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!!

Living Room Makeover: Before

I am fully aware that I owe a big, bigbigbig, biiiiig update on what’s been going on with us in the last month. Not necessarily just so you can follow along, but for my own little record keeping as well. This afternoon I won’t get into everything we’ve managed to squeeze in the last few months, but I really want to share our living room makeover with you guys! And maybe a couple pictures of the dogs.

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Phew! Now we have that over with, we can finally get down to business.

If you guys have been following along for awhile then you are probably aware that we like to really live in a room before we jump to big decorating decisions. Don’t get me wrong, I still spend too much money at HomeGoods in the meantime, I’m just not tearing out tile (okay, okay – let’s be honest, I’m not tasking Alex out to tear out tile) until we are both 100% sure what we want the end result to be.

We’ve lived in our house for two and a half years (holy smokes, by the way!) and we finally, fiiiiinally re-did our living room. High fives all around!

Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

When we first moved in, we had these absolutely stunning window treatments. And laugh all you might, they must have been fashionable at one point since the previous owners also had matching slipcovers for their dining room table.

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I know, right?

We also had some really lovely light fixtures hangin’ around.

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Oh! And we also had this dated mirror-closet in our hallway… That had to go pretty immediately.

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Basically, this room needed some love… and fast!

We replaced the light fixtures and pulled down all of the curtains…

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But, as you can see in the top picture, we still had gaps in the crown molding where the window treatments once were and a lovely full length mirror tucked in the corner.

Later on, we finally found the right size table to fit  in an otherwise awkward place. As you can tell from my fall decorations… this, well, wasn’t yesterday. We also bought some rugs for around the couches and two runners for down the hallway.

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Yet, the room was still very unfinished! We started thinking about wall colors, but it seemed like an endless charade of moving colors around to find the perfect match. I took these pictures back in January and obviously our vision of the room wasn’t yet solidified.

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Months later we decided to host a big party at our house to honor my dad, who passed away five years ago. It was going to be the first time that most of our extended family would be at our house and we really wanted our living room to feel a little more complete. Plus, it didn’t hurt that people who had been coming to our house over the past two years kept pointing out our remaining spackle spots and missing crown molding. Maybe it was that we were embarrassed that the room we sat and watched TV in all that time was such an eye sore, maybe we were just tired of hearing other people talk about it being unfinished, but…

The fire was lit and we knew it was time to getting the living room crossed off our list!

Alex pulled off the floor to ceiling mirror on a whim –

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Here’s what that side of the room looked like after the first coat of spackle –

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And then something funny happened… Alex had to leave! So here we were less than three weeks before our party and I had to bust my butt to tackle two people’s worth of work.

I pulled off the chair rail, spackled, sanded, spackled, sanded… over and over again.

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Get this: that weekend a miracle happened! Alex was getting ready to come home (just in time for his birthday!) and our friend, Joe decided to come down from NY to surprise Alex for his big day. He also agreed to help me prep and paint the room for the weekend. Not only that, but my brother, Justin and his friend, Russ came over to help paint all weekend long!

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Alright — this is getting super long already and I haven’t even started getting to the real meat of it yet! Check back in tomorrow to see how it turned out!

 

A La Shed (of the wood variety)

For the last few months, Alex has been really looking for a hands-on project that would be for him. You know, not one of those “honey-do” projects that I seem to be really good at coming up with. Most of our projects start with me saying something along the lines of, “Man, I hate this laundry room. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had new tile and a fresh coat of paint in here?” Alex agrees and encourages me to go to Home Depot with him and we wander around until we have a good idea of what specific tile we want. It also seems like every time we’ve had a big project going on, he’s had some time off work and spends hours and hours every day (while I’m not home) working on some project that was my idea to begin with.

So again, he’s been reeeeally craving something that he could work on that was more…uhh.. manly.

He ended up deciding to build a woodshed that would keep all our firewood dry. He said he wanted to build it because he wanted the wood away from the house since wood attracts bugs, termites, etc. (which makes complete sense to me!) I’m pretty sure he also just wanted an excuse to lug those power tools outside and build something with his own hands.

Months ago, Alex found the plans he wanted to use and we hunted Home Depot/Lowe’s/other various lumber stores to get an estimate on how much the supplies would cost. The total was a little more than we wanted to spend on something that… you know… holds wood, but after much research we (and by we, you know, I don’t mean me) knew it would be less than a third of the price of pre-fabbed sheds and higher quality. So, all we needed was a nice weekend to get the motivation to crank this bad boy out.

I would also like to add that I thought this project would be a “work on it when you could” kind of thing. Not.so.much. It ended up getting built over one weekend and stained the following. However, I will say that Alex had some help from a good friend, Dan, and really wanted to take advantage of the extra set of hands (and we couldn’t be more thankful for all the help)!

I wasn’t even home during the first day of construction so I don’t have a lot of the very early pictures… but here ya go!

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This was what it looked like the morning of day two.

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(of course, you know that we didn’t leave all those supplies out over night….)

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More Alex and Dan…

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By the end of the first weekend, we had a shed that looked like this…

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All we had left was to stain it and add the roof. So, the following weekend (yay for nice spring days!) we got to work… And yes, this time I do mean WE. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures that were taken in the middle of staining. We were messy and dirty and bleeeeh, and I wasn’t planning to subject my camera to that 🙂

Here you can see how big the shed is compared to our ladders…

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Alex putting on the roof —

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And…. DRUMROLL….

Final product:

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Aren’t those dogs amazing for posing for me *all on their own*? Haha… I wish!

Now we just need to fill up that shed with a bunch of firewood!

funny story: the couple that lives behind us had their granddaughter over during this building process. I guess they were nosey and wanted to know what in the heck we were building, so they sent her over to ask Alex. When Alex responded saying a woodshed… she said, “oh! I thought you were building a STAGE!”

Now I can’t get this stage idea out of my head! Could you imagine having a party and a band setting up there… UHHH. Perfect.

I should also mention that these two boys were the perfect helpers. Hunter even brought over Dan’s bottle of water to him. In his mouth. Sounds appetizing, right?

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(I have to say one more time.. a biiiiig thank you to Dan for helping so much!)