was going on in our lives at different times.

So, that’s my little saga. And here’s how the carpet looks. Like I told you… I’m not saying “we hate it” or “it looks terrible.” I’m simply saying, it’s not what we expected, it’s pretty dang light, and it will prove to be difficult to keep clean.

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See how different it looks on different sides of the room? Somtimes it looks straight-up white. While other times it has pink undertones and even kind of tan sometimes. I just can’t make up my mind about it!

Empire finally got it taken care of, but it was definitely a headache to get to where we are right now. Apparently if you go through this much pain, they’ll compensate you in either a serious discount or in money. Considering we don’t need any more new carpet, we chose money. Have we seen it? No.

This whole saga has made us hop on getting another project tackled though. We’re about halfway through right now and I’m already looking forward to showing you. Here’s a little hint:

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Have you had any pains dealing with getting something replaced? Any awesome companies that you’ve been dying to praise? Would you be irritated if this happened to you? Does anyone else have panic attacks when it comes to white carpet?

 This will make you your day better if you’re going through something similar…

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Gratitude

This morning I sat back and thought about my life and suddenly sensed an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and appreciation. With constant projects, long work days and hours of sitting in the car each week, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the unwavering bustle. How often do we get a chance to sit back and reflect on everything we have rather than focusing on all of the wants? It seems as though we are habitually comparing ourselves to others and wishing we had more.

Today instead of focusing on things that I want and things I wish were different, I’m going make a better effort to love what I have and show my gratitude.

I’m thankful…

For a husband who always has me on his mind. He is constantly doing little things without me saying a word just because he knows it will make me happy. More often than not, I don’t show my appreciation nearly enough. His drive and determination inspires me to constantly push myself harder. I’m thankful that out of 7 billion people in the world, we happened to stumble upon one another. I’m perpetually grateful that he’s just as determined as me to constantly work on bettering our relationship and forgiveness.

 

For friends, both old and new. Many of whom I have reconnected with after a brief hiatus just to quickly pick things back up from where we left off. These new friends have been able to fill a void that has been slowly growing over the years and I have a feeling that these friends will one day be old friends too. There’s just something about good friends, isn’t there?

 

For family and having such a strong support system. I’m grateful that many of my family members are not just family, they’re dear friends as well.

 

For a healthy body. Like many people, I put my body through so much and many times feel resentful towards it. But, it allows me to love and to experience life to the fullest. Instead wishing it were different, I’m working towards loving it how it is.

 

For two pups that provide so much love and entertainment.

For a house that not only provides shelter, but has become a hobby to mold.

For a job that I enjoy and can feel proud of.

For being fortunate enough that I don’t know what real wanting feels like. I’ve never had to go without food, water, shelter, running water, heat and all of the other basic life needs. Imagine out of those other 7 billion people, what percentage of people can’t say the same?

What are you feeling grateful for lately?

Vacation Momento Step by Step

It’s Monday again. How does that keep happening? One minute it’s Friday afternoon and you have nothing but a glorious weekend ahead of you and the next it’s Monday and your back to the grind.

I spent my weekend running around with my head chopped off or at least that’s what it felt like. I had Friday off work (thanks to working nine hour days) so Alex and I ran errands most of the day. We picked up a ton of goodies.. i.e. new silverware, serving bowls, and fall decorations. We also grabbed everything I needed for a bridal shower on Sunday.

That’s when you know you’re getting old people. We were legitimately looking forward to getting new silverware and super excited when we found the perfect set. Really, though? Excitement from silverware. Yep.

Hunter gets excitement from fans. We’re a cool family.

Saturday morning we had a yard sale! It was my very first time hosting a yard sale and am blown away with how it turned out. We got rid of 80% of the stuff we had out (the rest got immediately dropped off at Goodwill) and made close to $500! So not only did we make way more than I was expecting, we now have a ton of room in our garage! 10 points for awesome neighbors.

Sunday I had a bridal shower for my friend, Rachel (who was also my maid of honor) who is getting married in October. I spent the morning getting food ready for the party and obviously spent the afternoon drinking champagne and all that fun stuff. It was a beautiful party and I think Rachel had a great time! Which is all that counts right?!

By the time I got home last night, I felt that A. I hadn’t slept all weekend B. my feet were killing me C. I was grumpy or D. all of the above.

Have you ever felt like getting back to work is actually more relaxing than a crazy weekend?

Moving on  – I got a bunch of comments and questions about some of the summer projects that I showed you guys. Most of the projects were pretty easy and didn’t take much time at all and each one deserves a little how to. Since the man of the house made the corn hole game 98% by himself (hey – I helped paint!), maybe we can even convince him to do a post? Who’s with me??!!

We’ll start with the simplest one today – why not ease into this DIY thing after all?

Okay, so here is how I took a nasty old empty candle jar and turned it into a little vacation memento. THIS COULDN’T GET ANY EASIER FOLKS! And I mean that in the nicest way possible to get you off your computer chair and into your craft pants. What? You don’t have craft pants? Lame.

Step one – boil a pot of water and pour the water into the empty candle jar. This will melt the remaining wax and bring it all to the surface.

Step two – wait for the wax and water to cool completely. Once cooled, take a knife and break the wax into pieces and remove from jar. You may have to remove a little leftover wax with a knife, but it should be almost completely gone.

Step three – remove the label and use Goo Gone, paint thinner, mineral spirits or some other method to remove the leftover sticky stuff. We swear by Goo Gone (super cheap, found at any home improvement or grocery store). And no, GooGone has no idea who we are and is not paying us – we’re just sharing what we like and what works for us!

Step four – load that puppy into the dishwasher to get so fresh and so clean clean.

Step five – arrange all your small vacation souvenirs into your new repurposed jar!

How easy was that?

And to think of all the candle jars I’ve thrown away through my days… I cry. So far I’ve only made one from our latest vacation to Nashville, but I definitely want to go through our things and at least make one for our honeymoon as well. Wouldn’t all your vacations look great lined up next to each other like this?

Alrighty – that’s it for today. Promise me though that you’ll go home and hug your loved ones tonight. Life can be so short. Don’t waste time not loving one another.

Are you there Blog? It’s me, Michelle.

Okay, who’s left? 6 of you? I can definitely count on my mom… and Alex. So, that’s two FORSURE. Maybe a couple family friends? 🙂 Well for those of you who decide to stick out my random blog breaks, (first off) THANK YOU and (secondly) how was your Fourth of July? Did you see a spectacular fireworks show? Did you go on vacation? Hopefully, you at least had the day off work and got to relax!

I spent 5 days at my family’s house in West Virginia with my mom, brothers and a few family friends. Although our Fourth was spent without a dazzling fireworks show (as we had last year), we made up for it with great company, lots of food (duh), cold drinks and a boat load of fun.

One morning, we traveled over to a local river where we kayaked (me) and canoed (everyone else) down a 6.5 mile stretch. I absolutely loved it! It’s been so hot lately that we were afraid we wouldn’t enjoy it. But.. the water was so refreshing that you didn’t even notice it was 100 degrees out.

We zumba-ed in the morning and danced through the kitchen at night. We took the doggies swimming and (disgustingly) had to pull off dozens and dozens of ticks per pup. We did projects around the house and even got to squeeze in a couple of movies.

It was a perfect mid-summer mini vacation that could have only been better if Alex (the husband – if you’re new around here) was there with us.

Speaking of Alex – he’s been out of town for about three weeks now. Thankfully, he’ll be home soon though! Yay! It’s funny that while we share a life together, our lives are so very different. I go to work every day and while I think I have an interesting job that I’m beyond thankful for, I still go to work and sit at a desk each day. However, when Alex goes to work sometimes he doesn’t have much to do, but other times he’s all over the globe and busy as a bee. All a part of being in the military, I guess.

I try not to get jealous of other couples who get to come home at the end of the day to their spouse year round. It’s even harder not to feel that way when we have to be separated for birthdays, new jobs, traumatic incidents, Thanksgivings and all of the other holidays. But what does getting jealous do? Nadda. So, I try to skip over those emotions as quickly as possible.

One thing I’ve been feeling a lot of lately is PRIDE. How could I not? Yes, I get up early every day (YES – 5:15 is early), but I certainly don’t get up at 3 something early. That’s a-whole-nother kind of early, people. And while I try to exercise every day, I certainly don’t do it at the butt crack of dawn, in the million degree heat, in a uniform. I also do not put myself in any kind of immediate danger every day. The most falling that I do is if I lose my balance when I’m trying to put my pants on. (Don’t act like that doesn’t happen to you!)

See what I mean though? We share a life together. We get up together (when he’s home) and feel each other’s ups and downs. We even like the same foods and drink the same drinks. We share things that people probably shouldn’t share (Not our toothbrush though!) With all of the things that we share with one another that are the same, it’s miraculous the amount of things that are SO different. And I couldn’t be more proud of him! (Are you blushing yet, Alex?) He does things on a daily basis that if someone asked me to do – I would quite literally laugh in their face.

One of those deep belly laughs, too. Right.in.their.face. No shame.

Okay… Let’s get to some pictures now! These were all edited using Instagram (you can follow me at crazypupblog). I’ve been taking mainly phone pictures lately so, you know, I can send them to the mister right away. Okay – on to it!

(And yes, these are mainly puppy pictures. We’ve been doing so many home improvement posts lately that the boys have been completely left out!)